Dior Men's Fall 2021 Collection Is An Interstellar Journey We All Have Been Quietly Wishing For
Text: Valerie Stepanova
Ever since he took the reins of Dior Men in the year 2018, the House's men's artistic director Kim Jones made it a point to amplify his vision for the brand with visual arts. Pre-Fall 2020 brought us colorful prints by streetwear legend Shawn Stussy; Spring 2021 introduced Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo, amplifying and highlighting Black culture.
If anything, Jones has established a new tradition of partnering with contemporary art figures from around the world.
This season, the spotlight is on Kenny Scharf, the American artist known for his cartoon-inspired works that nod to the future and knowingly reference historical art movements. His distinct, immediately recognizable aesthetic draws on worlds of pop culture and science fiction, which got translated into prints and embroideries in the Dior ateliers.
“I wanted to do something quite fun and poppy, because everything’s so down at the moment,” Jones told WWD in October of this year. “We just wanted the playfulness of trying to get out of this, where we are at the moment."
Coming from a mythical galaxy far, far away, the range was all about the Chinese zodiac, going beyond the realm of visual arts alone. Tops featuring Scharf’s interpretations of Chinese Zodiac signs and artistry — one shirt executed with precise and painstaking Chinese seed embroidery with custom-dyed silk thread, the versatility of the handmade technique. Albeit hyper-colored and hyper-real, the Fall 2021 menswear range continued to ride the wave set by Jones' precursory collections for the brand: comfort dressing, military-inspired relaxed tailoring, clothes saturated with uplifting color, and print. Coupled with Scharf's creations for the brand, the garments began to mirror the vibrancy and edge of the street art he and contemporaries Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat pioneered in the '80s Downtown art scene.
On the virtual runway, models marched in shiny silks, chunky knits and corduroy-like laser-cut mink alike. Models had their hair chopped into brightly dyed bowl cuts or tied back into braided mini buns and outfitted in assorted fabrics and textures that were paired with accessories featuring the iconic Dior monogram. Set against a looping soundtrack of Deee-lite, they looked like they just came out of an old-school Nintendo video game, channeling this '90s club-kid attitude underscored by the shiny and holographic textures on clothes. Scharf’s one-eyed monsters and psychedelic landscapes in Day-Glo hues finished off the artistic dialogue between the artist and Kim Jones, solidifying Dior's Fall 2021 menswear as an unprecedented creation that explores transformations of the perception of time and space in this particular global context.
"So, how do you say Dior?"