PARIS — In the latest sign that Dior is beefing up its men’s business, the French fashion house plans to stage its first men’s pre-fall runway show with a collection designed by Kim Jones scheduled to bow in Tokyo on Nov. 30, WWD has learned exclusively.
The choice of location reflects not just the brand’s long-term relationship with the country, but also the British designer’s fondness for Japan and the strategic importance of the Asian market.
The show will coincide with a Dior men’s pop-up at department store Isetan in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, set to open on Nov. 28 for two weeks, that will carry the first collection designed by Jones. The capsule line for summer 2019 will simultaneously go on sale at the Dior flagship in Ginza ahead of its global launch on Dec. 1.
Jones told WWD in July the capsule would include denim pieces embroidered with Dior’s signature bee, as reimagined by U.S. artist Kaws, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, who also designed a monumental floral sculpture for the designer’s debut Dior show in Paris in July.
The spring collection featured new accessories, including a men’s version of the Saddle bag; belts with a stylized CD buckle created by Matthew Williams, the designer behind the rising label Alyx, and graphic jewels by Ambush creative director Yoon Ahn, now a member of the Dior team.
“We are honored to be holding the first pre-fall men’s show in Tokyo. Creativity, innovation and savoir-faire are all values deeply rooted in Japanese culture and they are also of great importance to us,” Pietro Beccari, chief executive officer of Dior, said in a statement.
Jones, who visited Japan in late August, has strong ties with the country, which continues to feed into his creative universe. The designer joined Dior in April after a seven-year stint as men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton, a fellow brand within the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton luxury conglomerate.
“A fashion show in Tokyo is the best way to present and celebrate my first Dior pre-fall men’s show. Japan is a magical country that I know quite well and that I love particularly for its incredible and unique culture, history and nature, which have always been very fascinating and a great source of inspiration to me,” he said.
Dior last made a big splash in Tokyo in April 2017, when it celebrated the opening of the Ginza flagship, its largest store in the country, with back-to-back haute couture and men’s events.
Maria Grazia Chiuri reprised her debut couture collection alongside eight specially designed looks on the roof of the Ginza Six retail complex, which houses the store, while former Dior men’s creative director Kris Van Assche showcased his pre-fall collection with a presentation in a warehouse-style space in Tokyo Bay.
By choosing Japan as the setting for its first men’s pre-fall catwalk show, the house is underlining its historic ties with the country, which strongly inspired founder Christian Dior, as evidenced by archival items including a cherry blossom print from 1953 and a jacket designed to be worn over a kimono.
He created dresses with names such as Tokyo or Utamaro — after the 18th-century Japanese artist — using exceptional fabrics produced by Tatsumura Textile, a historic silk weaver from Kyoto.
Some of those archival creations could well make their way into Jones’ pre-fall collection. His debut show melded the house’s haute couture heritage — in the shape of toile de Jouy and floral embroideries — with his signature sportswear-infused aesthetic, in a blend that is finding equal favor with men and women.
“The only things I’ve looked at are women’s wear,” Jones told WWD in a preview. Among the celebrities spotted wearing items from the collection in recent weeks are DJ and record producer Diplo, artist Daniel Arsham and model Naomi Campbell.