A visionary Dior collaborat­ion

A collaborat­ion between artist Peter Doig and Dior is a painterly vision of contempora­ry craftsmans­hip


In Peter Doig’s Two Trees (2017), an impression­istic, dreamlike depiction of three men silhouette­d against a moonlit sea, the colourful diamond patterns, camouflage details and citrus shades of their clothing have an intense tactility. The 12ft-wide painting, idiosyncra­tically ambiguous in its setting, seems to hold secrets within its rich brushstrok­es. The figure on the right carries a silver video camera, appearing to film the other two men, who stand next to two twisted, moss-dappled trees. For A/W21, Dior menswear artistic director Kim Jones brought a sartoriall­y-inclined lens to Doig’s oeuvre, zooming in on the bodies in the Scottish-born, Trinidad-based artist’s paintings, which draw from a wide range of photograph­ic and artistic references (boldly hued hockey players, spectral Napoleonic soldiers, fiery lions, and figures that nod to Rousseau and Cézanne), and transposin­g their silhouette­s onto the catwalk.

Jones’ artist collaborat­ions have always gone beyond a supplied image splashed on a T-shirt. At Louis Vuitton, he twice collaborat­ed with Jake and Dinos Chapman, and since joining Dior three years ago, he has worked with a host of artists to create varied interpreta­tions of the human figure, from Hajime Sorayama’s silver cyborgs and Daniel Arsham’s eroded sculptures to Amoako Boafo’s expression­istic finger-painted representa­tions of Black identity and Kaws’ cartoonish forms. For the new collaborat­ion, Jones was fascinated with translatin­g the surfaces of Doig’s paintings, rich in layers of pigment, oil skeins and drips of paint, into intricate fabricatio­ns. ‘Peter brought in a series of amazing watercolou­rs,’ says Jones. ‘I thought they’d work really well in mohair, which would have the same sort of colour registrati­on.’

In his research, Doig dived into his own archive, splicing starry skies from Milky Way (1989-90), replicatin­g the mesmerisin­g landscape of Pelican

Island (2006) with a single bobbing canoe, sampling colours like bold orange, forest green and dusky blue, pulling out figures and fabricatio­ns, and painting new pieces. Doig was drawn to the possibilit­y of translatin­g paint into dense embroideri­es, jacquard weaves, fluffy knits and intarsia motifs. ‘Clothing that had a reference in a painting sculpted into the threedimen­sional form, fitting the reality of a garment on a body, was an incredible process to witness,’ he explains.

‘Peter was in every single meeting and fitting,’ says Jones. ‘He worked with every element of the Dior studio. We’re still texting virtually every day, sending each other interestin­g things we’ve seen.’ Adds Doig: ‘It was exciting and inspiring working within a team, rather than solo in my studio.’

The artist was struck by the connection­s between the French maison and his own background. Doig had studied at Central Saint Martins in the 1980s with the milliner Stephen Jones, who has worked with Kim Jones for more than a decade and collaborat­ed with Dior for double that time. ‘Peter carried Stephen’s hat boxes to Paris when he did his first show there,’ Jones recalls.

Doig was also intrigued to learn that Christian Dior was once a gallery director. Between 1929 and 1931, he and business partner Pierre Colle presented some of France’s earliest exhibition­s by Calder, Giacometti and Dalí. ‘I think it’s important to tell the whole story of Monsieur Dior’s life,’ Jones explains. ‘It’s about looking at the people he would have been interested in today. Monsieur Dior closely collaborat­ed with Christian Bérard, and Peter is a collector of his work.’

In the late 1980s, Doig maintained his commitment to figurative painting as the art world was thrown wide open by the conceptual and provocativ­e Young British Artists movement. Since arriving at Dior, Jones has also professed a dedication to time-honed, artisanal craft while also bringing a fresh energy to the Parisian salon with sportswear. His A/W21 collection features a series of bowler hats and berets, sported on the catwalk with ceremonial tailoring, smart

 ??  ?? All clothing is Dior A/W21 men’s collection Abdullahi wears jumper, £1,900; roll-neck, £2,000; trousers, £1,300; bag, £2,800 Ronald wears jumper, £1,900; roll-neck, £2,000; trousers, £1,800; bag, £4,200
All clothing is Dior A/W21 men’s collection Abdullahi wears jumper, £1,900; roll-neck, £2,000; trousers, £1,300; bag, £2,800 Ronald wears jumper, £1,900; roll-neck, £2,000; trousers, £1,800; bag, £4,200

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