Catching Up With Kim Jones: The Tireless Creative On The Art Of Collaboration

Mister Jones, Mister Jones, calling Mister Jones.

A walking paradigm shift in fashion, Kim Jones straddles the worlds of art, streetwear, and tailoring, making collaboration an intrinsic part of his creative conversation.

Related: INSPIRED BY THE MANDALORIAN AND THE 80S, KIM JONES AND DIOR TAKES US ON AN ACID TRIP TO A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY

When Kim Jones stepped down as artistic director for menswear at Louis Vuitton, there was a collective wave of sadness that washed over the greater population of fashion. It didn’t seem to make sense then, especially since he had given so much life to the focused segment of the Parisian house. Under his leadership, the men’s collections not only became the talk of the town, but it also fashioned itself as the standard of making a heritage brand cool. To refresh your memory, Kim Jones orchestrated the celebrated collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme. In this paradigm shift, streetwear was heralded as the new luxury—and the prevalence hasn’t waned since.

kim jones

The uprising would continue at Dior Homme, where Kim Jones took over from Kris Van Assche in 2018. Following his groundbreaking tenure at Louis Vuitton, the artistic director set up his creative camp in the brand’s hallowed halls, bringing with him his persistent penchant for collaboration. Ever since taking the helm, Kim Jones has lived up to the promise of “immersing oneself in the maison’s archives,” shocking what was once an austere house with so much life, just as Christian Dior himself did in building the brand to the legacy it has become.

Sharing much more parallels than one would assume, Kim Jones values art and collaboration just as Christian Dior had in his time. It is a little known fact that prior to revolutionizing women’s wear post World War II with the new look, Monsieur Dior was cavorting in the art scene as a gallerist that exhibited the works of Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, to which he even named a blue from the Fall 1949 collection in honor of the aforementioned Spanish cubist painter.

The Power Of Collaborations According To Kim Jones

“I love to be surrounded by creative people. I really like working in a team, it brings out the best in my work,” Kim Jones underscores at a panel discussion at the Vogue Fashion Festival in 2019. “I love to share information, talk about creating and building things.” Orchestrating this at Dior Homme, the indefatigable and irreverent creative has held collaborations to a premium, striking partnerships with unlikely pundits that have since expanded the equity of the brand from classic to equally charming and compelling.

In the overarching exposition of Kim Jones at Dior Homme, the synergy of art and collaboration is even more apparent from the very first coming together with visual artist Kaws in his debut for Spring/Summer 2019 to the most recent coming together with renowned figurative artist and painter, Peter Doig for Fall 2021. This democratic and interdisciplinary approach to fashion, coupled with the inspired instinct of Kim Jones has stacked the desirability of Dior Homme, breaking itself from the confines of fashion and into the landscape of art. Just like Christian Dior, it isn’t a mere fascination for its form and function for Kim Jones, but rather, it is a progressive conversation that informs and inspires his vision.

For the two masters of the house, the art really does speak for itself. And as we continue to keep up with Kim Jones and all his pursuits of passion, it becomes abundantly clear why he was meant to helm the heritage of Dior. With him at the helm, the legacy lives on.

As it is rightfully so, let us look back at how Kim Jones fostered the art of collaboration over the years in these brilliant creative extensions.

DIOR HOMME

Since his induction to the history of Dior Homme, Kim Jones has turned collaboration into a seamless and searing art form. Far from being patronizing or worse, garish, the artistic director has introduced the portfolios of artists such as Brian Donnelly (aka KAWS), Hajime Soroyama, Raymond Pettibon, Daniel Arsham, Shawn Stussy, Alex Foxton, Stephen Jones, Amoako Boafo, Kenny Scharf, and Peter Doig. In reverence to Monsieur Dior, Kim Jones constantly turns the halls of the house into an exciting gallery of art that is pure as it is provocative.

KIM JONES AND A LOVE FOR ACCESSORIES

With Kim Jones in full charge, it will always be decidedly and definitively a visceral experience at Dior Homme. Apart from its collaboration with artists, the brand has made interesting partnerships for its accessories. Turning the classic into cutting-edge, Dior Homme has seen covetable takes on the accessories through the fascinating re-imaginations of 1017ALYX9SM, Yoon Ahn of Ambush, Rimowa, and the history-making Nike Jordan 1.

FENDI

Surely, taking over the indelible imprint of Karl Lagerfeld is a daunting task, but for modern Renaissance man, Kim Jones, this was just another challenge to conquer. With the colossal shadow looming over Fendi, Kim Jones made the moment of romance his own as he stepped into his role as artistic director for its Spring 2021 collection. As this was his first womenswear and couture outing, he made sure to collaborate with only the best, counting the likes of Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cara Delevigne, Bella Hadid, Adwoa Aboa and Demi Moore as his models, as well as of a Max Richter-scored atmosphere. 

CONVERSE

At this point, we all know Kim Jones to have a rabid shoe obsession. From buying Nike Jordans with his friends and sharing a lone pair to eventually realizing a dream through the highly anticipated Air Dior collaboration, the head honcho at Dior Homme has got game when it comes to sneakers. This is why it isn’t surprising that the prolific designer teamed up with Converse for a limited-edition capsule collection that brings together UK streetwear, nonchalant 90s style, and outdoor utility.

“The design approach for the shoe was very straightforward—taking a very classic shoe and then almost encasing it in something to protect it,” says Kim Jones of his work with the generational staple that is Converse. Combining streetwear and sportswear, he crafts the iconic Chuck 70s to be deliberately utilitarian, with signature canvas silhouette and retro TPU cage on the upper taking center stage. Elevated from the ground with an illusion of height with its stacked rubber sole, the prolific designer wraps the pair of Chuck 70s in tempered nostalgia, which is realized in a varnished overlay and speed-lace system that lines the shoe with a sleek surface for that added dash of cool and wet-weather function, too.

The collaboration, which includes crewneck sweaters, oversized shirts, and of course, the Kim Jones x Converse Chuck 70s high-tops in black and cream will be available soon at Converse Powerplant Store, Akimbo, and Commonwealth.

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