Special Report: A Front-row Showcase of Dior Men SS19

ROMANCING THE LEGACY – Dior Men’s ready-to-wear collection was one of the most highly anticipated shows for the spring/summer 2019 season, what with it being Kim Jones’ debut with the brand. Peter Zewet reports.

Dior Menn press presentation in Hong Kong

Dior Men’s collection for spring/summer 2019 marked Kim Jones’ debut for the iconic Parisian fashion house. Fusing couture elements with sportswear and streetwear sensibilities, the prolific Jones certainly was in his element. Going deep into the Dior archives, Jones paid tribute to Christian Dior, with a collection that interpreted the language of his couture house.

In his autobiography entitled “Dior, by Dior,” Christian Dior reasoned that there are two Diors: the man, and the myth. The latter is the house of Christian Dior, born in 1947; the former, Monsieur Dior himself. Jones drew inspiration from this duality of the reality of the man and the fantasy of his creations.

flower power on the ready-to-wear

Translating the quintessentially feminine couture identity of the house of Dior into a masculine expression, the collection featured rounder shapes, softer textures and lighter coloring, while still infused with a modern sportswear aesthetic that Jones is famous, and loved, for. Adopting various signatures of the house, as well as Monsieur Dior’s private life, the collection features the use of a toile de jouy pattern, made to imitate the fabric on the walls of the first Dior boutique in 1947.

toile de jouy on the ready-to-wear

Floral motifs are also featured aplenty, echoing both Monsieur Dior’s love of nature and his femmes-fleurs. The latter was actually drawn from his personal porcelain collection, with the shapes reassembled into contemporary patterns for prints and embroideries. Also highlighted is the bee motif—a symbol Dior used in 1955, and the brand iconic cannage pattern.

Porcelain inspires the color palette, which also reflects monsieur Dior’s Edwardian upbringing and love of the eighteenth century. As such, hues were mainly blue, white, the pale pink of his childhood home at Granville and the symbolic Dior gray. Rose pink, seen on suits and various pieces, was also a statement color reflecting Dior’s love for roses. Bright yellow gold also punctuated the collection.

The savoir-faire of the couture house is well showcased through intricate fabrication and craftsmanship. The aforementioned toile de jouy motif, for example, was presented as jacquards and embroideries, on materials as diverse as tulle and soft leather, and was even executed in fine feathers. Offering a comprehensive wardrobe through the collection, Jones presented many desirable pieces for the fashionable men of today.

Dior Men saddle bag

Accessories also drew on the inimitable Dior heritage. The emblematic Dior saddle bag is interpreted for the first time for men, offered in cross-body, backpack and belt-bag styles. It is even re-appropriated as pockets on the archive leather jackets. An embroidered version of the toile de jouy features on leather goods, alongside other Dior codes: The cannage pattern laser cut in leather and the DiorOblique canvas in a new tricolor variation.

high-top sneakers in floral print

Known for doing amazing collaborations, Jones brought a slew of talents to collaborate with in his debut collection for Dior. In a special commission, designer toy artist KAWS has created the centerpiece of the Paris show deco using his signature character BFF covered entirely in roses, as an avatar of Christian Dior himself. KAWS’ rework of the bee motifs—a Dior men emblem—punctuate the collection as quirky embroideries and prints, as well as details on the accessories. Yoon of Ambush created the jewelry, employing Dior emblems such as the neoclassical CD’ flowers and insects; Matthew Williams of 1017 ALYX 9SM designed a new metal buckle, used on accessories. Stephen Jones created millinery based on original Christian Dior monsieur pieces.

Combining tradition with modernity, Kim Jones successfully blends references to haute couture with sportswear while exuding contemporary masculinity, revitalizing the Dior men image for a new chapter of the brand.