Conceived as a continuation of the conversation that started for winter, of looking at Christian Dior in this 75th anniversary year of the house, here the collection is once more made glorious summer by Kim Jones, the artistic director of men’s collections. We travel in space and time from Paris to the countryside, to Normandy and Granville – Dior’s birthplace and the home of his legendary garden – as well as to Sussex and Charleston, the country residence of the Bloomsbury group artist Duncan Grant.
Once again, personal histories intertwine through the collection, linking the past with the present and the future of the house; from past creative milieus to their influence on present ones.
The changing light and the mutability of the natural environment are reflected in the colour palette of the collection, from the gradation of Dior grays, pinks and pastels, to the utilitarian gardening, walking and fishing, greens and blues. All are employed with a certain well-bred rebellion; an insouciance in clothes and accessories, at once extravagant and practical, formal and informal, that betray a stratification of history but evoke an effortless contemporary existence.
Reclaimed cashmere, double-breasted tailored coats are teamed with tailored shorts in thirties fabrications – with built-in turned-down waistbands – and walking shoes. The new bar jackets continue, made in semi-transparent silk organza, to reveal the strict, traditional masculine construction of the garments underneath; sweeping cotton duster coats are casually slung over tech reflective gilets; Duncan Grant’s lily pond screen (c.1913) punctuates reflective tech fabric and traditional needlepoint; the Dior cannage continues to be used as utilitarian quilting for coats; while Duncan Grant’s sketches are translated as complex yet easeful hand knits.
Smart insouciance together with elegant practicality also produces effortless, everyday luxe in bags and footwear in the collection, belying the complexity of the design process behind both. The atelier together with mystery ranch – a technical, outdoor brand, revered for its work with the rescue services – produces new, practical, compartmentalised saddle bags, rucksacks and belt bags for the collection. The rucksacks, which can be worn with suits, are equipped with detachable waterproof covers and hoods. Embroidered overshoes are paired with Dior carlo derbies.
The new cannage sandals are made in one piece from recycled rubber, while the boots are crafted by assembling two interconnected parts. Each is a feat of technical engineering not usually achieved at a fashion house. Stephen Jones’ inimitable millinery also features high-tech construction with 3d printed ’pergola’ gardening hats layered over baseball caps. The design is one based on the straw gardening hat Duncan Grant wore throughout his life to paint in, combined with the trellis-work of the pergola in monsieur Dior’s garden.