Prior to Kim Jones’ latest menswear collection for Dior, there were whispers of a spectacular show set. After all, his tenure so far has seen him conjure a series of dramatic backdrops – from a painstaking recreation of Paris’ Alexandre-III bridge to a constructed countryside garden planted with over 9,000 real wildflowers (he even lit up Giza Pyramids with a laser-and-light show as mise en scène for his Pre-Fall 2023 show in Egypt in 2022).
And there was even more reason for anticipation. As the metal invitations for the show – embossed with a number five – suggested, it was Jones’ fifth anniversary at the house, the collection itself a celebration of the landmark. The show’s location was also new, Paris’ École Militaire, where Dior had constructed a vast grey box for the occasion in the grounds of the 18th-century military college (to add to the scene, the Eiffel Tower loomed tall behind). On entry, though, there was initially little to see – the runway a stark, expansive metal grid, along which attendees watched on from blocks of raised seating.
Kim Jones on his rise-and-fall set for Dior men’s show
As the lights dimmed and the show began, a magic trick: 51 panels on the floor lit up and slid open, out of which the entire cast of models rose upwards on individual lifts to present the entire collection at once. A spontaneous round of applause from the audience accompanied the spectacle, as attendees clamoured to capture the moment of their phones. Once up, the models circled the space one by one, before standing back on their panels and disappearing again in threes. (Every model rose and fell one final time for the show’s finale).
‘I suppose the set could be seen as an abstract garden,’ Kim Jones told Wallpaper* of his inspiration for the spectacle the day after the show. The garden has been a prescient inspiration for Kim Jones in his tenure so far – for S/S 2022 looks came complete gardening aprons, gloves and sun hats – and provides a link to house founder Christian Dior himself. An avid gardener, his obsession with flowers came from a childhood watching his mother tend her beloved rose garden in the family home in Granville, Normandy.
‘Particularly with the boys wearing hats, as they rise through the floor, they’re almost like plants growing – like a mechanical garden where the hidden is revealed,’ he continues, referencing the colourful knitted beanie-style hats created in collaboration with Stephen Jones which were adored with flowers and feathers. ‘The hats echo the organic shapes of flowers, and it all felt like a new way to interpret Christian Dior’s garden now.’
Of the collection itself – which referenced the work of the house’s previous creative directors, including Marc Bohan and Yves Saint Laurent – Jones said it was ‘all about the clothes’. ‘I like to think that in my five years of being here I have never forgotten this, Ii’s a culture we have inherited from womenswear past and applied to menswear present. And for the first time in our collections, it is a collage of influences from different Dior predecessors and eras we wanted to pay tribute to at once.’
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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