It’s no secret that Kim Jones is a bookworm. The studious designer is an avid reader of literature: he has mined the Bloomsbury set for inspiration, and when he brought Dior to London for his Fall 2022 show, for instance – a collection inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road – Jones exhibited his large, private collection of first edition books.
This season in Paris, he looked to T. S. Eliot and his 1992 poem The Waste Land, which was recited by Robert Pattison and Gwendoline Christie, who both appeared on giant screens as models walked the catwalk.
The poem was chosen for its references to the Thames and the Seine, and how the “connotations and contrasts” between each river have inspired both Eliot’s writing and have been reflected in Jones’ collision of Parisian elegance with London, street-centric sensibilities. The designer adopted key components of a fisherman’s wardrobe into the collection. Be it yellow raincoats and Stephen Jones-designed sou’wester hats, or bombers that resembled life jackets and Aran knits draped effortlessly over romantic shirting. These were worn alongside jumpers that sprouted with lilies, fluid culottes and languid tailoring that fell effortlessly off the shoulder.
In recent collections, Jones has drawn parallels between his design handwriting and that of Monsieur Dior’s (last year marked the house’s 75th anniversary). Themes of rebirth in Eliot’s masterpiece inspired Jones to look to Yves Saint Laurent, who briefly took the helm of the house at age 21 following the death of the founder, making him the youngest couturier in history. Fragments of YSL’s vision could be seen in the flickers of leopard print and softened cashmere jackets with rounded shoulders, part of a procession of some of Jones’ finest work to date.
Photography courtesy of Dior.