Dior Homme FW23 was a blast from the past. The show opened yesterday in Paris to a crisp anthology of smart tailoring, gentle knits, and draped tulle. Whilst gracefully embracing modern silhouettes and styles, the collection seemed to fall comfortably back into the soft round armchair of an understated upper class. In a throwback to the days of Dior long gone, there’s a subtle reason for the brand’s new aesthetic: the collection was in memory of one of their most understated designers. Join us for a deep-dive into the true inspiration behind the collection.
Inviting only the most exclusive crowd to witness the show, Kim Jones’ audience was filled with familiar faces including Naomi Campbell, David Beckham, Robert Pattinson, Jimin from BTS (the brand’s new global ambassador) and many more. The show opened in an acute darkness, with the audience in tiered rows placed on one side of the runway, in mimicry of a traditional theatre.
Ears pricked to the sounds of voices filling the showspace, which slowly were acknowledged to be from speakers reverberating about the room. They began to narrate iconic lines from the opening of T. S. Eliot’s 1922 poem, “The Waste Land”, a poem from Yves Saint Laurent’s time. Said speakers were later revealed to be Robert Pattinson and Gwendoline Christie.
Kim Jones made a comment on the collection and his inspiration, stating that: “we wanted to look at the regeneration of the house after the death of Mr. Dior, and its rejuvenation with Yves Saint Laurent – his chosen heir – drawing a parallel in literature, through imagery and themes in the wasteland. It’s where an old world meets a new one, in change and in flux.”
Back in 1954, Yves Saint Laurent began studying couture under Christian Dior at age only 18, and quickly learnt he had a skill for luxury fashion design. He developed a skillful mimicry of Dior’s a-line designs and managed to win over critics by showcasing his design’s likeness, particularly after Dior passed when Saint Laurent was 21. He came to be revered at Dior for his stylistic takes on the brand’s iconic silhouette, famously known as the youngest couturier.
The collection was actually inspired by the designer’s Spring Summer 1958 collection from his time at Dior. Having worked alongside Christian Dior himself, Saint Laurent’s designs were renowned for ditching the stuffy bourgeois aesthetic of the time and instead placing a priority on style. Although the house eventually fired him in 1960, with hindsight they obviously want him back.
As the words, “April is the cruellest month…” echoed about the room, models stepped onto the runway filling the room with a spectrum of soft creams and icy blues. The first look was an oversized beige set, draped casually over a mesh tank-top, and appearing as comfortable as a warm blanket. This was shortly followed by a diamond encrusted jacket in a similar soft beige, and speckled suit-style skirt over chunky brown boots – which were later revealed to have been 3D printed.
This trend of delicately draped pieces in the most irresistible fabrics continued throughout the collection, traversing deep browns, smart blues, and bright yellows amidst the cream. Yves Saint Laurent’s collection in 1958, named “L’Eléphant Blanc” aka white elephant, similarly utilised a pale colour palette to showcase the technical skill of his collection. Whilst he showed his mastery of the Dior a-line, he also subverted the silhouette, pulling it into a then modern contact.
Kim Jones’ reimagining of Yves Saint Laurent’s groundbreaking designs, transported into a modern context, were as new as they were classic. Blending aesthetics from contemporary fashion with styles from over fifty years ago is no simple feat, but one that Dior Homme FW23 undeniably achieved earlier today. The whole collection was an ode to luxury, and thus an ode to one of the iconic designers who shaped luxury at Dior.
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