Tides of Transfiguration: Dior Homme Winter 2023

Drawing on the literary genius of T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land, Kim Jones astounds in an immersive experience. An intersection of sartorial genius and the weight of the spoken word recontextualizes winter.

Models begin pacing like somnambulists in a waking dream. In a pitch-black room, the only point of illumination is a beam of light treading behind them. A sense of intimacy is synthesized with their faces projected beside the runway. Audio and sight merge as the threshold between our senses collapses. Lulling attendees with each note, a symphony coalesces with poetic verses. It is clear Dior Homme’s Winter 2023 presentation is not your typical fashion show. 

Courtesy of Dior

Drawing on the literary genius of T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land, Kim Jones astounds in an immersive experience. An intersection of sartorial genius and the weight of the spoken word recontextualizes winter.

Jones stirs Elliot’s somber, poignant world into the realm of Dior as the voices of Gwendoline Christie and Robert Pattinson reverberate with artful gravity. As we unravel throughout a voyage of poetry, notions of brokenness and loss parallel winter, suggesting it as a state of being. 

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

Exiting the desert from a spectacle of Dune-like proportions, Kim Jones left us a taste of pulsing Sci-Fi mystery from Dior Homme’s Fall 2023 collection. Mutated half-kilt, half-trouser hybrids added to the impressive display with their skewed symmetry. 

Olives, incandescent amber, and sandy hues emulated the natural wonder of the desert. Pops of tangerine, too, radiated through neutral compositions. Being the history maven Kim Jones is, Dior iconography was spotted anywhere from the collection’s Cannage enameled harnesses to turtlenecks bearing the house’s monogram. 

Technical wear alongside feathery layers of chiffon and organza introduced a chameleonic sum of materials that can adapt to almost any environment. Taupe shoulder bags and sporty ankle boots in beige, frost blue, black, and brown infiltrated the Great Pyramids with a rugged, urban twist. Bringing the late Christian Dior’s affinity for astrology into a setting of intergalactic proportions, Jones and his team created an unforgettable experience.

Courtesy of Dior

Slowing its pace to one of hazy lyricism, Dior presents its Winter 2023 collection as it returns to Paris for Fashion Week. 

Solidifying flux and fluidity, Kim Jones channels the great rivers of London and Paris as muses. As the collection implies, fashion is a flowing body of water that relies on circulation as a sign of vitality. Harnessing this sense of flow, he draws on the desire to innovate shared between him and his predecessors. In reflection of Christian Dior’s legacy to Yves Saint Laurent’s brief stint at the house’s helm, Jones creates a tasteful retrospective addressing his role in its progression. 

By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . .

Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,

Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.

Archives of the house undergo a transfiguration à la Jones, embodying a new form of classic elegance. Most notable is his rendition of Yves Saint Laurent’s Sailor Top from the Marine ensemble. Reimagined as an extensive fisherman’s smock, it is loosened in Cavalry Twill.

Albeit the juxtaposition of Dior’s Winter 2023 collection against Elliot’s work of complexity brings forth a somber sensation, a duality is presented in its harnessing of winter as a feeling. Through Jones’ sensational designs, we are reminded that although winter is a season of decay, it also possesses hope for rebirth. 

Courtesy of Dior

Notice its color palette. Reflective of the duplexity within winter, the color scheme embraces restrained hues of aged vanilla, burnt tobacco, sand, pale blues, and, most significantly, gray. 

Gray holds tremendous weight in the Maison, as Christian Dior sought solace in the brewing storms of Normandy. Using his legacy as a telescope, the late fashion designer repurposed gray as a simulacrum of hope, happiness, and new beginnings. Statements of color in the show, such as turquoise and amber, compliment its meaning as their sum is a reminder of life’s vibrance. 

Courtesy of Dior

A beguiling patent leather encases a brown, shearling-lined jacket of asymmetrical proportions. Within an illusion of subtle cracking, a rhythm of reflected lights creates a luxury of wet gloss on its surface. Equally as charming, a ribbed, dusty mocha-stained coat graces the runway as it’s paired with a sheer, nude tank, and matching shorts extending past the knee. The ensemble came full circle with croc-embossed leather ankle boots glossed in maple lacquer. 

Jones’ experimentation births mesmerizing figures that transpire classical conventions. Lyrically binding the best of draping and tailoring, he and his team create decadent layers of abstracted ridges. Look 15 embodies the execution of this tactic with the utmost caliber. A powder blue lattice pattern luxuriously folds like a Shar Pei as it cocoons the left shoulder of a knit sweater. In contrast, the right sleeve gracefully sags, slightly ballooning its cuff. Layered with a white shirt, the combined aesthetic reflects the modern gentleman—impeccably sharp yet vulnerable in a perennially morphing world. 

Courtesy of Dior

This season the saddle bag is reincarnated with a demure shade of blue, glistening like a stream of ebbing water. Messenger bags in moss, neutral yellow, and mauve glean with the house’s monogram echoing throughout. Updated with leopard print, the Gallop Bag adds an invigorating statement to Dior’s accessories this season. 

It’s difficult to imagine Dior Homme without Jones’ knack for weaving tradition with experimentation. While each era of Dior interprets the house’s heritage in a different light, Kim Jones’ is extraordinary in his ability to embody everything the brand stands for while pushing its boundaries to new limits. 

Alternating between chronological coordinates, Jones constructs a narrative of cross-disciplinary enchantment through the optics of literary motifs. 

While T.S. Elliot, Saint Laurent, and the river muses may not hold any collective link, the English Artistic Director entwines their shared experiences in an evolving world. As a device for exploring the currents that continue to shift the fashion landscape, he illuminates the twilight state, dawning a new era. 

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