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Kim Jones’ pre-fall menswear collection takes us on an astral journey punctuated by the joyful art and cartoons of Kenny Scharf. Sound-tracked by the eighties group Dee-lite’s revamped Pussycat Meow and What is Love?, mixed by Honey Dijon and voiced by Lady Miss Kier, the show transports us to an eighties meets nineties club-kid universe of slick tailoring and artistic flare.

“How do you say Dior?” is a repeated refrain in the show’s soundtrack– to which Jones responds simply – through a celestial collapse between the art and fashion worlds. Dior’s own history in art, as a gallerist, underlines the place for this kind of collection. Artist, Scharf’s, piece When the Worlds Collide woven into jackets, shirts and accessories feels similarly noteworthy. Dior pre-fall 2021 sees twists on house classics in conversation with yet another star artist collaborator. Scharf was a contemporary of Basquiat and Warhol. For pre-fall an eighties bright palette works over nineties-style tailored trouser-suits in deep-space black, grey, navy and supernova white. Outfits like these feel classic, and breath new life with Scharf’s graffiti tags, in the form of belts, bags, embroidery and a fan. Dior’s exquisite jackets act in the place of the cars that have historically received Carbombz – graffiti tags – illustrated by Scharf, which creates a pop of colour on the garment in an unexpected way. Dior, today, brings the energy of street to high fashion.

Relaxing convention through styling, Dior oblique patterned slippers are worn with suits, reminding us of the new easy work from home dress code. Meanwhile, belted suit jackets give us a glimmer of hope for future travel – since a buckle worn over a trouser suit particularly brings to mind business air-travel, although these ones are stylishly worn high-waisted. Nevertheless, models appear ready for an adventure wearing the Dior Explorer II boots renewed in bubble-gum pink, and climbing cords re-imagined as belts. Jones also avoids overly skinny tailoring; trousers are comfortable and practical. There is a Chinese feel to the use of tassels in the collection and tiger and goat motifs are specifically references to the Chinese zodiac. Cartoon character prints offer light-heartedness and bring us back to an albeit psychedelic earth. It is exactly this kind of cartoonist escapism that Jones himself turns to to switch off, literally through watching cartoons. Pre-fall, this way, invites us into the intimate world of this designer to the stars.

Bella Spratley

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