ANNALISA DEL VECCHIO WRITES – During last year’s Pre-Fall 2019 show, creative director Kim Jones of Christian Dior collaborated with famed Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama to unveil a series of retro-futuristic fashion pieces featuring signature elements of both experts’ brands. Dior director Jones said in an interview that he was compelled to work with Sorayama after viewing the artist’s exhibitions in Tokyo’s Nanzuka gallery.
What first inspired Jones was Sorayama’s silver Mylar, erotic, hyperreal displays exploring the limitations of desire. He felt that Sorayama would be a perfect fit for designs honoring Japan’s technological developments, particularly in robotics and artificial intelligence.
To explain further: For the Tokyo debut, Sorayama put at center stage a giant silver mylar female robot. He also designed a laser show to beam on the robots. This giant female robot was perhaps the main attraction, as it struck a dazzling pose of almost warrior-like strength.
Of note, this was neither Dior’s first collaboration with an artist (the latest were with Alyx, Rimowa, KAWS, Haruka Kojin, Li Shurui) nor Sorayama’s first flirtation with fashion. Sorayama has previously worked with designers such as Thierry Mugler.
The 2019 fall\winter collection included footwear, accessories, and graphical tops. In the footwear section, the B23 high-top sneaker took center stage. It featured: a blue canvas under a signature translucent panel, marked by one of Sorayama’s and Dior’s unique patterns— pink cherry blossoms and robotic sculptures similar to those in the 2019 show, as well as a traditional “DIOR” trademark on the midsole. In addition, combat boots on display were made of rubber and microfiber, giving them an ultra-modern technicity with a blend of military and punk sportswear styles.
And there was more! For example, Dior’s captivating collection of shirts decked with similarly unique floral and robotic prints reminiscent of the “gynoid” collection (a female robot or synthetic humanoid with female characteristics, like the giant female robot that inspired the pre-fall the collection)). Sorayama and Jones also unveiled a new variation of the famed Toile de Jouy fabric while maintaining the Christian Dior trademark nature patterns: dinosaur robots and gynoids mixed with cherry blossoms. In addition, by tweaking the tailleur oblique line on jackets and coats with a diagonal cut, the body is wrapped into a sleek silhouette.
Let’s add as well the accessories: Dior’s baseball cap was redesigned into a retro-futuristic, metallic theme with a military touch; the Dior logo included a smattering of cherry blossoms, the Christian Dior buckle was placed at the front for a sporty allure, and the cap had antenna straps to allow room to attach accessories on both sides. An improved line of Saddle bags came with features modeled after kawaii bags of the Dior street-chic accessory line: leopard camouflage canvas, gynoids, and floral prints as well as various accessories in different sizes, for the shoulder and belt.
Hajime Sorayama and Kim Jones are a perfect pair. Both share a great artistic vision, as stated by Sorayama in an interview . For a long time Japanese culture has been a critical influence on the work of Christian Dior. For instance, Dior’s signature knotted sashes were inspired by Japanese obi belts, and the draping technique on many of the brand’s dresses was drawn from Japanese kimonos. Dior’s Kim uses Sorayama’s work to carry on the company legacy by co-creating clothing pieces and presenting them on a runway with a vision of an imagined future … a good example, as they say, of “fashion forward.”