KIM JONES is ar­guably the most in­flu­en­tial de­signer to­day, the man who merges the run­way and the street. Now that’s he’s taken over DIOR, what can we ex­pect?

Esquire Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Fash­ion’s main man tells Esquire ex­clu­sively how he is guid­ing Dior Homme back to the fore­front

THE RUE DE MARIGNAN is one of those thin, short streets in Paris that epit­o­mize dis­cre­tion. Tucked be­hind the Champs-elysées, it’s the kind of place where le Carré would have placed a safe house. No won­der

Dior — al­ways sub­tle, al­ways un­der­stated — keeps its men’s head­quar­ters here.

And yet, on a warm June af­ter­noon . . . “Kim!” “Kanye!” Two peo­ple in sun­glasses emerge from Dior, in­tent on nav­i­gat­ing the gap be­tween the door they’ve ex­ited through and the car that awaits them. Pho­tog­ra­phers yell and click. Horns honk. Passersby gaze but pre­tend not to stare. They are French, after all. So much for dis­creet. But then again, this celebrity pil­grim­age, this pa­parazzi cat­walk, is one big rea­son Kim Jones has been brought on as Dior’s new men’s-wear de­signer. Be­cause this is where fash­ion is right now, and Jones — a hum­ble, un­pre­ten­tious bloke from Lon­don — is likely the true ge­nius-god­head of our cur­rent Fash­ion Mo­ment, the man who more than a decade ago didn’t just fore­see that the street and the run­way were go­ing to fuse — he led the meld­ing. Maybe that’s why his crown­ing achieve­ment (and in the eyes of some snobs, his most un­for­giv­able sin) came dur­ing his pre­vi­ous stint, at Louis Vuit­ton, where he en­gi­neered a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the French fash­ion house and the streetwear jug­ger­naut Supreme.

It’s clear that Jones has al­ready yanked Dior in a bold new di­rec­tion. Up to now, it had al­ways been an un­sur­pris­ing cou­ture house, known in men’s wear for pretty much one thing: ra­zor-edged black suits, best worn by young ac­tors on red car­pets.

Un­der his vi­sion the black has been ban­ished, as has the skintight fit. Ev­ery­where we look in the ate­lier, there are suits in soft pas­tels and softer sil­hou­ettes, giv­ing Dior an el­e­gant and fresh look. Of the forty-nine looks of his Spring/sum­mer 2019 col­lec­tion there is a def­i­nite sense of light­ness and ease — re­flect­ing the way that men dress right now.

Dior’s legacy is one of cou­ture tai­lor­ing, but this reimag­in­ing is some­thing dif­fer­ent, some­thing re­flect­ing the ef­fort­less­ness in which peo­ple want to feel in their clothes to­day.

Maybe the coolest thing Jones is do­ing is re­mind­ing us how re­bel­lious and beau­ti­ful the suit can be, es­pe­cially in his hands. In this era of street wear a th leisure dom­i­nance he helped cre­ate, the thir­ty­nine-year-old de­signer shows us that tai­lor­ing can be dar­ing too. Not a moody, blend-into-the-black suit but one that em­braces colour, one that is cut for com­fort. It seems that

Dior Homme’s new re­mit is to make the lives of men eas­ier.

If any­one can de­con­struct the Dior suit, it’s Jones, who has never been one to stand on cer­e­mony. As a Lon­don teenager, he fell in love with fash­ion by way of mu­sic and mag­a­zines, mak­ing T-shirts for his friends to wear when they went out. He went to Cen­tral Saint Martins col­lege, where he caught the at­ten­tion of John Gal­liano. He launched his own la­bel and ran it for five years. Next, he took the top job at Dunhill in 2008, then he took over Vuit­ton, and now Dior, with ev­ery pair of eyes from the fash­ion world an­tic­i­pat­ing and in­ter­pret­ing his ev­ery move.

