Dior brings “California Couture” to Dogtown for the 2023 Men’s Resort show – WWD
For Kim Jones, like many, Venice Beach was her first image of Southern California — and that was by far, idealizing surfing and skateboarding, and watching “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” and videos of No Doubt in the 1990s.
“When I was growing up in England, Venice Beach was a fantasy where all the kids were cool, and Eli is one of the cool kids,” he said during a preview of the Dior menswear collection he designed with Venice. multihyphenate Eli Russell Linnetz from ERL.
When Jones finally arrived in Los Angeles as a teenager, it didn’t disappoint. “I just loved it, it was seedy glamour,” he said of the carnival-like promenade scene, where today peddlers, hipsters, hippies and backers hang out, practice and maybe grab a $16 loaf of bread at the Gjusta market.
So on Thursday night, Dior shut down a block in the heart of it all on Windward and Pacific Avenues, even adding its own letters “ERL Dior” to the historic “Venice” road sign that is the Hollywood sign’s more eccentric cousin to its is.
The ‘California Couture’ resort collection was showcased on an ocean blue runway with two cresting waves for backdrops, a sunset and a sea of humanity in the background, including colorful figures carrying skateboards , rollerblading, scooters with boomboxes behind them, peddling beach ponchos and more.
“The block is for me a classic cinematographic material. I don’t like fancy places…I like places that have a culture and a variety of people, which means good comes with bad,” Jones said of the beachfront spot, popular with tourists, where gentrification confronts homelessness in a whirlwind of trendy restaurants, beach murals, tattoo parlors, cannabis dispensaries, souvenir shops and bike rental stands.
“California Couture” refers not only to Christian Dior’s time on the West Coast and America’s influence on the growth of his business, but also to the region’s rise to prominence in the fashion landscape. of today.
“The way of dressing in California has a huge influence on the way people around the world dress. Look at Shawn Stüssy, for example, how his brand created a way that we all started dressing when we were teenagers,” the designer said. “It’s relaxed, it’s all about comfort and outdoor living. There’s a certain dressiness in this collection, but it’s not in the formal sense. classic, it’s through rich fabrications…it’s almost evening wear,” he explained of the high but relaxed fit mixed with brightly colored surf and skate-inspired grunge shorts. sweaters, logo tube socks and Connage quilted tops, all adorned with Linnetz embroidery, sequined trims and Tinseltown garlands, and nods to Parisian haute couture, such as elegant veiled hats and river necklaces of diamonds.
The history of Venice dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was founded in 1905 by Abbot Kinney as a seaside resort that attracted early Hollywood celebrities including Carole Lombard and Cary Grant, and filmmakers like Orson Welles, who used it as a stand-in for a town Mexican border in “Touch of Evil”. .”
Venice is also at the heart of LA’s architecture and art history, where Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, Larry Bell, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and many more had studios before they were even born. of Linnetz.
A creator of the Next Generation revival himself, Linnetz, 31, has assisted David Mamet, shot his first film with Steven Spielberg’s son, worked with artists Kanye West and Lady Gaga on everything from music videos to set designs and touring merchandise, designed graphics for Comme des Garçons and photographed campaigns for Skims.
He launched his menswear collection at the Dover Street Market Paris showroom in 2020, has since added womenswear and childrenswear, and is now one of eight finalists for the LVMH Prize for Young Designers, which will be unveiled on 2 June.
“I love his work, we have a lot of friends in common,” Jones said, comparing Linnetz’s American eye for photography to Richard Avedon, only through a West Coast lens. “I’ve done these big successful collaborations, so it’s nice to work with young people.”
The pair met through Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, artistic director of many Dior menswear campaigns, and Dover Street Market managing director Adrian Joffe.
“There’s a lot of American iconography in the collection,” Linnetz said, pointing to a classic graduation gown made from suit fabric. “I love all the upside down suits…you have an all gray ‘North by Northwest’ business suit by Cary Grant, but with skate shoes, a coat that looks like it was found at the thrift store but with an embroidery on the neck, and a tie which is a trompe-l’oeil photocopy of a tie.The outfit is quite chaotic, but in this incredible Dior silhouette.
One of the most dazzling pieces is a pair of satin basketball shorts with luxurious crystal and shell embroidery. “It was something from my archives that Kim found he wanted to bring to the collection. … Another was my faded sweaters, and it was cool to do the Dior version,” he said of mohair sweaters embroidered with tinsel waves. “It’s a rapprochement of these two houses.”
The designers referenced several Dior codes, including the Bar and Diorissimo jackets that Jones introduced into the men’s vocabulary, rendered in quilted silk, giving them a polished slouch look. Linnetz adapted John Galliano’s newspaper prints, changing the Gazette to the Venice Vanguard, and including his own surf photographs, advertisements from the 1970s, and the 1905 municipal announcement about the creation of Venice Beach.
The Dior Saddle bag is rendered in garland as well as cast gold metal with a skater-boy chain handle, and the sunglasses are named after Linnetz’s dog Lucky.
“Kim is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, he creates without any ego, and relies on his team. It was a cool thing to see and learn about,” Linnetz said. He told me: ‘I’ll tell you if it’s not enough Dior, if not, do what you want.’ He knows how to work with artists and make them discover what they want to tell.
As for what Linnetz enjoys most about his hometown, he said, “I love that it’s quiet mayhem. It could be the fog coming in and being silent or someone shouting outside your window. I love how unexpected it is and I feel like the collection itself is unexpected. The colors can look bright because Kim has so much restraint, control, and focus, and I’m a bit more chaotic. But there is also a perfection in chaos.