LVMH zillionaire Bernard Arnault always did like a big show, and he certainly got one this season from Kim Jones, when the entire cast emerged on individual vertical platform lifts from a pale gray aluminum runway.
That won the designer a huge opening cheer, even before any model had actually started walking. Applause in which Arnualt, wife, daughter and two sons joined enthusiastically. The show marked Kim Jones’ fifth anniversary at Dior, a long reign these days, and one marked by multiple triumphant shows and impressive rises in revenues. In effect, UK born Jones has been the most influential British designer anywhere in fashion this past decade.
Inside a packed Dior pale gray tent at the back of the Ecole Militaire, with hundreds standing at the back along each side, the show kicked off with the mighty chords and vocals of Primal Scream’s Higher Than the Sun.
There was much to admire in this Spring/Summer 2024, which riffed on several of Jones’ predecessors, albeit all them from Dior’s women’s department, none from menswear. Led by Kim’s new poetic suit, cut with wide pants above the ankle, and worn with some very natty matching double-breasted blazers, or patch-pocket two-buttons.
Kim also sent the famed Dior atelier into overdrive with lots of delicate embellishments – jade seemingly dusted over lime green cashmere cardigans, sequins sprinkled over grandpa’ striped shirts, or pearls dripping from pink cotton lattice knits. Looks Gianfranco Ferré – whose shows for Dior probably barely 5% of the audience ever witnessed – would have loved.
A sudden series of monocolor A-line trench-coats were fantastic, and a reference to an Yves Saint Laurent silhouette. A look accentuated by psychedelic striped wool beanies by Kim’s old cohort Stephen Jones. No wonder the program notes read of a meeting between New Look and New Wave.
Once again at an LVMH show the front-row was packed with designers – Stefano Pilati, Jeremy Scott, Chitose Abe and Pharrell Williams. Karl Lagerfeld’s iron rule of never inviting other designers to any of his shows has very much been forgotten by the new generation. Whom, in the era of inclusivity, almost compete to see who has the most designers at their shows.
Alongside the creators, sat a rat pack of Asian pop stars. The latter causing small eruptions of screaming and hysteria among several thousand fans outside waiting in the Friday afternoon sun. Even if most of the audience inside would need Google to work out who any of them were.
In terms of fabrics, this was a somewhat strange collection, including what looked like many bouclé wool and tweed fabrics. Materials that traditionally spell the word Chanel and not Christian. Adding to that impression was the presence of Baptiste Giabiconi, Karl’s fetish model, at the front row and backstage.
Sweeping wrap coats, suits, tunics, wee shorts, handbags all were made in bouclé, albeit often incorporating Dior’s signature cannage grid pattern. Jones even put together a good dozen loafers and brothel creepers in the bouclé, the better for the models to be steady on the platforms.
To immense applause, Jones took his bow, though almost pointedly not looking at the Arnault clan. Perhaps, an unimportant detail or an oversight, but readers of fashion’s tea leaves were already speculating about it.
Back-stage, Louis Vuitton’s Pharrell embraced Kim, bending down on his knees and raising his hands in adulation of his Dior stablemate. But there were no questions permitted backstage with editors or critics. Nor any quotes in the press release. A quiet anniversary indeed.
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