Dior Homme Pre-Fall 2022 – WWD

Kim Jones brought an American spirit of freedom, the rebellious energy of youth culture – and the British knack for offbeat fashion – to the Dior menswear show at Kensington Olympia, west London on Thursday night.

It was the first time since 2003 that Jones had shown a show in his home country, and he’s come back in force. It showcased an eclectic pre-fall collection, followed by a big champagne party, topped off with a surprise performance by Grace Jones.

Its pre-fall 2022 range, full of color and optimism, is inspired by the Dior archives, the Americana of the 1950s, vintage book covers by Jack Kerouac and the creative mavericks of the Beat Generation.

The display case also included a museum-quality display of his private collection of rare books, manuscripts and personal letters from Jack Kerouac and the author’s friends, family and colleagues.

After walking through the exhibit into the cavernous venue, guests were led onto the catwalk space which featured a vast array of shows inspired by the 120-foot parchment Kerouac used to write “On the Road”.

As the lights came on, the parchment – covered in Kerouac’s typed words – unrolled on the trail. A recording of Robert Pattinson reciting lines from Kerouac’s works was also incorporated into the show’s soundtrack.

“He wrote on parchment so he never had to stop to turn a page and interrupt his spontaneity and flow,” Kerouac’s nephew Jim Sampas, executor of Jack Kerouac’s estate, said during a guided tour of the exhibition. before the show.

Sampas added that although the estate has previously worked with artists and musicians such as Patti Smith, Pearl Jam and John Cale, this was the first time they had worked with a fashion designer.

“I was devastated. He comes from such a different world, ”said Sampas, adding that Jones has one of the largest private collections of Kerouac’s work, alongside artist Richard Prince.

While Jones may have been inspired by Kerouac and the Beat Generation, he was happy to be back on the UK turf, at least for now.

“It’s weird being able to come home at the end of the day,” Jones, who lives between London and Paris, said during a preview.

He’s been in town for a few weeks. After attending the Fashion Awards 2021, where he was named Designer of the Year, Jones spent much of his time putting the finishing touches on the pre-fall collection from the basement of Victoria House in Bloomsbury, illuminating the historic building with techno music. , rows of Saddle bags and many Fair Isle knits embroidered with sequins.

His idea was to create the kind of clothes “you find in a travel suitcase” and to put them casually on the road. The Beat writers and their travels on the left bank of Paris in the 1950s were his main reference.

“They would wake up with hangovers and all kinds of things. So we were thinking about this idea of ​​living in a suitcase and just taking things out, mixing things up that don’t really fit, ”Jones said.

He paired formal bespoke jackets with technical nylon shorts and added a healthy dose of vintage washed denim and leather to the range, reminiscent of Kerouac’s great American trip to the 1940s, just after the end of Seconde. World War.

A hand-painted leather jacket and trench coats worn as backpacks were among the highlights.

“The modern Americana was what they wore, and that also has to do with what was happening in Paris, the way kids dressed in Paris in the 50s and 60s.

“It was also the moment when [the house of] Dior moved on to Yves Saint Laurent, who was also involved in this fight for youth and rebellion, ”said Jones, who often refers to the styles of Saint Laurent.

1960s silk scarves, heirloom tweeds and archival Fair Isle knits made their way into the collection, and Jones gave them a modern, sportier touch through relaxed silhouettes and abstract photographs taken from the covers of the books from Kerouac’s first edition in Jones’ collection.

Christian Dior’s new look was another defining moment in youth culture for Jones, and while Dior never crossed paths with the Beats, their mutual flair for breaking the rules – and all the ways in which they revolutionized their respective communities – helped make pre-fall story together.

“I like people who change the way other people think, I can go from Bloomsbury Group to Beats to punk, but it’s always about people who change the world and are an integral part of the culture of young, ”added the designer, who has been obsessively collecting Kerouac’s work since he visited the Beat Museum in San Francisco as a teenager.

Times have changed dramatically, but according to Jones, the kids who define today’s youth culture are still hungry for storytelling, rebellious fashion and print.

This is why he designed his show as a gargantuan version of Kerouac’s “On the Road” manuscript, and worked with Sammy Jay, antique book dealer Peter Harrington Rare Books, to organize his collection of books, manuscripts and books. memories of Kerouac for the show. .

The exhibition features handwritten letters from Kerouac to his mother (asking for money); to a first edition of “On the Road,” and subpoenas summoning Neal Cassady to court in California.

“I wanted to show what goes behind a collection, like we did with the first Fendi show in Paris. No one could come, but there was an exhibit of my old collection of rare copies of Virginia Woolf’s works.

“It’s nice to tell the story and show your whole process. People are genuinely interested in the research and the details. We have a lot of young designers from Central Saint Martins coming to the show, ”Jones added.

“Kids are in print now, a lot of kids are bored of digital and they want to see things in real life, they want to see what’s the next page – not just what they’re looking for on Google. “

In a world where digital currencies and the metaverse are rapidly gaining traction, one would hope Jones is right.

But even if kids don’t go the extra mile to find out more about the collection’s literary references, one thing is certain: they will step out on Instagram from the striking backdrop of the runway and head to Dior stores to shop for the accessories inspired by. Kerouac, from glitter beanies to monogrammed iPhone cases designed to look like classic book holders and the new iteration of the Saddle bag, adorned with climbing cords – which will likely become another testament to Jones’ ability to pull out a blockbuster after the next one.

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