Dior Men Pre-Fall 2023 Menswear. In the middle-distance, a long line of men began to trek over a desert bluff, with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World as their backdrop. Darkness had fallen. The desert wind cooperated by whipping up their pale, trailing chiffon scarves, asymmetrical capes, and half-kilts as they marched up the incline.
There were, significantly, 75 of them. Clad in clothes which felt coolly, elegantly avant-garde, sensibly utilitarian, and molten-hot accessory-wise, each model embodied Kim Jones’s multiply-coded, yet highly salable method of menswear design for Dior Men. He calculates the significance of everything, all of the time. There were 75 models, because that’s the number of years since the great couturier founded his house in Paris in 1947.
A deep intake of breath on the grandeur of the occasion. It’s mad to think about the normalization of the phenomenon of the luxury fashion traveling show. The escalation of prestige-destination competition that’s been taking place this year, right into December, may be seen to have been ‘won’ (at least for today) by Kim Jones. Bagging Egypt, ancient and modern, was quite a diplomatic flourish.
On this auspicious night, Jones wisely chose to sidestep any obvious reference to Pharoahs or Egyptian archaeology. Instead, he was talking about how he was looking upwards to the sky for various star-related references. “Really, I was looking at two things. The ancient Egyptians were obsessed by astronomy, and Monsieur Dior was obsessed by stars and astrology. And,” he added, “when I go into the desert, I look at the sky.”
From there, he’d stirred in elements of retro-futurism and up-to-date science interests into a kind of ‘elevation’ of his own. “I’ve always loved Dune, which was really the first of sci-fi. And we’ve worked with NASA on some of the more technical prints.” There were desert boots with 3-D printed foot-guards that looked as if they’d manifested from a computer game. A couple of multimedia helmets with tinted visors looked as if they’d been constructed with future Space X travel to Mars in mind. All the leggings he showed might theoretically complete the kit.
But with Kim Jones, designing for Dior Men is close to playing fashion 3-D chess. Somehow, Christian, the long-departed couturier, is ever-present. Archaeological research in the archive uncovered the fact that a dress named ‘Cairo’ swished through the haute couture salon in the 1947 New Look collection which made Christian Dior’s name. It wasn’t just a folly whim on Dior’s part—soon after, 10 Egyptian companies gained permission to distribute his designs, helping to fuel the explosive business growth of the company in the 1950s.
In any case, Jones has been intent on infusing his menswear with ideas from Dior’s women’s archive for a good while now. There’s an obvious transfer from Dior’s famous petalled ballgown ‘Junon’ into a couple of beaded-edge embroidered vests. Less obvious, but very chic, are all of Jones’s transferences from Dior’s signature dove-gray tailoring. All the gray half-kilts he showed are bias-cut, worn over narrow tailored trousers. Was there something very slightly ancient Egyptian about them? A bit punk? Who cares? Jones’s ability to play intelligibly and broadly to modern global sensibilities skillfully maneuvers away from committing any obvious cultural ‘quote.’