Shortly after un­veil­ing his first col­lec­tion for Dior — to near unan­i­mous ac­claim — Kim Jones ex­clu­sively ex­plains to Esquire Mid­dle East how he is only just get­ting started.

ESQUIRE: Con­grat­u­la­tions on the col­lec­tion. Did you feel the pres­sure with this be­ing your first for the house? Kim Jones: When I ar­rived at Dior, I only had three months to build the col­lec­tion and de­velop the new iden­tity. There was no time to feel pres­sure so I just re­ally fo­cused on my work. It also helps that Dior Homme feels like a fam­ily and [the house’s Pres­i­dent] Pietro Bec­cari has fully sup­ported me since my ar­rival. ESQ: What was the main source of in­spi­ra­tion?

KJ: Hon­estly? It was

Mr. Dior. It helps that the whole archive and her­itage at Dior is in­cred­i­ble. It in­spired me to keep build­ing the legacy.

I wanted to use the House’s colours and pat­terns, take pieces from Mr. Dior’s home in­te­ri­ors, fam­ily archive, looked at his per­sonal life as ref­er­ence. The Sum­mer ’19 col­lec­tion ref­er­ences ev­ery­thing that was Chris­tian Dior.

ESQ: Can you give us spe­cific ex­am­ples? KJ: The flo­ral mo­tif we used comes from Mr. Dior’s din­ner ser­vices. They echo both his love of na­ture, and his “femmes-fleurs”. We blew them up and made them into prints be­cause he was fa­mously into his food as well. His dog, Bobby, in­spired a lim­ited edi­tion of the Miss. Dior per­fume in 1952, so we did Mr. Dior as the BFF KAWS char­ac­ter with his dog Bobby. The jew­ellery in­tro­duces a new Mod­ernist logo de­rived from the one used for the Dior fam­ily’s busi­ness ven­tures in the 1920s. And, then, the Toile de Jouy which is ac­tu­ally the one from the first store that he did in 1947 and it’s em­broi­dered un­der en toile of tulle and or­ganza. ESQ: Did you know what the end col­lec­tion would look like from the get-go or was it a work in progress and you even sur­prise your­self with the re­sults? KJ: When I started, I had an idea of Dior and of the pieces I thought would trans­fer into Dior men’s new chap­ter. I never take things lit­er­ally. I take them and I rein­ter­pret them. For the first show, it was im­por­tant to me to look at the tra­di­tion of the house and to make the most of the in­cred­i­ble ate­lier and savoir faire, but I re­ally wanted to start at Dior with Dior. The ate­lier is truly amaz­ing, so this col­lec­tion was re­ally in­spired by the con­ver­sa­tions that took place there, and see­ing the archives. I want to sur­prise peo­ple with what I do be­cause I’m ac­tu­ally very mul­ti­func­tional and I can do dif­fer­ent things. ESQ: You seemed to play a lot with the con­cept of con­tem­po­rary mas­culin­ity, was this a theme in the col­lec­tion? KJ: I looked at all the ref­er­ences from when Dior was do­ing Dior and it was a women’s House. But I think when you see it and you break it down, pieces turn into very real things for men. I would call it more ‘ro­man­tic’ than ‘fem­i­nine’ be­cause I think it’s quite a ro­man­tic house. I’ve used the House colours and pat­terns and taken pieces from Mr. Dior’s life as a ref­er­ence. We have Dior Grey and Dior Pink, which are two colours that just stand out when you look at ev­ery­thing in the archives and re­search. We chose pink as one of our main


colours be­cause it was used in women’s gowns dur­ing our Mai­son’s found­ing era as well as in Mr. Dior’s fam­ily home.

ESQ: Do you have a favourite piece from the col­lec­tion?

KJ: I have a lot that I like, but I think one of my favourite pieces is the white-col­lar shirt with white “toile de jouy” feath­ers all-over em­broi­dery hand­made by Mai­son Le­marié, us­ing the same haute cou­ture ap­proach. It’s a real haute cou­ture piece that re­quired 1,000 hours to re­al­ize.

