June 19, 2024


Built General Tough

In Egypt, Dior Reinvented the Fashion Blockbuster


One of many divine sights that puncture the horizons of Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Giza is awesome, silent, wondrous proof that civilisations, no matter how robust, or how refined, have a sell-by date. For the Pharaohs, that was around 3,000 years. But in the shadows of this colossal tomb, a much younger dynasty laid claim to a new, mystical age. Its name is House Dior, and it’s still very much in its king era. 

A fall collection that revealed itself in the scorched Giza desert at nightfall was textbook Kim Jones: vast, elegant, cinematic. The tombs of ancient pharaohs lit up, a snake of LEDs illuminating the runway into existence to the sound of pounding techno. Jones is an auteur as much as he is a designer, pulling from both the Dior archive and the world beyond it to create pure spectacle. The man knows how to put on a show. When the invitations—bone white and handwritten, naturally—listed the venue as Cairo, fashion’s chattering classes were right to be gassed.

The clothes were a sea of neutrals in unneutral gear, as sand, stone and whites were decoupaged with tulle scarves and watery layers. It was futuristic, as it so often is with Jones, and peppered with tailoring that never tried too hard; jackets that are generous in the shoulder and sleeve, but atop roll-necks and technical pieces. The synthesis of tailoring and sportswear is difficult to achieve, and yet Jones manages to make it crackle. It’s his signature. It fed into his party boys of Dune‘s planet Arakkis, armour and all, with the house monogram serving as the base plate for lilac body vests. Elsewhere there were more than a few balayage space helmets. Oxygen shortage, but make it Dior. 

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Getty Images

There was also a little superstition to the sci-fi. Knits in bangs of colours were souped up with the bread-and-butter of the superstitious: the Illuminati pyramid was ablaze in one graphic; constellations of the Zodiac in another.

Under the stars and before the silent wonder of the pyramids, it all felt a little mystical. That’s kinda the point. As both a Fall collection premiere and a birthday party for Dior’s 75th, Jones wants the celebration to be spiritual, to focus on the cosmos—much like the ancient Egyptians, who built the show’s breathtaking backdrop to reflect the star path of Orion’s Belt above. “With this anniversary and the collections’ we’ve done that are all entwined and building to a conclusion, it felt appropriate to do something very special at the end of the year,” Jones told GQ ahead of the show. “It is the summing up of past, present and future in a place—in front of the Great Pyramid.”

As per the show notes, Monsieur Christian Dior himself was a superstitious man, and found his own ”lucky star” by tripping over a trinket on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Some would have found little meaning in it. But Dior saw more than meaning: there was a message, a premonition that his destiny was in haute couture, and he was famously known for using his astrological faith to guide the house.