IN a groundbreaking move, Kim Jones took the show for his latest Dior collection to his home town of London. It is a bold yet understandable manoeuvre for Dior, a brand rich with cultural ties to the country; Dior held their first show in London at the Savoy Hotel in April 1950, and Monsieur Dior designed Princess Margaret’s 21st birthday dress in 1951. Plus, Monsieur Dior frequently expressed his love of the city.
The new location provided a fresher, sharper perspective, with the references aplenty and the clothes streamlined in vision like never before.
Entering the Olympia, Kensington, attendees were organised into lines, shuffling through the festival inspired security checks – it seems fashion as entertainment has been sustained from the SS22 collections, where Balmain hosted a festival and Balenciaga screened a Simpsons takeover.
Before taking our seats, heavy black curtains were lifted to reveal an exhibition of Kim Jones’ ceaseless imagination and inspiration for the Autumn Winter 2022 show – the author Jack Kerouac.
It quickly transpired that Kim Jones was a not just a fan but a devotee with a museum-worthy collection of rare Kerouac first editions and memorabilia that I doubt any of the guests were able to devour in one sitting.
Spotlighting Kerouac’s second novel, On The Road, the groundbreaking beat generation masterpiece of 1957 (the same year Dior died), displayed were a variety of artefacts that educated on the literary movement, ranging from a Kerouac book signed by Kate Moss to the first pressing of the Velvet Underground’s debut album, with cover artwork by Andy Warhol, each interlinked with the Beat generation in some way.
Through another set of heavy black curtains we then were led, to discover the stadium sized Olympia venue, reconceptualised with rows and rows of seating for the hoards of eager fashion lovers, ranging from CSM graduates to past Glass Man cover star Paapa Essiedu to every London editor you can name.
Jack Kerouac purportedly wrote his novel On the Road in three weeks on a 36-metre long roll of paper, so naturally, in characteristically dutiful fashion, Jones recreated this for the runway in an XXL version, which slowly unravelled to consume the entire runway as the guests hushed and the lights dimmed.
What followed was a mastery of craftsmanship and an exquisite display of the Dior atelier’s expertise. In a reflection of the rebellious ’50s Americana of the Beat Generation, bias-cut checked tweed jackets, ankle grazers, patent derbies and tie pins decorated the collection. Shearling aviator jackets, baseball jackets and motorcycle leathers furthered the American flavour.
Imbuing a modern sensibility into design, Fair Isle jumpers and beanies glittered under the light with overlays of transparent paillettes (see the savoir faire imagery below), trend coats were hybridized with backpacks and blazers featured secondary blazers tied in origami precision on the back.
Prints that feature on the cover of Kerouac’s novel Visions of Cody, as well as prints of Kerouac himself, are incorporated onto t-shirts, into knit, and on the backs of jackets, gratified and distorted in a contemporary twist.
“The Dior Men’s Fall 2022 show is a hymn to counterculture and its inexhaustible wealth of creativity,” the show notes read. It is evident in every seam.
Immersing us further into the richly illuminating show, as Kim Jones took his bow, heavy black curtains were lifted once more to reveal the afterparty Jones had orchestrated for guests. Concluding the special evening with a performance by the iconic Grace Jones.
by Lily Rimmer