Dior's predilection for seasonally collaborating with artists under Kim Jones' purview has undergone some, ahem, artistic liberties for Fall/Winter 2022, which eschews Dior's typical art world team-ups for a partnership with the estate of writer Jack Kerouac.
Kerouac, the "King of the Beats," ruled the late '50s Greenwich Village scene in New York's flourishing proto-hippie movement.
Like fellow literary pioneers William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg (the latter of whom I always thought kinda looked like David Cross, funnily enough), Kerouac experimented with prose, fragmenting fiction and reality, earning both platitudes and scorn from the literary set.
Menswear creative director Jones — a literary buff who collects rare novels — declined to bring in yet another contemporary artist for Dior Fall/Winter 2022, preferring to channel his book collection instead.
Specifically, Jones selected Kerouac's seminal On the Road, wherein semi-autobiographical characters witness the birth of the Beat Generation in real time.
This fantastical travelogue roots Jones' new Dior collection in the real of "real clothing" inspired by the hardy necessities one would actually wanna wear while shiftlessly drifting between California and New York.
Hence, Jones has concocted a collection of toss-on staples — relaxed anoraks, trim tailoring, wool jackets, chunky knit, cropped & washed-out denim jeans — anchored by today's Dior signatures — patterned sneakers, chunky eyewear, graceful leather bags printed with the revived CD Diamond.
There are cues borrowed from '50s-era menswear, like easy double-breasted blazers and checkered shirts, but this is not a collection that pays homage to Kerouac's wardrobe, necessarily.
Instead, Jones has merely reinterpreted the mood of On the Road, the easy-going nature and the effortless attitude, reflecting that in thoughtlessly approachable layering pieces.
Hence why the jewelry is subtly flashy rather than all-out bling, and why there are fuzzy neckwarmers hidden beneath the top button of crisp shirts.
Similarly, thoughtful utilitarianism is reflected in D-rings, burnished wood-style finishes, climbing rope accents, and hiking-inspired boots.
So, how does Dior translate a nearly 70-year-old novel to the TikTok generation? Tone down the nods and just keep the feeling of Keruoac alive in the garments through a youthful edge, a sense of curiosity.
Yes, some items are directly printed with words from the manuscript to make the On the Road connection that much clearer, but Dior's Fall/Winter 2022 collection is less about the direct artistic reference and more about a general influence. A "vibe," as the kids say.