Dior men's spring/summer 2020: Kim Jones' best, from Daniel Arsham’s take on house motifs, to newsprint and Saddle bag revivals

Dior men's spring/summer 2020: Kim Jones' best, from Daniel Arsham’s take on house motifs, to newsprint and Saddle bag revivals

Text: Gordon Ng

Editor: Jolene Khor

Menswear can be a notoriously hard nut to crack, but Kim Jones is proving as artistic director at Dior — as he did at Louis Vuitton before — that his sensibilities are finely attuned to the many facets of today's zeitgeist. Dior Men, as it's now called (perhaps a little more international than 'Homme'), is easily one of the most exciting major brands in Paris now, and it has much to do with Jones' comfortable way of bridging the worlds of streetwear and high fashion, fans young and old, and aesthetics classic and innovative.

His spring/summer 2020 collection was a paean to the passage of time. The idea that details and references from the past — and there's one hell of an archive to mine at Dior — can be re-contextualised and synergised with the present to create something new. Christian Dior is, after all, one of haute couture's most storied houses and designers, and the richness of that history and heritage provides lots of ideas. Here are the details from Dior Men spring/summer 2020 that we love...

Daniel Arsham's "Archaeology of the Present"

Kim Jones recruited the New York artist Daniel Arsham to work on this collection, drawing on similar explorations of past, present, and future in Arsham's own Future Relics series of works. Arsham's contribution was to introduce a calcified and eroded recasting of the world of Dior, found throughout the collection in the accessories — designed by Yoon Ahn of Ambush, then given the Arsham treatment. The set design received as much attention: statues erected in the showspace with quartz crystals growing out of exposed cracks, as well as a recreation of Monsieur Dior's studio, down to fine details like the telephone, clock, and hat stand.

A sprig of lily-of-the-valley, Monsieur Dior's favourite flower, was given the Arsham calcification treatment and recast into a lapel pin.


Dior's collaboration with Rimowa

One of the big surprises of this collection was the unveiling of Dior's tie-up with luxury luggage house, Rimowa. There's a backpack, champagne case, hand case, clutch, and quite naturally a cabin suitcase. What's really cool is that the Dior oblique motif is inscribed directly onto the aluminium casing of the products by anodising processes. This gives it a long-lasting, mega-shine finish that looks simultaneously high-tech and vintage.

Dior and Rimowa collaborated on a series of luggage accessories, implementing the Dior oblique print in a range of shades on the outside — from bright blues, to chromatic blacks and whites — as well as on the insides as a fabric lining.


Kim Jones' new tailoring vocabulary for Dior

When Kim Jones showed his first collection at Dior, one of his fundamental design introductions was the Tailleur Oblique suit jacket. This cut draws its inspiration from the haute couture dresses Monsieur Dior showed in autumn/winter 1950, with a single-button wrapped front closure. It evokes the dual magic of haute couture: of carefully and sculpturally-constructed garments that manage to nevertheless look light, supple, and fluid in the end. Jones has continued this train of thought every season since, and in this collection furthered the volant sashes he first introduced fall 2019 — this time with a dégradé effect to simulate the patina of time.

The Tailleur Oblique, Jones' signature tailoring cut for Dior, furthered the previous winter collection's sash volant treatment. Here, the elegant sashes were integrated into suit jackets as a hybrid sash lapel.


Newsprint 2020

The iconic newsprint — first introduced by John Galliano in the spring 2000 haute couture — was finally appropriated for Dior's menswear. Arsham introduced an ombre fade effect, and the print was executed on the inside of certain pieces in order to give the outside a faded, time-worn effect not unlike faded newspapers.

Dior's famous newsprint received a few modern upgrades in this spring/summer 2020 collection by way of explorations in sheerness, fade, and colour.


Saddle galore

Another piece of Dior's history from the 2000s that's enjoying a comeback is the Saddle bag. The design's been opened up to men now, and there were a host of versions in this collection. Arsham's variant is 3D-printed, with an eroded finish and exposed quartz crystals. Elsewhere in the collection, the saddle shape was referenced as pocket details on jackets and storm-flaps on coats.

This Saddle bag's design was worked on by Daniel Arsham, who made the original prototype in plaster with a blue pigment applied from an angle to create a shadow of colour.