Kim Jones, the Creative Director for Dior Men, may be one of today’s most quintessentially contemporary designers, armed with a holistic global vision, an innate understanding of what makes a fashion “moment”—taking your bow with Vuitton-trench coated Kate and Naomi; sending stock-still models down a moving conveyor belt runway—and the ability to assemble and inspire a world-class team of collaborators across all divisions, from star milliner Stephen Jones and jewelry maven Yoon Ahn, to an impressive in-house team of textile researchers and design associates.
Jones’s global vision is in his DNA: As a child, he followed his father’s work as a hydrogeologist, which took the family to places such as Ecuador, Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Caribbean, where he grew up surrounded by people who used fabulous clothing as self-expression. “The very good designers are those who see things, travel the world, and are interested,” Jones has said. “That’s what makes them successful. It makes you understand what you need to do.” By his reckoning, his travels have included some one hundred trips to Tokyo, a city notable for its embrace of fashion and innovation in all fields, not least its early championing of streetwear, a prime interest of Jones’s that perhaps reached its apotheosis in his internet-breaking Fall 2017 Louis Vuitton collaboration with Supreme.
Jones studied at Central Saint Martins under the late Louise Wilson, the legendarily exacting and inspirational tutor whose dazzling alumni stable includes Erdem Moralioglu, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Simone Rocha, and Jonathan Saunders. “Louise made me believe in myself and helped me realize what I wanted to do…” says Jones, “which made me quite brave…. She was a great listener and giver of advice, as well as being incredibly funny.”
Jones graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2002—John Galliano bought half his thesis collection—and established his eponymous brand a year later, which he supported with numerous consultancies. Lee McQueen took an interest in what he was doing and became something of a mentor and a friend.
In 2008, Jones was appointed Creative Director of Dunhill, which he described then as “sort of a sleeping beauty.” His work there garnered him the British Fashion Council’s Menswear Designer of the Year Award. The global luxury groups were watching and circling, and in 2011, Jones assumed the same position at Louis Vuitton Men’s, a brand with wanderlust in its soul. In 2018, he became the Creative Director of Dior Homme, promptly rechristening it Dior Men. His debut collection deftly exemplified his powerful blending of the contemporary zeitgeist with Christian Dior’s legacy—including that couturier’s passion for flowers, his romantic embrace of the ancien regime, his interest in the Far East as a source of inspiration, and his relationship with contemporary artists. Prince Nikolai of Denmark opened the show in powder blue and white (Jones’s mother is Danish), circling a Brobdingnagian flower statue created with 70,000 roses and peonies by the artist KAWS, and Jones took his bow with his jewelry designer (and Ambush co-founder) Yoon Ahn. Jones had already dressed his first client, David Beckham, in formal morning-suit attire for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.