Dior’s designer Kim Jones harbours an extraordinary fascination for iconic poetry, in particular, modernism, and all the artsy sensibility his world harmonises. For Fall 2023, the first hint of this was the invitation to his men’s runway. It was, simply, an off-white squared paper.
Not just any paper, but decked in typographic regalia, presumably epitomising a white page from one of the literature pieces he gained inspiration for his latest menswear outing. Accordingly, such was the case in point: the collection was partly inspired by TS Eliot’s 1922 poem “The Waste Land”—a five-section piece written after a nervous breakdown, musing on life’s hollowness post-first world war, which was inclined to cherish the house’s renewal after the passing of Mr Dior, its revival thanks to Yves Saint Laurent, and sent forth brilliant takes on tailored volume.
Next came the clothes. Just like literature, Jones, who has helmed the house for nearly five years, has always had a vision to create something new with the patina of the old. It takes skill though to conceive garments that are characterised by the same obsessive attention to detail that infuses the making of a poem. Fashion-wise, that translated into breezy blazers, slouchy pants pooling out from cropped toppers and sartorial separates that levelled-up Jones’ style vocabulary. His menswear has won fans at the most rarefied levels—this collection follows a December show at the pyramids in Egypt, which saw Jones partnering with Supreme designer Tremaine Emory and his brand Denim Tears.
The relentless pursuit of the youthful clientele has become an utter obsession for global retailers, but few designers understand how to connect the dots like Jones. Social media analytics can narrow the frame, but not the full picture. Which is why, as trends are running through an increasingly fluid seam, today’s socially-conscious and conformity-rejecting kids prefer something for every occasion than mere polished glamour. This was a classic, elegant collection that perfectly suited a lighthearted mood. Jones’ modern, buoyant Fall lineup showed his clever hand with tricky elements. There were delightfully unforeseen textural combinations (a spiky, see-through sweatshirt trimmed with black cotton, teamed with a fisher’s hat and oversize outwear) and intense, bold fabrics layered with lighter knitwear.
The designer wisely kept silhouettes simple and fuss-free, occasionally adding some giant volumes for a bit of whimsy. That’s the secret to Jones’ success: a sense of play that came through the poised beauty of the garments, a trademark at the French maison, which spanned from boxy and stretched to airy. Aptly, his Fall lineup was wide-ranging. There were longline suits, shorts flared to the knee, fitted knits and large outerwear topped by subdued fabrics that put the spotlight on Jones’ keen sense of timelessness, amid the frenzy pace of hype’s pendulum that has swung, rather ferociously, back and forth in recent times. But back to the clothes: it’s hard not to give full points to the designer’s zany taste in cinched waist lines (devotees will recognise some of them from past seasons). The literature inspiration was clever, and the show’s slow-yet-potent energy, which further elevated the “gravitas” of the clothing, was an element good enough to make us want to keep turning the pages of Eliot’s poem. This time, with a sophisticated finishing line that brought poignant beauty to the chapter of this story: a chapter that solely reads à là Jones.
Head below to see the collection for yourself, right now…