SEQUINS, TWEED and a spectacular coup de théâtre. Five years into his tenure at Dior Men, and Kim Jones still manages to dream up a moment that delights and surprises his crowd.
In an age where creative directors shuffle around every season or so, a successful five-year stint at one of fashion’s most respected houses is due cause for celebration. And that’s exactly what Jones did on Friday, debuting his spring 2024 collection inside a sturdy grey box — a fitting party venue — outside the École Militaire in Paris.
Guests gathered inside, lining the edges of a wide runway paved with polished metal tiles. Inside the monochrome chamber, the raspy trip-hop-esque waves of Primal Scream’s “Higher Than the Sun” began to play, as the tiles opened and a 51-strong cast of models ascended from beneath the runway. Usually, this would be the moment the front row turns into a wall of phones. And it did — this is fashion week in the TikTok era after all — but shortly after the room was filled with applause. It was more like the opening of a concert than a runway — a fitting arrival for Jones’ fifth anniversary.
The show didn’t stop once the models reached ground level. As each moved from their tiles to circle the room, Jones’ sartorial genius shifted into focus. As sweet as a fashion spectacle may be, a runway show is about the garments at its core.
Jones knows this, having noted, “Dior is an haute couture house: it is all about the clothes. At the heart of Dior is silhouette, shape, technique and fabrication of the very highest order. I like to think that in my five years of being here… I have never forgotten this.”
Since his debut at Dior five years ago, Jones has well and truly proved himself up against some of the maison’s great artistic directors. It was some of his predecessors — Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferré, and Marc Bohan, to be specific — who he paid homage to this season. Cited as a multi-faceted tribute to the house legends, Jones drew on the iconic silhouettes created by Saint Laurent, Ferré and Bohan, reinterpreting and transforming them for the modern man. As the show notes put it, it was a simultaneous embrace of “tradition and subversion.”
A collage of influences took centre stage, with references to the past interspersed with pop culture iconography, architectural precision and contemporary ease. A standout accent was Jones’ use of tweed, a famous become a hallmark of Chanel’s, reimagined here for the modern gentleman.
There were pink and lime static-look coats, grey vests and jackets, all immaculately structured and textured. Archetypal menswear items — namely shirts and suiting — were clean as can be, transformed through embroidered plastic, raffia, sequins and beading. Pants were relaxed, hanging on the leg and cropped above the ankles, a shift in direction from the sky high-waisted options we’ve seen decorate runways for much of this season. There were patterned short-shorts, too — even a leopard-print pair, if that’s your thing — and a range of wide-strapped sandals and chunky loafers. From head to toe, the palette balanced cool-tone neutrals with pops of neon — ranging from “extravagant to sober”, as per the show notes — all tied together with colourful knitted caps and tweed and mesh bags. It was day-to-night doing the most, a refined wardrobe for Jones’ anniversary soirée.
Overall, Dior spring 2024 menswear was a pastiche of references, one that looked to both the past and future, while remaining anchored in reflections of the now. Here’s to the next five years of Jones’ Dior reign — and beyond.
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