K-pop and poetry collided at the show, which saw Kim Jones explore the legacy of Dior at the fashion house.
At Paris Fashion Week, every big show comes with a K-pop star attached. After Taeyang at Givenchy and J-Hope at Louis Vuitton, it was Jimin’s turn to make his debut as a Dior brand ambassador at the French luxury brand’s menswear show.
The BTS member was greeted by hordes of screaming fans huddled behind barriers on Place de la Concorde. Inside the darkened tent, the mood was one of controlled chaos as the South Korean heartthrob joined Robert Pattinson, Eddie Redmayne, J Balvin, David Beckham and Gwendoline Christie in the front row.
Pattinson and Christie had a special reason for being there: Both appeared in a film projected on giant screens performing T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land,” which marked the centenary of its publication in December. It’s not the first time creative director Kim Jones has used a work of literature as the springboard for a collection. The designer, who collects rare book editions, has referenced Virginia Woolf and Jack Kerouac.
This famously bleak text, referring to a land of drought where little will grow, served as a moody backdrop to a lineup that was all about water. Jones worked in literal references — fisherman sweaters, waxed capes, lifesaver vests and sou’wester hats — alongside shimmering textures, from metallic brocade shorts to a light gray hammered satin trench coat.
But the main inspiration came from the Dior archives. Having mined the legacy of Marc Bohan in prior collections, Jones turned his attention to the oeuvre of the young prodigy who took over after the unexpected death of founder Christian Dior in 1957: Yves Saint Laurent.
“Mr. Dior’s chosen heir and successor was Mr. Saint Laurent — and he was only 21 at the time. It is 65 years since his debut collection for Dior in January 1958 and the first time we have approached his collections through the archive,” Jones said in a statement.
“There is a sense of effortlessness and movement that works with what we are doing in menswear and we have adapted some items from his first collections to feature in this one, shifting them from the context of the feminine to the masculine,” he added.
Peel-away necklines and cocoon coats borrowed directly from the Saint Laurent repertoire, while draped knits and tweed kilts provided a soft counterpoint to the utilitarian outerwear. Even Pattinson got in on the action, pairing his furry brown jacket with a gray kilt, in a move that brought to mind Brad Pitt’s appearance at the Berlin premiere of “Bullet Train” last year.
“I think there is a new sense of ease in the collection, in a combination of the formal and informal in single garments, principally in the tailoring. There’s a feeling of metamorphosis and change in the clothing, particularly through the motif of water,” Jones said.
That fluid quality was best reflected in hybrid items such as cable-knit sweaters and waterproof jackets spliced with dress shirts, and trompe-l’oeil styles including double-layered wool blazers and a maroon jacket joined together from two separate halves.
With its deliberately slow pace, the performance directed by Baillie Walsh and set to a live performance by Max Richter was an invitation for quiet reflection — a mood that quickly dispelled outside, where the screaming continued long after Jones, Pattinson and Christie had taken their bows.