Placed on every seat at Dior’s AW24 men’s show was a photography book filled with pictures of Soviet-born, influential ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. The images were shot by Colin Jones, a former British Royal Ballet dancer turned photojournalist, who’s also Kim Jones’s late uncle. A meeting of the designer’s own lineage and the legacy of the house, Nureyev’s dance partner in 1965’s Romeo and Juliet was Margot Fonteyn, famously a client of Monsieur Dior.
“The collection or rather collections, are about contrast,” wrote Jones, who bookended this season’s outing with 20 breathtaking men’s couture looks (the first he’s ever designed for Dior). “It’s the difference between onstage and backstage; the life of Nureyev theatrically and in reality. Here it is a meeting of the dancer’s style with that of the Dior archive.”
With ‘Dance of the Knights’, famously scoring Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, flooding the show space, out came a procession of models in off-duty dancer looks. Think one-piece short suits, streamlined tailoring and an abundance of quietly opulent coats. They were worn with Mary-Jane style ballet flats paired with silk socks in raspberry and aqua blue, and Stephen Jones-designed berates and twisted turbins, which nodded to Nureyev’s personal wardrobe.
Stepping into the spotlight, it was Jones’ couture designs – uplifted on a revolving platform – that made for a finale akin to a standing ovation-worthy performance at the Paris Opera Ballet. Out came kimonos (based on ones Nureyev wore throughout his life) which were hand made using Hikihaku weaving techniques, walking alongside denim jackets with bedazzled collars, shimmering fringed shirts and croc-effect leather bombers that hung effortlessly off the shoulder. With each Dior show, you wonder how Kim Jones is going to outdo himself when next season’s show arrives: this could be one of his greatest yet.
Photography courtesy of Dior.