This time last year, Kim Jones’ many fans across the fashion and art worlds were gathered in Miami Beach. His Dior Men show was a Basel-adjacent affair, complete with a walk-through of the new Rubell Museum. Last moments of old reality. The pandemic scuttled plans to stage a show in Beijing for Jones’s latest outing, and this way sole focus was directed at the clothes. Last year, Jones revealed a colorful collaboration with Shawn Stussy, the streetwear OG. This season, he tapped Kenny Scharf, an American artist who emerged from the 1980s East Village scene, making street art alongside his friends Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. “The fun and the energy of that time – you see young kids being excited by Kenny Scharf’s work. It’s speaking across generations,” Jones told Vogue via Zoom. Scharf’s canvases can now fetch up to six figures, but he still has street cred: via “Karbombz,” a public art project, he’s tagged upwards of 300 cars with his imaginary creatures – all for free. Scharf, whose first show was at New York’s Fiorucci boutique in 1979 and earliest fashion hookup was with Stephen Sprouse, is the perfect Jones collaborator. His work gleefully obliterates boundaries too. “I’m one of the inventors of all that,” Scharf said on a call from his L.A. studio. He raved about Jones: “He’s a listener, he’s a learner, and that shows. He went really deep into what I’m doing.” Together, the designer and the artist selected contemporary pieces and older ones to reproduce, including When the Worlds Collide, a 1984 canvas in the Whitney’s permanent collection. Scharf also designed 12 Chinese zodiac signs for the show’s knits and underpinnings, and, of course, he had free rein to reinterpret the Dior logo. “I just wanted it to be a very full-on version, using specific techniques to recreate his work in really beautiful ways, to make it even more Pop,” Jones said. In some cases, the Dior ateliers were joined by Chinese artisans who rendered Scharf paintings in delicate seed embroideries. Silhouette-wise, Jones’s instinct was to soften his distinctive tailoring and give it a more lounge-y attitude. Jackets are belted like robes and pants are easy; some of the models wear Oblique-patterned slippers. We are still locked in, after all – lets keep it stylish.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.