Kim Jones is one of fashion’s great showmen, possessing both an impeccable sense of timing and an uncanny flair for the dramatic. On Friday, in Paris, both were on display as Jones presented multiple Dior Men’s Fall/Winter 2024 collections.
The invitation featured a black and white photograph of a rearview mirror, with only a fraction of a face visible. Outside École Militaire, where a monumental grey structure had been erected bearing the Maison’s wordmark, the fashion director Bruce Pask ventured a tentative guess as to what the invitation augured — and who it depicted: “Nureyev?”
Pask was correct.
In each seat, guests found a beautiful book, with said photo on the cover and, underneath, two names: Rudolf Nureyev and Colin Jones. Jones was the artistic director’s uncle, a former ballet dancer and photographer, who befriended Nureyev, a Soviet dancer who became the first artist to defect from the Soviet Union (in Paris, no less) before becoming, among other things, the principal dancer of the Royal Ballet.
Nureyev was renowned for his theatricality, a trait which Jones also possesses in spades. The show was backed by Roméo and Juliette Suite No. 2 Op. 64B, as revisited by Max Richter, which gave it a grave yet grandiose air. And, speaking of grandiosity, Jones was quite precise that he was not presenting one collection, but two: one ready-to-wear and, for the first time this season, couture for men.
For a few years now it’s been said that Kim Jones’ Dior is the closest there is to men’s couture, when considering the savoir-faire and intricate manual work required to create some of the garments. Perhaps Jones heard those murmurs and decided to formalize it. The couture collection reflected the extravagance of Nureyev’s flamboyant stage presence and his private passion for collecting rare textiles. Jones has used the couture collection to reimagine some of Nureyev’s own garments — like a kimono which took 10 people 3 months to make and features prestigious hikihaku weaving — as well as some of Dior’s archival embroideries, like that of the Debussy dress, which was created by Christian Dior for the ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn, and has been given a masculine overhaul for Fall/Winter 2024.
The ready-to-wear collection, for its part, is rooted in Jones’ sartorial language: transposing his own classic, the double-breasted and extended Oblique, onto a Dior classic, the Bar jacket, to create a new menswear icon. Single-breasted suits had an effortless confidence to them, coming with sharply tailored trousers that sat higher up on the waist. The colour palette, too, was rich and warm, with eye-catching pops reserved for accessories. The footwear featured menswear’s reaction to the ballet flat — again, an impeccable bit of timing on Jones’ part.
There was an undeniable emphasis on volumes, pleats, necklines and vents, which, when mixed and matched in true Jones fashion, made the layering even more interesting and, frankly, natural. This was a collection that felt lived in — even the couture pieces — because it was inspired by someone who moved in their clothes. To that end, there were zipped wool jumpsuits and second-skin ribbed knits; the kinds of things you could imagine Nureyev dancing in.
The show ended with the models forming two concentric circles, the innermost one rising and then slowly falling, as Jones took a lap around the showspace, to applause from guests that included Pharrell, Kate Moss, Pusha T, and Lewis Hamilton.
As the models exited the show space, there was a feeling that Kim Jones — with the music and the clothes and colour palette — had wanted to give us something important and timeless. So much so, there were whispers that this show, with its operatic aura, had the makings of a curtain call.
But this is Kim Jones after all: infusing presentations with theatricality is his norm. So, rather than read the leaves, perhaps it’s best to just enjoy the clothes.