Kim Jones is the talk of the town. His hotly-anticipated Fendi couture debut may arrive later this week, but it was his Dior Men's A/W 21 show which got people talking first. Jones is credited with making the savoir-faire of the French house relevant to a younger audience; he has a unique ability to modernise house codes with their polar opposites. Dior is case in point, where Jones has made the storied hands of the couture atelier work in harmony with those of a new generation. This A/W 21 season Jones looked towards ceremonial menswear throughout history, celebrating couture for a new man's world.
Unveiled to a digital audience, Jones took the men's doublet and tail-coats worn by artists inducted into the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris as his starting point (Dior frequently create designs for the establishment), whilst also looking at a braided jacket from his 2002 graduate collection. Embellishing trims and adding buttons finished with stars, (others were inspired by Dior 1947 Bar Jacket), Jones showed his knack for make the past relevant to the present. Models padded along the carpeted runway like little princes or courtiers, with the shimmering trims of their coats peaking out from under yellow and orange anoraks which were finished with zips and Yoon Ahn's pretty spectacular costume jewellery - see the artillery broach. Looks were also finished with Stephen Jones's crochet skull caps, berets, bowler hats and riding boot-esque shoes. And that wasn't all - this is Kim Jones after all. Peppered throughout was a collaboration with the Scottish artist Peter Doig. The midnight blue set designed by Doig came complete with stars which looked down on four gargantuan speakers, nodding to the London club scene from which Jones and Doig both hold dear.
Together with Jones's sharp eye for modern construction and silhouette, the collaboration with Doig allowed for the designer to avoid the pit-fall of veering on the side of period drama rather than modern man. From the opening looks in navy and black, to the burgundy, oyster, and dusky Dior blue shades that followed, Jones took his palette directly from Doig's work, carefully matching colours to the artist's paint pigments. Neon yellows, tangerine oranges and greens brought a welcome release to the otherwise reasonably muted collection; the mohair knits were particularly successful in recreating Doig's brushstrokes. Meanwhile a new camoflage print brought the military roots of the doublet jacket firmly into the present day, and Doig's atmospheric paintings made their way onto screen-printed coats and intarsia knits. Long live the Dior Prince!