It could perhaps seem a tad introspective to theme a collection around 'maison'—the French word for house—especially in fashion where being self-serving has proved unwise in recent times. Yet, for Dior Men's artistic director Kim Jones, the spring 2021 collection is a culmination of the contemporary, introspective approach he's been working with—turning some of Dior's most notable icons into covetable and fashionable pieces for a new audience.
At the same time, the concept of maison is something we're all familiar with in 2020. With comfort taking precedence over style in our daily lockdown and work-from-home attires (much to luxury fashion houses' chagrin), we've adopted a more grounded approach to life that's centred around home. And that new outlook on life is something that would most likely stick with us for quite a while post-pandemic.
Dior is often referred to as a maison because it is essentially a fashion institution that has branches in every facet of fashion. What started as a couture business has spawned everything from ready-to-wear to accessories to perfume and cosmetics, with each category having as much depth as it does breadth. With Dior Men's spring 2021 collection, Jones aimed to celebrate not only the rich heritage of the storied couture house but also one of the founder's literal personal houses.
In Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the southeast region of France, is the Château de La Colle Noire, where Monsieur Dior himself had a hand in redesigning after buying the property in 1950. In fact, in his autobiography Dior by Dior, Monsieur Dior described it as: "I think of this house now as my real home, the home to which, God willing, I shall one day retire. The home where I will one day forget 'Christian Dior, Couturier' and become the neglected private individual again." It was also at La Colle Noire that he tended to an array of flowers in his garden, one of which inspired the Diorissimo perfume that was concocted to replicate the scent of the lily of the valley, a favoured motif of the Dior style vocabulary.
Monsieur Dior fondly referred to La Colle Noire as calming and peaceful, and a contrast to the demands of his artistry as a famed couturier. It's this juxtaposition—of relaxed versus couture savoir-faire—that Jones sought to embody for spring 2021; a subtle dialogue between the highly skilled precision of the house of Dior and the ease of being at Monsieur Dior's private home.
A quick glance through the entire collection and one would notice the calming palette that consists of neutrals with infusions of blues and purples. The latter two colours are never jolts of intense hues, but rather, they're presented as graduated tones based off of the neutral base. The precise and thoughtful execution continues on with the silhouette. Cut with roomy ease and a sense of fluidity, the Dior Men spring 2021 collection is anything but rigid. Even in the collection's crisp tailoring, the shoulders are rounded and the fabrications used produce soft drapes with every movement. The more literal examples of relaxed style codes are evident in the collection's tailored lounge-like offerings—silky Dior Oblique coordinates that are too luxurious to only be worn within the confines of one's home.
It's the accessories that reiterate the two qualities of maison quite seamlessly. Here, the Dior Oblique Tapestry (debuted as part of the winter 2020 collection) gains new meaning as a translation of a technique normally used in home furnishing onto bags. Technical slip-on sneakers are crafted in Dior Oblique-patterned nylon, then padded and lined with plush fur for that extra comfort that's akin to bringing a touch of home wherever you go.
That being said, these are luxuries that one would need to touch and feel. They may seem somewhat ordinary but it's through up-close inspection that their true stories are told. Just like the luxury of being at home, the Dior Men spring 2021 collection is a private indulgence, one that only the wearer and the maison could truly understand.