Saturday 19th January

| BY Dino Bonacic

Dior: Menswear AW19

The Dior show should have been on Saturday (today, as you read this) but instead, because of planned protests by the “gilets jaunes”, in the centre of Paris, the Dior show for men, was brought forward a day to Friday night.

Luckily, this is couture, and the huge team of Dior atelier staff had been beavering away for weeks. This was Kim Jones’ third runway collection for the house he joined a year ago.

We’re sticking with the world couture, simply because the level of craft, of this new issue ready-to-wear, which focuses on the aesthetics and techniques practiced by Christian Dior and his highly skilled couture staff or “petites mains”. Couture-à-Porter, possibly? Jones is certainly creating a more elevated expression of men’s runway.

The collection, shown on 48 models, who stood perfectly still, like the “mannequins de magazin” you see in the Dior men’s Avenue Montaigne shop window, were moved by on a 76m-long moving runway. It was breathtaking. The clothes spoke to the Dior archive: to leopard print and drapery or “moulard” the art of directly draping on a mannequin. When this met suiting – a long sash appeared to wrap around twice and hang by the leg – it became supremely elegant and expressive: the satin sash skewed the neat lozenge-line of the jacket. More suiting packed with precision and technique, but also, new interpretations on how to actually wear them. A soft fawn, double-breasted suit jacket had a same-fabric short-sleeved shirt worn over it, this came with a front-zip bag and tab-fastenings; a kind of suiting body-armour with pockets. It looked similar to those worn by the CRS, the crowd-control cops involved in the manifestations here in Paris. Other cross-bags, in Nylon and the saddle bag, a sell-out in shops, returns, too, one in satin was boxier worn cross and front. The tailoring grew increasingly accomplished when Jones, presumably working from the inside of a jacket out, took the normally hidden panels of silk in and put them on display. And there was so much more: blousons, long trenches a leather jacket with mink sleeves… Raymond Pettibon, the American artist, known for his satirical comic book creations, drew exclusive images for Jones, these were recreated in intricate bead work – a “grumpy Mona Lisa” said one wag at the re-see. Men’s runway – Jones’ runway – is changing fashion.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.