As in an established hallmark by now, Kim Jones’ latest Dior Men outing is marked by a partnership with a prominent contemporary artist. For Fall 2021, he looked to the works of Kenny Scharf. The American artist’s vivid, almost-psychedelic paintings brought a new dimension to silhouettes and styles that Jones have turned into a signature of his Dior tenure—the elevated sportswear, the sensuous tailoring, and the effortless, seamless blend of the two.
This time around though, the prints were a little denser, the sheen of glamour a little slicker—the better to pop on a screen, as most fashion shows are consumed now (although this latest extravaganza was also staged as a physical happening in Beijing). As befits its starting point, the collection had a feeling of ‘80s electricity and liberation—encapsulated by Jones’ blend of the hyperreal with the cartoonish, and the futuristic with the classic.
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The freewheeling energy of New York and London in that era came through in the collection’s experimental styling and its commitment to a fashion-forward look, but it was also tempered by Jones’ calculated eye towards commercial merchandising. The result was a distinctive aesthetic that was pure Jones but one that would also yield surefire hits at retail.
Elsewhere, newness came in the form of a more body-conscious sensibility as well as a swing towards a look that was less street and more couture, but jolted with a heavy dose of club-kid, art-punk subversion. The collection also nodded to our current moment’s penchant for fluidity, individuality and, in his casting choices, inclusivity.