Kim Jones: Genius Collaborator or Idle Mooch?
Kim Jones, the relatively new artistic director for Dior Homme, has so far released two collections for the brand’s menswear: Spring 2019 and Pre-Fall 2019. Both collections have been widely received very well. His opening show was in collaboration with the artist Kaws, who put his own spin on the classic Dior bee symbol, the brand’s own logo, and the iconic Dior saddle bag.
Kaws rose to fame with the figurative characters he imagines, his sculptures ranging in size from a few inches to multiple meters in height. Kaws would also adapt popular children’s cartoons such as Sesame Street and Snoopy in his own style. This is not Kaws’ first collaboration with a textile label. He also developed a line for the company Uniqlo, which is a more accessible and popular brand. But Kim Jones didn’t end his team with Kaws.
In addition to the clothing pieces and accessories designed in conjunction with the street artist, Jones enlisted the help of Matthew Williams of 1017 ALYX 9SM to create all of the buckles and clasps for the bags and hats. ALYX is not solely a bag company either; Williams also designs clothing and accessories. Williams rocketed to popularity when he put on his first show during Men’s Paris Week last year. The show was attended by rappers such as A$AP Rocky and Kanye West, and one can frequently find ALYX designs draped across the backs of models such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. This is not Williams’ first collaboration either. Just a couple of months ago, Williams released a line of clothing with Nike, and made his own take on the classic Air Force One shoe.
Finally, Jones brought Yoon Ahn of Ambush into the mix to design all of the jewelry for the collection. Yoon runs her own brand with fellow Japanese designer Verbal and, similarly to ALYX, covers all of the bases of the retail industry: clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. In fact, one of Ambush’s jackets just appeared on the cover SuperELLE China and was worn by none other than Kylie Jenner.
For his second collection with Dior menswear, Kim Jones drew heavily from Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama, and his humanistic robotic figures. Sorayama’s work spread across the world when he released his first art book, Sexy Robot, and since then he has been involved in a variety of projects ranging from cinema to skateboard decks. As in Jones’ first collection, Matthew Williams created the hardware and Yoon the jewelry, thereby continuing the partnership with the two well-known designers.
I personally believe both collections are very impressive, and there is no doubt that all of the collaboration in the French fashion house is highly beneficial to everyone involved. Jones is definitely not alone in his utilization of other artists. For example, Louis Vuitton employed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to create multiple collections of luggage over the years. Additionally, Virgil Abloh, a close friend of Jones and debatably the hottest and most talked about designer of the moment, is quick to conceive of rugs for Ikea, bottles for Moët, shoes for Nike, and even art installations with Takashi Murakami as well. Kim Jones is simply not letting Dior fall behind on the rapidly evolving market for fashion. He is keeping Dior Homme relevant with, for example, cross body versions of the classic saddle bag and strong implementation of the brand’s stylized logo. Jones’ next show is on January 19th and everyone is eager to see which artist will be showcased next. The only question is this. Will Kim Jones ever run out of artists with which to collaborate? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.