Strewn with thousands of flowers, the Dior Summer 2023 showcase resembles a dreamlike meadow – with a field of grass acting as a foreground to the picturesque backdrop of sky and sea. Beyond the superficial, the elaborate staging symbolises more than just Monsieur Dior’s passion for nature – and it’s definitely not “just for show”.
Rather, it’s an homage to the muses of Creative Director of Dior Homme, Kim Jones: Bloomsbury Group artist Duncan Grant, and of course, the green-fingered Christian Dior. Both of them, in the words of Jones, were strong and forward-thinking individuals who lived in cottages surrounded by a beautiful garden.
Dreamed up to mirror the couturier’s childhood home in Granville and Charleston, in East Sussex, the English countryside residence of Grant, the runway presentation outlines the similarities in the creatives’ lives.
“Granville and Sussex have a similar climate; the weather, the light and the garden tie one place to the other,” says Kim Jones. “For both Christian Dior and Duncan Grant, their homes, their gardens, and their private environments were so important for their creativity. It was these meaningful, private spheres that were translated into their work and became public.”
As influential on the collection as he was on the set design, Grant took the leading role this season; his oeuvre was manifested in the detailing of the ready-to-wear offering. Case in point: the artist’s Lily Pond Screen (C.1913) punctuated reflective tech fabric and traditional needlepoint, while his other works translated as complex yet easeful hand knits.
Influences of the cities also came through; the changing light and the mutability of the natural environment were reflected in the colour palette of the collection, from the gradation of Dior greys, pinks and pastels, to the greens and blues.
In addition, there’s a nod to the functionality of technical accessories. “Smart insouciance together with elegant practicality also produces effortless, everyday luxe in bags and footwear in the collection, belying the complexity of the design process behind both,” notes Dior.
The atelier enlisted the help of Mystery Ranch ‒ a technical, outdoor brand ‒ to reimagine signature bags like the Saddle, belt bags and rucksacks with a utilitarian twist. With practicality at the forefront, the latter, accessorising tailored ensembles on the runway, are equipped with detachable waterproof covers and hoods.
Other key highlights include new cannage sandals made with recycled rubber, boots featuring technical engineering, and 3D-printed gardenerʼs hats designed by Stephen Jones Millinery. In concert with the theme, the latter acts as an ode to the straw gardening hat Duncan Grant wore whilst painting.
A balance of contradictions ‒ extravagant and practical, formal and informal ‒ the collection wouldn’t be complete without the Maisonʼs staples. As models emerged from the ersatz cottage of the late couturier, a repertoire of looks ‒ cashmere, double-breasted tailored coats, shorts in thirties fabrication, Bar jackets in semi-transparent silk organza, sweeping cotton duster coats ‒ permeated the fashion parade. Quilted jackets were also a standout, taking shape from the iconic Dior cannage.
The complexity of the Dior Summer 2023 series and Jonesʼ ability to connect the past, present and future are a clear indication of how the luxury brand approaches its collections: recontextualising the past with finesse to bring forward contemporary and functional styles that will stand the test of time.
Main Image: DIOR MEN Technical canvas long asymetric apron with patchwork effect mesh, flap pocket at front, buckled straps and bar button; blended cotton tank top knit with patchwork effect; wool striped herringbone twill bermudas with turned-down waistband with gros grain ribbons, and Christian Dior Couture woven label at back; 3D printed fedora hat with cannage motif and “Christian Dior Couture” logo on the side; cotton canvas cap with Dior embroidery; asymmetric pair of earrings with ceramic and gold-finish brass fishes and resin detail; and bangles in silver-finish brass with engraved cannage, and black-finish resin on brass with engraved Dior signature
(Images: Brett Llyod Dior)