Even before the first model stepped onto the runway, social media was ablaze with chatter about the two key collaborators for Dior Men’s Fall 2020 collection: surfing icon and design legend, Shawn Stussy (in his own personal capacity and not in connection with his eponymous label), for a new ‘Dior’ motif and print; and basketball label, Jordan Brand (as opposed to Nike), for a new Air Jordan 1 sneaker—otherwise known as #AirDior.
By now, artistic director Kim Jones is an expert in fanning the flames of expectation. Famous for causing global pandemonium for his LV x Supreme team up during his Fall 2017 collection for Vuitton, he has continued with creative collaborations since joining Dior in March 2018. For the brand’s first standalone fall show held in Tokyo this time last year, Jones tapped Hajime Sorayama to create a stable of futuristic apparel and accessories (how can we forget that metallic Saddlebag) inflected with the Japanese artist’s signature android aesthetic. It was not only a clever fusion of East meets West, but of craft intersecting with technology, the past by way of the future, and quite arguably Jones’s strongest offering since he took over the reins of the French luxury Maison.
So how did #DiorMiami—that is, Fall 2020—hold up? It was the Prince Harry to the Prince William that was the #DiorTokyo Fall 2019 collection. Light rather than dark, fun rather than serious, a psychedelic joyride of colour instead of a studied procession of monochromatic suits.
Designer: Kim Jones
Show venue: Warehouse next to Rubell Museum, Miami
10-word show review: A jubilant clash of French tailoring with American surf culture.
As a nod to Christian Dior’s vocation as a gallerist before becoming a couturier, Jones held the show on the eve of Art Basel Miami in an expansive warehouse adjacent to the Rubell Museum (itself, only opening to the public the day after the runway show).
The 1500-plus show guests were seated inside a runway shaped like a barrel wave that was plastered with Shawn Stussy’s graffiti-style tags of the word ‘DIOR’, all against a technicolour backdrop of sunset hues.
Favourite look: The models stepped out in a hyper-colourful collection that married the tailoring savoir-faire of Dior with the joie de vivre of surfing culture.
Jones’s now-iconic single-button slash jackets were shown with floral appliqué on the lapels in hibiscus red, pacific blues, saffron and pastel shades—a jubilant colour palette reflective of the art deco architecture of Miami—while the heritage Dior oblique print was applied to knit sweaters and oversized totes, set against python leather trousers and shorts, and routinely capped off with French berets or bob hats emblazoned with the geometric prints created by Shawn Stussy.
In a collection awash with so much colour and contrast, the looks that stood out were usually the more reserved: that cream tee with the slogan, “I want to shock the world with DIOR”, paired with ivory trousers; those silk shirts covered in Shawn Stussy’s new ‘DIOR’ motif accessorised with a loosely knotted knit tie, all worn under classic topcoats crafted from light tropical wool; or, my personal favourite, that weekend ease of wearing an azure blue knit hoodie featuring a tutti-frutti intarsia floral motif worn languidly over pearl-white Bermudas.
Favourite accessory: The easiest way to buy into the #DiorMiami world is to nab yourself one of those bob hats (created by long-time milliner for Dior, Stephen Jones) inspired by sailing headgear. Think of them as an elevated, and strikingly vibrant, version of a bucket hat that also bears Shawn Stussy’s new ‘DIOR’ logo. Not a hat person? Try one of those insulated stainless steel water bottles seen on the runway bearing the same Stussy graffiti treatment for a functional, yet oh-so-fashionable, accessory.
Of course, if you’re a hypebeast, then there’s no overlooking the limited-edition #AirDior AJ1s made in Italy from Italian leather with hand-painted edges, a Dior Oblique jacquard swoosh, and transparent soles featuring Air Dior wings and Dior logos. As soon as we posted these kicks on socials, we were bombarded with questions about their price (hold your horses, kids). At the time of this review, the retail price wasn’t available, but we’re punting for around three grand. Whether you buy them to actually wear (they’ll go with everything from a suit to those python shorts) or as another holy grail to add your collection (resell prices are guaranteed to be sky high), it will be worth the investment. That is if you manage to cop a pair, of course.
However, for a savvy purchase that will continue to reap returns long after the hype has faded, we’re recommending that pared-down iteration of the cross-body Saddlebag in green python. It had the FROW—a veritable who’s who that included Ricky Martin and Kim Kardashian to Travis Scott and David Beckham—doing a double-take for its ability to punch up any outfit with its slick sophistication.
The after-party: While #DiorTokyo had Diplo spinning under a 12-metre-tall Sorayama female robot—illuminated by hypnotic laser lights powered by TeamLab—#DiorMiami had A-Trak on the decks under a Miami night sky lit up with fireworks blasting off the rooftop of the yellow show venue covered in Shawn Stussy’s ‘DIOR’ lettering. Hands down, Dior knows how to throw a good party.
But as guests were given a first look at the adjacent Rubell Museum (with its extensive collection of modern art) after the show, it begged the age-old question: is fashion art?
Fashion certainly incorporates artistic work—be it the meticulous couture handiwork of Dior’s ateliers or dynamic motifs created by artist Shawn Stussy—but does it move the audience as art does? Is fashion a form of art we wear or is it merely leveraging off art as a means to sell more product?
Whatever your inclination, one thing’s for sure: #DiorMiami, like any work of art, isn’t for everybody. One needs a discerning eye to fully master its melange of Shawn Stussy’s technicolour script, Dior’s archival prints, and Jones’s new silhouettes. Get it wrong and it’s a wipeout. But get it right, and it’s a smooth glassy ride.