“I’ve worked with artists and I’ve worked with musicians,” Kim Jones, the artistic director of Dior men’s tells me, as he gestures widely at two large whiteboards on which photographs of each of the 49 looks from his new collection are pasted. “So I thought it would be nice to work with literature this season.”
We’re standing in a lightless Holborn basement, it’s two days before the Dior Men’s AW/22 show – the first Jones will have mounted in his London hometown since his two-and-a-half-year stint as creative director of Alfred Dunhill a decade ago—and the designer has taken time out of his arduous schedule of model fittings to talk GQ through the inspiration behind the clothes.
“I looked at who was doing groundbreaking things at around the same time as Monsieur Dior was doing groundbreaking things in the ’50s,” He says in his clipped English, which has a touch of the Queen’s about it, “and the Beat Generation was an obvious choice.”
Jones is wearing a close-cut sweatshirt in his trademark black, he’s keeping himself sustained on a packet of salt and vinegar Popchips and his hair, which is flecked with the gilded remains of a recent bleach job, is cropped close to his head. His skin is clear and he looks well—surprisingly well, in fact, for a man about to show one of the 25 collections he’s designed this year.
In addition to his role at Dior, Jones is also artistic director of womenswear at Fendi, and it’s a duo of big gigs which keep him very busy indeed. So busy, in fact, that one imagines the freewheeling likes of Kerouac and Burroughs et al might turn in their graves at the sight of his schedule.
“Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road in 1957,” Jones says (Christian Dior died aged 52, at the height of his powers, in the same year). “So I contacted the Kerouac estate and worked with them to bring some of his artworks and writing into the collection. I wanted to retell the story of On The Road for a modern age. The Beats still inspire the younger generation so I thought it was interesting to take that road trip through clothes, via Dior.”