For Winter 2021, Dior Gives Menswear Some Time and Space

If Dior Men’s fall show was fashion’s equivalent of the Big Bang, then its successor was the age of space colonization. Before, there were Pete Tong pinks and Bjorkian hair buns that sprang forth from a graphic wall presumably printed at the centre of the universe. But now, creative director Kim Jones is charting a star course to a well-dressed, not-so-distant future—and it looks like one in which the laws of time and space are beginning to make even less sense than the ending of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. The difference here, however, is that Dior’s winter show was a pleasure to watch.

The term “futuristic” usually conjures doomscapes of cyborg metallics, fluoro, and living in a partially submerged house you foolishly bought for cheap on a flood plain. Not so in this latest collection. Rather than leaning on the furniture of any of Ridley Scott’s films, Dior’s vision of humankind’s future is tied up in humankind’s past. In today’s all-singing, all-techno thrashing show, models walked out onto a long, painterly runway that was less Starship Command, more Barbarella viewing deck. Enormous speakers (blasters? propulsion thrusters?) were seemingly made of teak, not titanium, and on wheels. They were the only baubles in this long, vast spacewalk.

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The actual clothes were also familiar and futuristic all at once. Among the flowing, well-built overcoats—a common and wearable signature of the Jones-at-Dior era—sat crew members who’d evidently ripped through the fabric of time and space itself to climb aboard this ship to stars unknown. In Cadbury purple Nehru jackets, we saw Sergeant Pepper on his first shift as Martian security. In frayed bowler hats, Bob Fosse, but in Mad Max. In leather boots, the New Romanticism of Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. In the smattering of berets, a throwback to last season’s autumn/winter show, which in itself was a throwback to the Buffalo Boys movement kickstarted by the late, great stylist and artist Judy Blame. In the crochet beanies, free-love Woodstockers. In the hi-graphic, mohair knits and furry, Lil’ Kim purple coat, the acid madness of the Nineties. And, of course, in the saddle bag, the embroidery, the embellishments, and in the general sense of a couture-like show, there was Christian Dior. Jones has always mined the house’s archives for the bedrock of each collection, and winter 2021 was no different.

All of that sounds like too much, and usually, it would be. But Jones fastens these legion timelines together with a rich, aristocratic palette, thus creating a dimension where these eras not only converge, but meld into one silken, glittering multiverse. Dior’s ongoing collaborative project with artists from around the world gives the sprawling collection another cable tie. Peter Doig, a Scottish-born, Trinidad-based painter, is a highly accomplished figure in the contemporary art world, and his textured, abstract style lent the collection several animal emblems—one being based on Monsieur Dior’s dog, Bobby; the other a dream-like lion—and also the show’s starry backdrop, which was inspired by the night sky of Doig’s Milky Way (1990). The work was also seen on the show’s clutch bag invitations (another Jones signature), and upon the prints of several pieces. And remember those teaky, retro-futurist speakers on wheels? A Doig flourish, this one taken from his painting Speaker/Girl (2015).

These collaborations aren’t just knee-jerk decisions. Dior enjoyed long and solid friendships with those in the art world, and Jones seeks to immortalize such friendships by pairing with those who can both complement and carry Dior’s legacy. It’s serious work, but despite the great responsibility, and the deep wells of reverence paid to the house, Jones still manages to make this space, with its time travel and space travel and actual travel, a fun one. It’d be much easier for designers to stare into the abyss right now, but Dior has seen the light, and it’s charting a course across the solar system to find out exactly what that light is.

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Source : Esquire