So Travis Scott’s collaboration with Dior was a riot — literally. The French fashion house unveiled the collaboration on Friday in front of 500 guests at its first physical men’s runway show in 18 months.
The event drew a large crowd outside, which surged forward and knocked over a security barrier when the singer left the venue, forcing him to retreat back inside — before reemerging to commune with his fans in an impromptu street mosh pit.
Backstage after the show, the situation was equally chaotic, as photographers jostled for a shot of the rapper with Dior’s artistic director for men’s wear Kim Jones, who vainly pleaded for social distancing.
It was the first major celebrity fashion moment in Paris since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and one befitting Scott’s status as a pop cultural icon.
“He’s a cultural phenomenon, and culture is something that the young generation want to associate with, especially when they’ve been away from everything,” Jones said. After three seasons of online shows, each with a different artist as guest collaborator, his decision to link up with a musician could not have come at a better time.
“It gets people excited. Dior’s done particularly well in the last year. Everywhere you go, there’s a queue outside the store. We’ve been selling all sorts of things to all sorts of people, and I just want to continue to grow that message,” the designer explained.
It’s the first time Dior has designed a full collection with a musician, and Jones made sure the house’s codes were front and center, making tailoring — and particularly his signature Oblique jacket — the backbone of the lineup, although flared pants added a ’70s twist to the look.
Scott brought in further psychedelic influences, from the sun-bleached pastels and acid green of the color palette, to the giant mushrooms and cacti dotting the desert-like set, which symbolized the performer’s home state of Texas and his creative collective Cactus Jack.
“The cactus is one of my enduring inspirational plants,” said Scott, adding that his birth name is Jacques and his mother calls him Baby Jack. “It’s a label and a movement, an idea and an inspiration that we try to instill and keep moving, trying to help the world with new design and inspirational experiences.”
Naturally, he provided the throbbing show soundtrack, including a new track called “Lost Forever,” cowritten with James Blake and Westside Gunn.
Jones noted that Christian Dior visited Texas on his first trip to the U.S. in 1947. “We’ve basically done the reverse journey via Travis,” he remarked. Western-style touches included python prints, a dusty suede jacket and a double Saddle bag with a stirrup handle.
Graphics ranged from Cactus Jack’s signature hand-drawn motifs to a new version of the Dior Oblique logo spelling out the word “Jack.” It turns out Bernard Arnault, head of Dior’s parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, personally OK’d the irreverent take on one of his most valuable pieces of intellectual property.
“I knew he’d love it or hate it, and he got it completely,” Jones said. “He likes to see energy and fun. He’s seen everything in the world. I always enjoy spending time with Mr. Arnault because of his eye. He knows exactly what he likes and he knows exactly what works — that’s why he’s Mr. Arnault.”
It’s easy to see why the luxury mogul would roll out the red carpet for Scott, who has collaborations with brands including Nike, Playstation, Epic Games and Dover Street Market under his belt. The musician’s collaboration with McDonald’s last year resulted in meat shortages and helped to drive up the fast-food giant’s shares.
Online chatter around the Cactus Jack Dior collection homed in on the new skate-inspired sneakers, which Dior is no doubt hoping will match the success of its Air Jordan trainers released last year. No matter what the commercial results, the amount of brand heat generated by Friday’s event was priceless.
Jones will be tracking another barometer of success. “It’ll be interesting to see how many young kids you see wearing suits now after this, because he’s a big influence. I don’t like doing things for hype, I like doing things for exciting the consumer,” he said.