Presented in London, at Kensington Olympia in west London, the Dior Men Pre-Fall 2022 collection by Kim Jones paid homage to Jack Kerouac, to travel, and to the spirit of freedom and rebellion he represents.
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It was the first time since 2003 that Jones had staged a show in his home country. His eclectic Pre-Fall collection was followed by a massive, champagne-fuelled party – topped off with a surprise performance by Grace Jones.
Admirer of the American writer and poet – the British designer has an important private collection of rare books, manuscripts, and personal letters by Jack Kerouac and the author’s friends, family and colleagues – and more generally of the literary movement Beat Generation which forever transformed post-war American culture and politics, Jones presented a collection that blended college-kid Americana with a large dollop of French finesse, leavened with a dash of London street-style.
Kim Jones was particularly interested in ‘’On The Road’’, the second novel by Jack Kerouac published in 1957, the year of Christian Dior’s death, which will also mark the arrival of Yves Saint Laurent at the head of the house. The 24-year-old designer took over, briefly but momentously coming out with his “Beat collection”, the first haute couture show to dare to signal the rise of rebellious youth culture. “When ‘On the Road’ was written, it was very much the same time that Christian Dior was changing things”, the designer said. “So there’s this sort of synergy of it that I think is interesting: two different ways of approaching how you change the world”.
Presented with in the background, an XXL scenography whose inspiration echoes the unique 36-meter-long manuscript on which Kerouac wrote his novel, the collection introduced a marriage of the Dior heritage and couture technique with the technology of the future, inspired by the forward-thinking ethos that characterized mid-century America: technical silks and recycled nylons combined with embroideries, revisited toile de Jouy and a gentle palette of pastels, punctuated with Dior gray. To the silhouettes taken from the Dior’s archives, Jones gave them a modern, sportier twist by way of relaxed silhouettes and abstract photographs taken from the covers of the Kerouac first-edition books in Jones’ collection. The sportswear spirit dear to Kim Jones was also present: knitted tracksuits tucked into socks and hiking boots.
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