The Hypermodern Reality of Japanese Culture by Kim Jones for Dior Men’s Pre-Fall 2019 Collection
The House of Dior recalls on the history of its relationship with Japan through its Tokyo Pre-Fall 2019 Men’s Ready-To-Wear collection.
For years, Dior has been building a deep and meaningful history in Japan. The country’s culture of fashion has fascinated and set as an inspiration for Christian Dior. Both steeped in tradition and constantly looking forward, the paradox of contemporary Japan mirrors the identity of an haute couture in the twenty-first century. It is an evidence on Christian Dior’s haute couture collections which have consistently been influenced by Asia in general, but Japan most specifically. Wide sashed draped and knotted life an Obi, garments subtly crossing and gently holding the body, the soft line of a seamless shoulder, draped like kimono, all are delicate gestures drawn from traditional Japanese dress, present in Christian Dior’s collections and reiterated throughout his career.
Inspired with such connection, Kim Jones draws on the hypermodern reality of Japanese culture today. He explored the modern actuality of the country, referencing both the country’s storied past and its –often-imagined future. This creates a collection which resonates a mutual symbiosis between the traditional and the new, merging couture methodology with cutting-edge technology to make a fresh hybrid.
Tailoring is streamlined and utilitarian, drawing on the idea of uniforms but eschewing uniformity. A trio of essential Dior elements – houndstooth tweed, the colour pink and the panthère print – are expounded, each manipulated and rediscovered. Panthère is water colored; houndstooth tweed is specially-woven to appear distressed and age-worn, evocative of an imagined heritage; and Dior’s signature rose intensifies to the sakura-pink shade of Japanese cherry blossom. It is combined with an entire palette of the pearl greys synonymous with Dior.
Kim Jones continues in a quest to draw constant inspiration from the life of Christian Dior himself, reflecting the intimacy central to haute couture’s enduring appeal. A silk tie, worn by Monsieur Dior and featuring an abstract pattern of quatrefoil flowers, forms the architecture of a new print. Haute couture savoir-faire, integral to the house’s identity, results in treatments that magically meld together furs and laces, and the diagonal line of the Dior men’s tailleur oblique is revisited here, and newly explored in coats and knitwear. Like Monsieur Dior’s designs, this collection investigates a conversation between western traditions of tailoring and the Japanese kimono, sensuously wrapping the body in cloth.
Alongside the old, the new. Fabrics are treated with a technologically-advanced metallization technique, applied to entire items of clothing. This results in furs and leathers that glimmer like an automaton in iridescent blue and silver, while metallic-printed calfskin is laser-etched to give it the supple fluidity of silk. Cannage patterns are laser-cut into rubber and leathers, the patterns bonded to denim.
Accessories toy with kawaii notions of scale, dinkily undersized or blown-up and hanging with additional pockets like charms. The Dior ‘street chic’ accessories line of 2002, featuring external pocket components which can be added and subtracted from bags, is revived. It is both stylish and utilitarian, functional, allowing endless innovation and customization that influences other approaches, with a miscellany of variants on Kim Jones’ revitalized men’s saddle bag, designed to be worn in multiples. These accessories combine nylons with leathers, as well as the signature Dior oblique canvas. Shoes are vacuum-formed, modernist, tipped in rubber and subject to the same innovative metallization treatments as the clothes, formal shoes and combat boots gave the high-performance dynamism of sneakers.
Inspired by Christian Dior’s nascent career as a gallerist in the 1920s, Kim Jones curates a new collaboration between the house of Dior and a boundary-redefining artist, intrinsically tied to the cultural landscape of Japan. A selection of pieces in the show has been created with Japanese contemporary artist Hajime Sorayama.
Sorayama has also devised the show décor – the centrepiece of which is an idealized female figure, a monolith echoing monsieur Dior’s own constant celebration and deification of the female form divine. Sorayama’s artwork, featuring his signature futuristic organic-robotic gynoids alongside Japanese-inspired foliage, are used to decorate a series of separates in silver mylar, as the foundation of a new embroidered lace, and also a collection of accessories combining his imagery with the ‘Dior oblique’ canvas in contrasts of inky midnight blue and sakura-pink. Sorayama has also reinterpreted the Dior logotype – two signatures, meeting – and his humanoid and animal automata become charms and pendants.
Outside of the collaboration, the optimistic futurism of Sorayama’s oeuvre inspires the whole collection, in treatments, approaches, creativity. An android sheen is approximated through gloss and lamé fabrics, but also pure metal. The prominence of jewellery is naturally heightened: substantial, industrial-inspired chains, designed by Yoon Ahn includes nods to the robotic through nuts and bolts, and Sorayama’s Dior insignia is transformed into necklaces, rings and brooches. The most extreme examples of metalization blur the line between Bijoux and garment: there are glistening steel caps created by milliner Stephen Jones, and a new interpretation of Dior’s emblematic saddle bag, now entirely in polished metal. A limited-edition collector’s piece, a masculine minaudière – this is fashion as objet d’art.
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