Designer Kim Jones has a knack for finding inspiration in the work of artists, delving both into archives and collaborating with living creatives, as he did with Ghanaian artist Amoako Boaf for Dior’s summer ’21 men’s collection.
For Dior’s summer ’23 men’s collection, the brand’s artistic director of menswear once again looked to artists — Christian Dior himself, but also British painter Duncan Grant — to work on the idea of private spaces as points of inspiration. From Dior’s Granville, France birthplace to Grant’s Charleston, Sussex residency in England, Jones took inspiration from the post-impressionist works directly but also indirectly to convey an idea of summer elegance.
The result was a collection that was still decidedly sporty — in a good way; one that is more attuned to modern times than those of Jones’s muses. The collection summarily offered a view of how a newfound sporting lifestyle (one born of the pandemic and its life-altering ways) might become just a touch more elegant as the idea of what to wear day-to-day continues to shift.
It started with a pair of shorts. While most major fashion brands are showing the shortest of short hemlines for both spring ’22 and spring ’23 men’s collections, Jones seemed to pick up on the need for practicality and modesty, proving once again that he knows menswear better than most. Shorts were long, just above the knee, and relaxed with casual pleats on suiting wools and blends. The garments were instantly sported up with logo fanny packs that featured techie zippers and pockets. There was also a series of boxer-style shorts, worn over compression biker shorts.
Up top, there were quilted overcoats, anoraks and other pullover jackets but also a series of double-breasted suiting jackets — in fact, a riff on Dior’s iconic “Bar” jacket, which was first introduced for women in 1947. In the summer ’23 men’s collection, the jacket provided a nipped-waist elegance to the overall sportiness.
On foot, Jones paired the suiting trousers with a series of rubberized boots that folded over at the ankles to reveal chunky hiking socks, as well as techie and trekkie trail runner sneaker styles. The footwear matched bucket hats in cozy teddy touches and wide brimmed felt hats doubled with baseball caps up top. The final hiking push came from a series of backpacks with chest and waist strap and necklace pouches to drive home the message of utility.
The accessories and silhouettes all pointed to an idea of elegant preparedness; perhaps Jones is suggesting that men be ready to hike though whatever the day will bring them.