Venice Beach has a powerful evocative image for Kim Jones, who grew up in London in the 80s and 90s, watching and listening to No Doubt videos and music, and then spent part of his adolescence in Los Angeles. For Dior Men’s Cruise 2023 (Resort 2023) collection, the British designer brought his whole world to this iconic western Los Angeles location, home of the hippie movement, California surfing, roller skating, and the land of Jim Morrison and the Doors.
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“When I was growing up in England, Venice Beach was a fantasy where all the kids were cool, and Eli is one of the cool kids”, Jones told WWD of the collection he designed with Eli Russell, creative director of Los Angeles-based label ERL, guest-designer of this Cruise collection.
“We have worked with lots of different people on our collections, but this time I wanted to work with someone in a different way; I wanted somebody to see Dior from a different angle. With Eli Russell Linnetz, not only do I like his work but working with a younger designer on Dior Men and seeing things from his perspective, felt incredibly inspiring. It was both familiar and revelatory; reaffirming why we both dreamed about working in fashion in the first place”, he also said in a press release.
The collection, titled “California Couture”, took place on a street that leads to the famous Venice Beach waterfront, overlooked by the historic “Venice” sign, popular with tourists and a melting pot of all genders and cultural influences.
Fusing art, life and fashion, the collection was a creative dialogue between two talented designers where silhouettes emerged and united the Parisian high-fashion savoir-faire with Californian pop culture.
Thus, the codes of Dior have been reinvented and invigorated by Eli Russell Linnetz, a native of Venice Beach. He hijacks the House’s motifs, like cannage transformed into quilting – satin and leather – on skate sneakers or on crystal-encrusted trousers.
A dialogue between two styles, Parisian elegance on the one hand and the casualness of eastern California on the other, the collection also highlighted the precision of tailoring, the result of the excellence of the Dior workshops, as opposed to the casual, nonchalant, everyday sensibility of Los Angeles. As such, quilted pieces made from upcycled polyester collected from the ocean echo Gianfranco Ferré’s archives for Dior, just as the school blazers and gray, a color so dear to Christian Dior, were tributes to Kim Jones’ first collection for the House.
“We started looking at the Dior archive from the year of my birth, 1991. This was during Gianfranco Ferré’s period as artistic director and was a part of the history of Dior that felt completely fresh for both Kim and me. The idea of “Maximalism” comes from there and from me – a coming together of chaos and perfectionnisme. There’s a collision of moments in time and history throughout the collection of cross-generational and spatial meetings in time”, Eli Russell Linnetz expressed in the collection notes.
Brightly colored shorts inspired by surfing and skateboarding, logo tube socks, all adorned with sequins and embroidery, elegant veiled hats, diamond river necklaces and the House’s leather heritage revisited through a new version of the Saddle reinterpreted as a precious “male minaudière” completed the collection and expressed the creative dialogue of these two worlds that are so opposed but manage to find a beautifully expressed common ground.