PARIS — Four years after his game-changing collaboration with Supreme at Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones is once more breaking new floor by instigating the primary co-branded ready-to-wear and equipment assortment for Dior.
The males’s inventive director tapped Sacai designer Chitose Abe to work on a capsule line of 57 gadgets that can bear a brand fusing the identities of each labels, with the Sacai title written contained in the “i” in Dior — a primary for the French style home. The assortment, dropping in November, is bound to be some of the anticipated this yr.
Billed as “a creative conversation between two designers, two heritages and two cultures,” it leverages the Japanese model’s signature hybrid constructions to mix Dior tailoring with Sacai’s sportswear hallmarks — as evidenced by a go well with jacket spliced with a bomber type, and Saddle baggage comprised of technical materials.
“Sacai is one of my first stops when I go to Japan,” Jones stated in a phone interview from London. “I’ve always loved [Chitose Abe] and I just think she’s one of the coolest women in the world. And we talked about doing this since I was at Vuitton, and then finally it happened.”
Abe is a part of a free collective that features Jones, Virgil Abloh, Matthew Williams and Yoon Ahn who’re liable for reworking streetwear right into a luxurious class. The two have been mates for 15 years.
“When he’s in Tokyo, he often comes to our showroom and we just chat for a long time, relaxing, just talking about which kinds of stores he should go to, which kind of vintage store is good in Tokyo. That’s the most fun part of when he stops by Sacai,” Abe stated through Zoom from Tokyo.
With the coronavirus pandemic slowing worldwide journey to a trickle, the globe-trotting Jones has been grounded in London. He estimated he and his crew have designed 20 collections for Dior to date this yr, together with capsule strains, and one other eight for Fendi, the place he took over as inventive director of high fashion, rtw and fur collections for girls final fall.
“I love Japan. I haven’t been for over a year now, which is the longest in 20 years I haven’t been. I normally go at least six times a year. I always work on things that I miss doing in real life and seeing,” he stated. “It’s just a really key mix between what Dior and Sacai is, and it was a way of having a conversation through the pandemic.”
Both Abe and Jones are serial collaborators. Sacai has partnered with manufacturers starting from sportswear behemoth Nike to rising designers like Tomo Koizumi, however Abe stated it was essential that the stability of energy must be equitable.
“Whenever I decide to do a collaboration, it always needs to be equal between the two parties. This is very important for me. Neither one should be considered better or have more power in the project. Since I’ve been friends with Kim for a long time, I very much enjoyed working with him from the start,” she stated.
“Dior is a very respected heritage brand which I’ve admired ever since I decided to become a designer, so it’s a huge honor. It’s also a brand that has historically demonstrated the importance of innovation, but I’m sure that for a maison like this, the decision to add another brand name to its own is not taken lightly. Doing so shows that it is committed to always being innovative and challenging,” she added.
Jones helped ignite the luxurious streetwear phenomenon with the landmark 2017 collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme, the cult New York skatewear model, and a set with Japanese label Fragment Design that drew lengthy strains in Tokyo. In addition, he has designed for manufacturers together with Nike, Converse and Umbro.
The designer has additionally nurtured the thriving relationship between style and artwork via rotating seasonal tie-ups with artists like Kaws, Daniel Arsham, Kenny Scharf and Peter Doig — an method that Jones ties to founder Christian Dior’s early profession as a gallerist.
“I think you learn different things, working with different people. That only strengthens fashion, in a way. I don’t really care about my name attached to anything, because otherwise I would have my own label,” he stated, dismissing critics.
“Every collection in the world has graphics in it. Why not use an artist that you admire to do those graphics with, and then you work in a different way? Peter Doig was with us in every single meeting and fitting that we did, and he became a member of the studio,” he stated. “I think people should, instead of sitting in front of a computer criticizing, actually do some work and learn things.”
He solely works with individuals he feels naturally drawn to. “Otherwise, it’s not real, and I think people can smell that a mile away and don’t like it. I think everything we do, we do with people that we know as friends first, and then work with after,” he stated.
The logistics of those collaborations have develop into a bit more difficult throughout the pandemic, however the gestation of the capsule assortment with Sacai was surprisingly hands-on nonetheless.
