Men’s – New New Look. Dior AW19

It’s just the third runway collection from Kim Jones, but it’s already visible that his Dior has the new, new look. The Dior man is somewhere between deluxe athleisure, composed of utilitarian styles and comfortable fits, and a couture dandy, a territory that lets Jones embrace the brand’s truest haute heritage – which used to connotate with womenswear, only. The autumn-winter 2019 collection was a pure fashion moment we all waited for the entire season. Models didn’t exactly “walk” the runway, but stood still on a moving sidewalk. Suiting was given an air of elegance with draped, floor-sweeping sashes in satin and leopard print faux fur. What brought the line-up a truly exquisite touch was the collaboration with artist Raymond Pettibone. Jones used his illustrations for all the hand-made embroideries and embellishments, that covered the tops and shirts. Spectacular.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Tokyo Boy. Dior Men Pre-Fall 2019

So we came to this moment in fashion, when menswear’s pre-collections are as important as women’s. Or, as in case of Kim Jones’s latest line-up for Dior Men, even more significant (sorry, Maria Grazian Chiuri). It’s just his second season at Dior’s menswear line, but Jones isn’t afraid to take big steps to catch everybody’s attention. Well, and there are major reasons why Dior Men is so appealing lately – just see your Instagram feed that is still buzzing with the designer’s Tokyo extravaganza. The new collection reinterpreted Christian Dior’s love for Japanese culture through multiple lenses, including cherry blossom prints (thought no one would make them look THIS fresh) and two kimono-inspired looks, made in leather. But Kim smoothly avoided Japan-related clichés, by focusing on today’s Japanese way of dressing – and the beloved, futurist aesthetic. Best prove of the latter: Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama created a 39-foot fembot sculpture for the runway’s set; a similar silver robot appeared as a print in the collection. Utility and workwear were represented via metallic harnesses with Dior’s signature chair caning at the back and robot-inspired jewellery. Very cosmic. But what’s most impressive about Jones’s work at Dior – which he already demonstrated last season – is the way he combines menswear easiness with couture level craftsmanship. A white astrakhan bomber that shaded into a toile de Jouy is something elegant, yet wearable, and surely with a out-of-this-world price tag. The more conservative, business-kind of Dior Men client will choose tailoring and (possibly) several of those asymmetrical suits.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s / The Big Debuts SS19

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Kate Moss, Lenny Kravitz and Naomi Campbell at Dior.

Just imagine how happy the people at LVMH are now. Both of the maisons they own, Louis Vuitton and Dior, earned such spotlight throughout the last few days that it’s unbelievable how much profit the luxury conglomerate gets in the upcoming months. Two names were on the lips of entire Paris this week: Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones. The first debuted at Vuitton with a more grown-up version of his Off-White, while the latter entered the house with a relevant ode to the founder of the house, Chritian Dior.

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Readers of this site know that I’m on fence with Virgil Abloh and his brand, Off-White. To me, it’s a streetwear label that effortlessly hits the luxury shelf (just like Vetements) and is quite deprived of genuine creativity (at least, speaking of the ready-to-wear stuff seen on the runways). Once it’s all about 90s Helmut Lang covered in prints, then it goes for such ‘of the moment’ trends like tulle. Still, kids love it, adults as well. Maybe it’s the question of aesthetics? I would surely love an Off-White hoodie few years ago, but now I’m into something completely else.

Now, straight to the topic. The Louis Vuitton show had a front row with a capital F: there was Kanye West, the Kardashians, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, just to name a few. The clothes were essentially Virgil, but more de luxe than usually. Neon harness, hoodies under blazers, sporty shorts, lots of new sneakers that will be ‘it’ sooner or later, a bunch of classical LV bags with chain handles. Basically, it’s all the stuff that brands like Louis Vuitton need right now: bold, not-to-deep-in-meaning pieces that the rich, young clientele will want in their lives. The only thing I truly appreciated about the collection was the model casting, that was beautifully, beautifully diverse. Still, in terms of Louis Vuitton fashion, I will cling to Nicolas Ghesquiere’s womenswear.

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In fact, Virgil Abloh is Kim Jones’ successor at Vuitton. Also, in private, they’re friends, so what really surprised me during this Paris fashion week was the lack of striking competition (both of the designers went to each other’s show, how cute!). Kim Jones had similar ways of luring everyone to take a look at his debut: celebrity-filled f-row (from Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Lenny Kravitz to Lily Allen and The xx), a fancy venue (this huge KAWS statue made of real flowers stood in the middle), famous models (like Prince Nikolai of Denmark, who opened the show). But actually, I want to thank Kim for making me look at a Dior show for longer than one minute (I mean, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s womenswear…). And you know what? There was lots to look at. In his collection, the designer paid tribute to Christian Dior, and such Dior predecessors as John Galliano, but in a smart, innovative way.

The dominant colours were signature pale Dior pink and porcelain blue. The toile de jouy created by Victor Grandpierre for Christian’s original boutique in 1947 appeared as the leading fabric for the shirts. Jones as well experimented with suits, nodding to Tailleur Oblique, Dior’s famous, diagonally wrapped ensemble from 1950. And then, my favourite part, there’s the iconic Dior Saddle Bag, now in more safe colours than the ones Galliano did, or converted into wallets (how commerce-wise!). Kim Jones wisely spent the time at the maison‘s archives, coming out with brilliant ideas. It’s also worth noting that he invited Yoon Ahn from Ambush to do the very cool jewellery, as well as Matthew Williams from Alyx to work on the buckles. Jones masterfully blended the past with contemporary, which I like. Maybe it wasn’t my favourite show of the season (even though it had some major highlights), but the newly appointed designer is on a very good path (just as Virgil, who will definitely rule with his LV, whether you love it or loathe it).

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All collages by Edward Kanarecki.

Mr Porter US

Single-Minded. Dior AW17 Couture

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Looking at Maria Grazia Chiuri‘s time-line at Dior, which started about a year ago, one thing’s sure – she doesn’t care about the critics and suggestions of others. She likes going one clear, single-minded direction per season, making her overall work feel like a set of trends, rather than a consistent story told by an experienced designer. Let’s go navy this season, let’s do ‘feminism’ this time, oh, maybe let’s do a Western theme!

So, what’s on the table this couture season? Fifty shades of grey, literally (expect three, four looks kept in multi-coloured patchwork). Heavy masculine coats, fedora hats, dusty ball-gowns for cosmopolitan ladies of early 20th century – you would expect something more radiant for a brand’s 70th anniversary. “Honestly, it’s completely different to see the real archive and the image that some people have about Christian Dior. There’s so much daywear.” Thought it’s a haute couture show, where you don’t give a damn about something like ‘daywear’ and instead go for imagination. Talking of Dior, the man – the  bar jacket is here. With this exhausted piece, Chiuri checks the box every season, saying that she finds a connection with the brand’s founder. But Maria Grazia should focus on making Dior feel contemporary, even for a billionaire’s wifes who will buy it later in the atelier. Or, I guess, this sells well, if she’s still at the maison

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki (backdrop: Gordon Parks’ photo).