There is an unstated battle each season among big-time fashion brands to stage the biggest, most telling, most talked about show in Paris and Milan. This season that prize will definitely go to Dior and its menswear creative director Kim Jones, with a collection laced with Yves Saint Laurent references.
Entering the Dior show, felt almost like getting into Fort Knox, so huge were the numbers of screaming and keening fans outside the venue. It looked monumental – a ginormous dark gray box custom built on Place de la Concorde, at the entrance to the Tuileries.
In a sense this Dior production was relatively simple. A cast marching before a series of giant projections of themselves and two narrators. But the execution was so perfect it took this show to another level.
An intense flurry of K-Pop stars, heavily made-up pop singers and Thai influence peddlers – for that is their true profession – taking their seats to the beautiful pre-show music my Max Richter. Late arriving, Thailand’s Mile Phakphum, who also won the prize for the largest teeny-bopper scream fit of the season.
Plenty of paparazzi attention paid to thespians Robert Pattison and Gwendoline Christie.
Before Pattison and Christie then suddenly appeared as giants on the 80 by 15-meter wall. The pair poetically debating romance and angst in a series of crisply shot videos – apt enough giving Saint Laurent was said to have been born with a nervous breakdown. Yves only spent a couple of years at Dior, before a breakdown led to his dismissal, but his ideas permeated this first-rate collection.
Yves’ love of polka dot reappearing in chunky sweaters. While his grand dame A Line coats were resurrected with sublime fine wool A-Line gents coats in Dior’s classic light gray.
As was Yves’ weakness for a trench. Saint Laurent also always loved a big cat print, and one look managed to combine both faux fur leopard peeking out from the slashed seams of a deconstructed trench coat.
However, the great hefty Wellington boot with knee length shorts and roomy coats were all Kim, and all looked great. Jones also cut a new soft shouldered jacket with subtly displaced seams to add allure, and a pinned up at the neck tuxedo look which thousands of guys will want to get their hands on.
Kim’s biggest trick was getting rid of side seams, so shirts and tops magically appeared – especially with a great cut out Aran sweater worn with.
According to his company release, Kim designed the show to be “an odyssey in motion” through which he “explores the theme of regeneration, with silhouettes merging the conventions of masculine elegance and couture, while transcending the boundaries of time.”
Which sounds like a line out of Pseuds’ Corner in Private Eye, and about the only thing off with this phenomenally effective show. Backed up by a live orchestra, and with a gang of Arnault boys and papa Bernard sitting front-row, this felt like a true fashion moment, winning Kim the biggest cheer of the international menswear season.
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