The toile de Jouy has been cho­sen for the orig­i­nal bou­tique at 30 Av­enue Mon­taigne, which is a new Dior em­blem in­spired by this her­itage. ESQ: When you’re de­sign­ing, how hard is it to dis­tance your­self enough from the clothes so they rep­re­sent the house in­stead of your own style? KJ: Ev­ery time I join a com­pany, I al­ways work on the codes of the brand and make an over­view of what the house needs, then I look at my­self. I’ve re­searched a wide va­ri­ety of top­ics in var­i­ous Mai­son archives. In them I’d find things that I par­tic­u­larly liked and my own style, and would then fo­cus on those things when do­ing re­search. There are a lot of Maisons and a lot of col­lec­tions, so I’m good at quickly find­ing things in them that make me think “Yes! This is it!” and mov­ing with agility.

ESQ: What did you think of Vir­gil’s first show for Louis Vuit­ton? KJ: Vir­gil and I are very close friends. I was there for his first col­lec­tion for Louis Vuit­ton and it was a great show.

ESQ: Sportswear is still very ev­i­dent, do you see a split be­tween the sportswear and the tai­lor­ing of­fer­ing in the house? In terms of cus­tomers, re­tail­ers and de­sign process? KJ: I started with a tai­lor­ing base and I ac­tu­ally looked at sportswear with a cou­ture fin­ish. The col­lec­tion is ac­tu­ally re­ally chic and el­e­gant. Be­cause that’s what this Mai­son is like. So, it was tak­ing what the House has done, which is cou­ture and tai­lor­ing and us­ing that into mak­ing the new stuff. I don’t even like the word “street”. I don’t be­lieve in it… be­cause ev­ery­one wears clothes on the street,

so how can you say that’s street and that’s not street when it’s worn on the same street? As a de­signer, you don’t have to do one thing. It’s nice to turn a page and do some­thing new. I think that’s the thing that men want to wear and how they wear it, rather than call­ing it ‘sportswear’ or ‘streetwear’ or what­ever. It’s all mixed to­gether now.

ESQ: Why did you de­cide to work with [Amer­i­can artist] KAWS on the show?

KJ: I’ve al­ways wanted to work with KAWS,

I think he’s su­per chic and his work speaks to a lot of peo­ple. Both of those things were im­por­tant to me [at Dior]. I’ve grown up lov­ing KAWS, and now he’s one of the ma­jor artists of his gen­er­a­tion and it’s for ev­ery­body re­ally. I wanted an el­e­ment of sur­prise so we com­mis­sioned KAWS to re­design the bee. We did Mr. Dior as the BFF KAWS char­ac­ter with his dog Bobby, I’d wanted to make this show into some­thing mas­sive, and it was a huge suc­cess with KAWS help. Dior is a large com­pany, but the staff re­ally re­spect each other, and the Mai­son has a warm fam­ily-like at­mos­phere. KAWS re­ally fits well into that.

ESQ: For the jew­ellery, you chose to col­lab­o­rate with Yoon of Am­bush. What was it about her that you thought would work for Dior Men’s? KJ: With Yoon, I thought it would be nice to have some­one that was work­ing on cus­tom jew­ellery who was not French and came from a dif­fer­ent part of the world. Yoon is a re­ally in­de­pen­dent woman and her in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Dior is fan­tas­tic, and she re­ally gets the kind of things

I like.

Above: looks from the Dior S/S19 col­lec­tion. Be­low: the cen­tre piece of the run­way show— a giant Mr. Dior in­spired BFF KAWS

Above: the new Dior suit­ing sil­hou­etteBe­low: Kate Moss, Kim Jones and Naomi Camp­bell

Mod­els on the run­way around the huge BFF KAWS char­ac­ter

The de­tail­ing and colours were in­spired by Dior archives

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