Why build a set featuring one of the most ornate bridges in Paris when the original is less than two miles away? Well for one, because having perfect weather at your fashion show is the ultimate luxury.
In a cavernous tent on Place de la Concorde, Dior created a replica of the Pont Alexandre III, complete with Beaux-Arts-style lamps, cherubs and a golden winged horse, and set it against a digital backdrop of a gently changing winter sky to showcase the fall collection of its men’s artistic director, Kim Jones.
“It’s a dawn in Paris,” Jones said during a preview. “We loved the idea of them walking on the street, and we thought, what’s the most glamorous bit of Paris?”
To underline his ode to the French capital, Malcolm McLaren’s 1994 track “Paris Paris” — featuring Catherine Deneuve on vocals — played on a loop as guests filed in. The colors of the clothes themselves echoed the mineral tones of the city’s slate rooftops.
But this was mainly a tribute to Christian Dior himself, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the house he founded (Friday also happened to be Dior’s birthday). “I wanted to do a conversation with Christian Dior as the ultimate collaboration,” said Jones, who revealed recently that he was switching gears after three years of partnerships with leading contemporary artists.
Although his decision was taken before the Astroworld disaster forced Dior to postpone indefinitely the planned launch of its spring collection, created with rapper Travis Scott, that tragic event illustrated the pitfalls of joining forces with a third party.
With Dior’s heritage, Jones was on safe ground. This collection was rife with the house’s codes, from “cannage” quilting to leopard prints, and high-low mixes, such as sweatshirts with dense floral embroideries inspired by the Miss Dior haute couture dress from 1949. It included sweet nods to Dior’s passion for roses, and his dog Bobby.
Jones even succumbed to the lure of the Bar jacket, after initially deeming its hourglass shape too feminine for reappropriation. By pinching the fabric of jackets at the hips, using contrasting raw seams, he gave his suits just a hint of curve.
Not that the designer is shy about embracing some of the more flamboyant accoutrements of couture: derby shoes dripped with crystals, while a workwear-inspired jacket was overlaid with a delicate veil of embroidered tulle.
Even the sweatpants were extra. Made of silky soft cashmere, they were paired with Birkenstock sandals, which last year joined the list of Dior owner Bernard Arnault’s acquisitions, giving the German footwear manufacturer a direct line into the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate.
Some of the looks were set off by minimalist berets designed by Stephen Jones, who is celebrating 25 years at the house and who Jones brought out for the final bow. “They’re in matching fabrics, so they’re the most subtle statement. Of course, because it’s a beret, it’s that thing of France and French joie de vivre,” the hatmaker explained.
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