by Stephen Garner

For the winter 2021 collection, Dior men’s artistic director Kim Jones chose to collaborate with painter Peter Doig.

In this collection, Jones reinvents ceremonial wear, a veritable living link to the brand’s heritage, in silhouettes inspired by the house’s haute couture savoir-faire and infused with the British artist’s bewitching universe. Doig’s paintings are transposed onto the pieces, which morph into white canvases punctuated with virtuoso embroidery, jacquard, and vibrantly hued prints. A series of hats designed by Stephen Jones are enhanced with illustrations produced by hand by Doig, evoking the symbols of his imagination alongside Dior emblems.

Couture is itself a ceremony: Christian Dior himself described the ceremonial entry of his models for each new look. For winter 2021, uniforms with embroidery and embellishment — notably inspired by the Académie des Beaux-Arts — offer a masculine interpretation of couture. Decorations and motifs from the Dior archives are reinvented. Covered buttons are those of the iconic bar jacket; the gilded embroidery of rosella, an haute couture evening gown designed by Marc Bohan in the Sixties.

Two animalistic emblems were specially created by Doig for Dior, a likeness of Christian Dior’s dog Bobby, and a lion that simultaneously recalls characters from Doig’s paintings and a masquerade costume made by Pierre Cardin for Christian Dior in 1949, an echo evoking the steadfast friendships Mr. Dior had with artists like Jean Cocteau and Christian Bérard, a passion for art and artistry that the house has always cherished.

Jewelry and belts are embellished with a lion figure sculpted by Doig. Fabrics recreate canvasses and etchings through intricate jacquards and prints. The night sky taken from Doig’s Milky Way (1990) constellates various looks: the stars align with those of Dior. The palette directly references the work of Doig via Dior – soft, muted blues, navy, dusky mauve, Dior gray, alongside a brilliant yellow, blood-orange, and green -, vibrant hues expressing joie de vivre. Handcraft replicates brushstrokes through embroideries, knit, and hand-painting. Piping, bound trims, and baroque embroideries ‘frame’ garments, as if they themselves were paintings. The shapes and forms of the collection become canvasses for art.

The collaboration between Jones and Doig extends to the décor of the digital show: the stage is an artwork, an installation devised by the artist, of blue skies. Stacked sound systems reference those in Doig’s paintings such as Speaker/ Girl (2015).