New Day for Dior Menswear: Inside Designer Kim Jones' Starry Runway Debut

Dior Homme Menswear Spring Summer 2019 show -Lenny Kravitz and Naomi Campbell - Getty-H 2018
Francois Durand/Getty Images for Dior

A$AP Rocky, Robert Pattinson, Naomi Campbell, Lenny Kravitz, Virgil Abloh and more came out for Jones' first collection, full of relaxed suiting and artisinal details.

With all the buzz surrounding Virgil Abloh's debut collection for Louis Vuitton, it could be really easy to forget that there was another major designer debut during this Paris Mens Fashion Week. That would at Dior Homme for designer Kim Jones, the man that Virgil took over for at Vuitton.

All along, a case has been made for the friendship between the two beloved creative heads, so in the case of Saturday's show, it was all in the name of a friendly competition. LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault must have personally greenlit the budget to make sure that Jones got all of his famous friends to attend his show as well. In terms of numbers, he may have just topped Thursday's Louis Vuitton extravaganza.

Speaking of Abloh, he was there front and center, catching up with friends and posing for an endless amount of fan photos, and said he was looking forward to "a relaxing a dinner ... Now it's just about getting back to some normalcy. That's where the ideas come from." Beside a Louise Vuitton leather harness and shades he designed, Abloh was wearing a gold and diamond paper clip necklace that he called "very private and personal, but it will have a lifespan of its own very soon."

Rita Ora, looking fabulous in a custom Dior Men's shirt dress and new baseball cap while bedecked in Dior chain bracelets, rainbow pavè gemstone rings and a coordinating rainbow manicure and pedicure, complained of a migraine but seemed no worse for the wear as she socialized with British Vogue Editor Edward Enniful and Abloh.

Jones also had the rap and hip-hop communities well represented with the "Most Shows Attended This Week" award going to A$AP Rocky. He was joined by Kid Cudi and U.K. hip-hop artist Skepta. American actress Christina Ricci, Kelly Osborne and models Bella Hadid, Iris Law and Winnie Harlow — who almost ended up sitting in a stairwell with many other VIPs who spent the pre-show socializing — were also there.

The list of who's who also included Lenny Kravitz, Robert Pattinson, Joe Jonas, Russell Westbrook, Lily Allen, Luka Sabbat, Victor Cruz, Darren Criss, Will Peltz, Ally Maki, Colton Haynes, Blondey McCoy, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim of the xx. The French represented with Jeremie Laheurte, Lou Doillon and Carine Roitfeld.

But those closest to Jones are the flock of English birds who have known him 20-plus years such as Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christine, who alongside her partner Giles Deacon, opted to watch Jones' fashion show debut presumably rather than join the rest of the GOT crew, who were celebrating Kit Harrington's and Rose Leslie nuptials in Scotland.

The 6-foot-3 actress told The Hollywood Reporter post-show that Jones was "absolutely incredible and so contemporary but with a masterful mastery of craftsmanship." Other birds in attendance included Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham and Jade Jagger. Offspring Brooklyn and Lila Moss accompanied their mums. 

Karl Lagerfeld routinely supports the Dior Homme men's show and was also in attendance. He bore an uncanny resemblance to the massive flower sculpture made by the artist KAWS, which required 70,000 of black and white roses and pink camellias. It was actually KAWS' interpretation of Mr. Dior, who was holding a ceramic version of his dog Bobby. KAWS would also reimagine the famous Dior Bee for the show.

But Jones' real cause was what would the new Dior Homme man wear? Luckily, in case anyone was worried, it would include some suits (one VIP guest said the show made him want to wear a suit again after many years). He proposed two key styles — a loose but not baggy-fit pant with a single-button shawl collar jacket with a slight drape, and another whose double-breasted jacket included a strap across the upper-chest area. Elegance and feminine were words that came to mind. Show notes explained that Jones was going for the "reality and the myth,' the suits serving real life.

On the flip side, Jones offered plenty of sportswear and just a tad of the active that he was most known for at Vuitton, some more fantasy-minded than others. Pants were mainly sheer to reveal a short worn underneath; sheer tops, shaping up to be a trend came as T-shirts or lace-like shirts; the house wicker motif played out as a back panel on shirts and trench coat, a technical organza as an anorak. A new baseball cap was a nod into the streetwear craze.

The fantasy came in the form of florals, in some cases embroidered with Lemaire feathers, which were based on Mr. Dior's personal porcelain. He gave them a futuristic feel by topping them with vinyl jackets that also gave them the high-gloss looks of the porcelain. 

In it-takes-a-village-mode, Jones recruited several other designers such as Yoon Ahn of Ambush, who created jewelry from the house motifs of a flower, insect and CD. Matthew Williams designed a cool new belt buckle and Stephen Jones worked on the hats.

As Jones took his final walk, he grabbed Yoon Ahn from the crowd to head to a pink flower step-and-repeat also designed by KAWS. He graciously stayed for pictures with VIPs and guests alike. As the crowd around Jones died down, Arnault made his way toward the exit where throngs of teens were waiting to catch glimpses of the celebrities. He looked pleased.