Balletcore is still reigning supreme. With ballet shoes on the rise and on everyone’s feet, Kim Jones has taken the trend one step further and given it a Couture spin by turning dancer Rudolf Nureyev into the main muse of his latest Fall/Winter 2024 collection for Dior Men. “A coming together both practically and poetically, of utility and lavishness, of the reality of ready-to-wear with the theatricality of Haute Couture,” the Maison explains in the press release.
And in the words of the Artistic Director of Dior Men: “I had been thinking about the relationship between the ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn and Monsieur Dior. The masculine interpretation of this also involved thinking about her most famous dance partner: Rudolf Nureyev. Nureyev is entwined with my personal history because of my uncle, the photographer Colin Jones. Colin had been a ballet dancer, had a friendship with and photographed the star. The collection, or rather collections, are about contrast: the contrasts in the House of Dior in terms of ready-to-wear and Haute Couture. It’s the difference between onstage and backstage; the life of Nureyev theatrically and in reality. Here it is a meeting of the dancer’s style with that of the Dior archive.”
Indeed, Jones’ new F/W 2024 collection finds itself dancing between two worlds. The first part is characterised by soft, neutral tones typically associated to ballet – beige, cream, grey, brown, lilac – that are however contrasted with pops of colour (cyan blue, magenta, yellow) through accessories like socks and shoes. In it, we find sleek tailoring that merges Monsieur Dior’s Bar with Kim Jones’ characteristic Oblique while also taking inspiration from Yves Saint Laurent’s years at the Maison. Comfort and elegance meet in informal yet luxurious garments like wool jumpers, shorts, ribbed knits, jumpsuits, shirts, blazers, and outerwear.
Then, the collection starts to shift towards a more Couture-like approach. The first piece that sets the ‘new’ tone is a silver hand-made Uchikake kimono that took over three months to make by expert craftsmen in Japan (it’s particularly striking to discover the complex process through this Instagram post, where the craftsmen explain how they hand-make everything using ancient techniques, from the threads and textile to the pattern and the sewing). A handful of other kimonos appear during the show since Nureyev himself was a collector of antique textiles and owned several of these pieces.
But the history and savoir-faire of the Maison is vast and rich. Kim Jones has truly drawn upon Dior’s archive and craftsmen in other pieces made in high-quality leather (from a bomber jacket to sleeveless tops) or embellished and bejewelled garments including jumpsuits, coats, mesh tops, and pants. Through them, we can only dream of being on stage, all lights on us, glimmering like titillating stars in the sky.
And, of course, we started the review talking about ballet shoes and their omnipresence today. Well, Kim Jones has married the softness of the dancer slipper with the more masculine shoes, resulting in a Mary-Jane sneaker for men that bridges leather and silk-polyester. For the headwear, models sported twisted silk jersey turbans originally designed by Stephen Jones in 1999 for the Dior womenswear show.