“We had a set of samples that went back and forth, and then got amended by each house each time they were fitted,” Jones defined. “Because you can’t make clothes by Zoom. It just isn’t possible. When they’re from an expensive brand, it just doesn’t work.”
As the prototypes shuttled between London, Paris and Tokyo, some clear codes emerged: overcoats and the Oblique go well with had been mixed with sporty materials drawn from the Sacai universe, whereas Dior’s signature floral decorations merged right into a cable-knit motif on an outsized cream sweater. Drawstrings and zippers seem as ornamental parts on gadgets like a Japanese denim workwear jacket.
In complete, there are 38 items of rtw in a monochrome palette of black, darkish navy, white and cream. The assortment contains 10 Saddle baggage, together with a model in olive nylon and leather-based, with utilitarian particulars like orange buckles and a zippered pocket, impressed by the MA-1 pilot flight jacket that’s one other Sacai staple.
“Obviously, I have a lot of respect for the Saddle bag, which is one of the Dior icons. When Kim first joined Dior, it was the first bag that he gifted me, and I’ve been loving it and using it for a long time,” Abe stated. “We did bring some softness to the bag, using the MA-1 nylon, which is our signature fabric, so we brought an outdoor feel to the bag.”
Jones stated the baggage had been his favourite gadgets. “They’re properly technical and they’re very Japanese-led design, which I don’t think we’d have thought about if we hadn’t spoken to Chitose,” he remarked.
Abe added a few additional soles to the Dior Snow and Dior Explorer boots, and created jewellery mixing the CD brand in gold- and silver-finish brass with Sacai’s trademark pearls. “The whole collection is very much a hybrid of Dior and Sacai: Dior’s tailoring and the techniques, plus our details, like for example the denim shirt with the drawstring,” she famous.
“It’s very innovative and groundbreaking of Dior to have a project like this with Sacai. I’m very happy, and I feel that this groundbreaking philosophy is something that is shared not just between Kim and I, but also between Dior and Sacai. It was a wonderful challenge,” Abe added.
The retail rollout of the gathering has but to be labored out, particularly since journey restrictions are nonetheless in place in some areas, though Abe hopes to be in Paris in early July for the presentation of her eagerly awaited one-off couture assortment for Jean Paul Gaultier, twice delayed due to the pandemic.
“It’s a very challenging time, still, even in Japan. But we are starting to travel again and working on some retail projects. I am always moving forward, even if it means that it needs to be taken step by step,” she stated.
Jones, nevertheless, was cautious in regards to the prospect of returning to Japan. “Asia isn’t really opening up very fast compared to the rest of the world,” he stated. “We’re talking about things going back to normal, but the one part of the world that I love, which is Asia and Southeast Asia, I don’t think we’ll be going back to anytime soon.”
He stated the Sacai capsule line can be priced barely above Dior’s important assortment, and was assured it would generate buzz. “I think it’s going to be a bit of a surprise for people. I mean, Sacai collaborates with lots of people, because they’re very good at bringing their name to people, but I think to work with us is an exciting thing,” he stated.
Asked whether or not it was the beginning of a brand new cycle of co-branded clothes collaborations at Dior, after partnerships with Rimowa on baggage and Jordan Brand on sneakers, the designer demurred.
“This is the last of the series. When I did Supreme and Fragment at Vuitton, there were [four] more people on that list. One was Virgil, one was Matthew, one was Yoon and one was Sacai, and I’ve worked with all of them now, so it’s a personal thing. It was about working with all the people I love and my peers. It was less about which house it was applied to,” he stated.
As Dior places the ending touches on its historic headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne, below renovation since 2019, he sees his mission as ensuring the model doesn’t stand nonetheless.
“I’m sure Christian Dior would be doing these things. When I went round the maison that they’re restoring inside, I was thinking, ‘I wonder what he would think about this?’ But he’d probably be delighted to see it coming into the 21st century and being a super successful brand. And to be super successful, you have to adapt. I mean, they’re the only brands that are still around on a big level,” he reasoned.
“Christian Dior would definitely want to be up with the modern world. I don’t think he’d want to be lagging behind,” Jones stated.
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