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As an avid collector, Kim Jones has an eye for pieces that have a lasting resonance. Among his personal archives are garments like jackets made from postal sacks by Christopher Nemeth, faded graphic tees from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s seminal Seditionaries label, and rip-and-repair cream trousers by Judy Blame.
It was the heyday of punk, before the subculture had a unifying uniform. It still existed as a conceptual mindset about pushing the avant-garde forward and subverting the norm—hence, how Royal Stewart tartan came to represent The Sex Pistols as much as Queen Elizabeth.
For his Fall/Winter 2019 collection at Dior Men’s, Jones combed the Dior archive and the history of punk, bringing its original ideologies to the forefront in a collection befitting of a couture luxury house. After all, the trained artisans at Dior’s atelier are essentially a highly-skilled team that can bring just about anything into fruition, so the clothing manifests itself as a fusion of couture execution with a DIY mentality.
The invite to the show was a pouch covered in the art of Raymond Pettibon, the artist known for working with bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag (he designed the flag logo), and Sonic Youth album covers. Jones met him through actress Stella Schnabel, daughter of artist Julian Schnabel, and admits he was a bit starstruck initially.
Previous Dior collaborator KAWS is also a Pettibon fan, and collects his work, so it wasn’t too far of a stretch for Jones to tap his archives. But what made Jones realize they weren’t such strange bedfellows is when he’d hear stories about Pettibon’s dedication to his art.
“Michael Stipe was telling me when he was hanging out with Henry Rollins—and Raymond was living with Henry Rollins—that Raymond would sit there and he’d just draw consistently, all day, like a machine,” he says. “I think when someone’s that amazing at their craft and their work, to be able to pump that out at such a volume as also impressive.”
Unlike the previous two Dior Men’s shows, the spotlight was on the clothing here. There were no giant statues by KAWS or Hajime Sorayama. Instead, models stood still on a moving runway, becoming the objects worthy of appreciation. As the conveyor belt moved them along, the Honey Dijon-produced soundtrack included Daft Punk’s “Musique,” a sly nod to the overall vibe of the collection.
Similar to Pettibon’s creative output, Jones has already turned out three Dior Men’s collections in just nine months with the house. So for FW19, it was about bringing the focus to the consistency in Dior’s craftsmanship. Again we see the inside-out suits from his debut collection, but this time accompanied with topcoats and made for winter-ready fabrics, mixing warm wools with shiny satins for a luxurious contrast. Jones pulls the Panthére animal print introduced in 1947 from the archive, and adds punk-appropriate (and extremely on-trend) tiger and leopard prints into the mix. He elevates it with a mink material that’s used on a few high-end accessories like bags and the Chuck Taylor-esque B23 sneaker.
There’s also a tactical vest in the collection, though Jones is quick to mention the direct inspiration behind it: “The tactical vest isn’t anything to do with what’s happening politically,” he says. The Dior show is one of several fashion shows that were rescheduled this week due to Paris’ ongoing Yellow Vest protests. “I was actually looking at some pictures of Mr. Dior in the archive, and he was by these really two cool statues that looked like men in suits with armor over, so that’s where the idea comes from.”
The tactical inspiration extends to the accessories, where Jones’ masculine interpretation of the Dior saddle bag is rendered in an upscale nylon this season. Designer sneakerheads will be pleased to know there is a new runner silhouette on the way, as well as new iterations of the B23, including one that utilizes a Matthew Williams-designed buckle closure.
Layering and drape are two big messages in the collection. Jones continues to unify the menswear philosophies of the house in his own way. FW19 uses scarves as waist ties around suits, adding an elegant flair to the silhouette. One particular hand-beaded shirt is the result of 1,600 hours of work by 15 people.
“That’s kind of something I love,” admits Jones. “It’s a couture house, so you should celebrate those special pieces that someone that’s a billionaire or millionaire can go and buy, and may probably put on their wall.”
But of course, the Dior customer and Kim Jones fan runs a vast spectrum. Jones recalls how previous visitors to the studio included Ronnie Fieg of KITH and Kevin Poon of CLOT, who were both blown away by the collection. That’s another thing Jones loves: The way that his clothes are left open to interpretation, and seeing how wearers make it their own.
“I like the fact that lots of different types of people wear the clothes I make,” he says. “I love seeing people I don’t know wearing my clothes. It’s the best feeling.”