- Text Alex James Taylor
- Photography Alfredo Piola
- 8th December 2020
This season’s artist collaboration at Dior was US painter Kenny Scharf – his fantastical and playful compositions filtering through Kim Jones’ latest collection for the Parisian house. Affiliated with New York’s East Village Art movement in the 80s, like his contemporaries – Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring – he plied his trade on the streets, turning galleries inside-out. Raised in post-WWII SoCal, Scharf translated the futuristic imagery and design of the time into his own output, creating magic eye-esque compositions populated by pop culture characters such as The Jetsons and that family from Bedrock.
How his work would filter through Jones’ collection? Deeply. Within Dior’s savoir-faire, the artist’s psychedelic works became exquisite prints and hand-embroidered graphics that popped and fizzed across garments. From classic pieces – including 1984 work, When Worlds Collide – to fresh digitalised prints, they shimmered in perfect harmony with Jones’ futuristic flair and unique fabric compositions. Apocalyptic beings spoke of dystopian worlds even stranger than ours while cheeky aliens were reminders of space-age possibilities – and not a mirrored monolith insight.
Unveiled via livestream from the show’s reveal in Beijing, models were backdropped by a panoramic, exploding cosmos that morphed to the beat – a Deee-Lite remix of their classic hit What Is Love? with a new refrain that purred “Dior”.
Even beyond Scharf’s work, a youthful, playful tone flowed throughout the collection. Like cosmic beatniks dreaming in warp speed, models took Parisian signatures to far-out worlds. Classic trenches were imagined in technical fabrics, while military-inspired double-breasted tailoring was cast in Dior blue and accessorised with an oversized, colourful boutonnière (think Jack Nicholson’s Joker) and undersized leather bag. Elsewhere, loose trousers belted with hardware buckles alongside boxy workwear jackets were winks to the Parisian kids of today.
Layers upon layers, undershirts were worn beneath trippy shirting beneath luxe knits, trenches and overcoats; Jones’ signature menswear saddlebags strapped on top, with Scharf’s toothy creatures grinning all over them. Elsewhere, the show’s setting proved fundamental, as silhouettes took influence from Chinese craftsmanship and sartorial codes, including kimono shapes and tassel detailing, “bridging ancestral techniques and futuristic audacity,” read the press release.
In military boots and berets (courtesy of Stephen Jones), there was a revolutionary feel: an optimistic stride into a mindset where anything goes.