Dior designer Kim Jones talks genderless outfits

Models present Dior creations during the Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2021 women’s ready-to-wear show in Paris on September 29, 2020. Photo: AFP

Kim Jones may be borrowing from Dior’s most iconic feminine looks for his latest menswear collection, but that doesn’t mean he thinks gender boundaries are ready to disappear.

“We live in cities and they’re incredibly open, but get outside and it’s not the same,” Jones told AFP from his studio in Paris.

“There are 40 countries in the world where if you dress like that you would be killed,” he said, referring to the growing number of traditionally feminine clothes in men’s collections.

Her own new collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week on Friday, includes a masculine revamp of Dior’s iconic women’s Bar jacket and plenty of feminine touches, from earrings and handbags to a covered sweatshirt of hand-woven silk flowers.

None of this raises eyebrows on fashion shows these days, where genderless clothing and a mix of male, female and trans models have become the norm.

But Jones, 42, who traveled the world as a child with his geologist father, has a pragmatic view of life beyond the catwalks.

“I’m lucky, I grew up all over the world so I’ve seen it all and I understand that we live in a bubble,” he told AFP.

“If you go to other places, you have to be culturally sensitive.”

“People want ease”

Jones himself works on both sides of the divide as he has also been the womenswear and haute couture designer for Fendi since September 2020.

“One thing I find now that I’m doing womenswear is how limited menswear is,” he said.

“Men’s clothing hasn’t changed much since the 1940s.”

He considers his current priority — with the world still mired in the pandemic — to be transforming classic Dior styles into something more comfortable.

“Ease is what people want now – I see it through sales, talking to customers, everything.”

This fits perfectly with Jones’ pioneering work at Louis Vuitton where, as creative director from 2011 to 2018, he helped launch streetwear styles onto the catwalks.

Now wearing three hats, he dismisses the idea that he has too many.

“I love working and I’m in a really good stride,” he said.

“The only problem for me now is COVID-19, because when I go home I have to self-isolate and keep away from everyone because I can’t waste 10 days. “

He made sure to fit vacations into his busy schedule every two months to avoid burnout.

“I’m not going to kill myself for these people. I am not stupid ! he said laughing.

On Virgil

He struck a darker note by recalling his friend and successor at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, who died of cancer in November 2021 and whose latest collection was presented in Paris this week.

“I can’t really talk about it yet because I can’t believe it happened,” Jones said.

“(Virgil and I) texted almost every week. We traveled the world together.”

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