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Dior Men Summer 2025Photography by Lara Giliberto

Why Kim Jones’ Dior Men Summer 2025 Collection Was Uniquely Personal

Melding his own fixations with Christian Dior’s, the designer’s Dior Men Summer 2025 collection showcased ceramics by the South African artist Hylton Nel – and Jones’ febrile imagination in weaving a tale

Lead ImageDior Men Summer 2025Photography by Lara Giliberto

Christian Dior was a man of obsession – hey, his New Look threw women back into the Edwardian clothes of the mother he idolised since childhood, ripping apart the rulebook of what fashion could be and causing a retro revolution that shifted the course of fashion. John Galliano was so taken by that idea that he once produced a show quoting Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and casting Dior as the first fashion fetishist with a major mother complex. And, in a sense, Dior’s men’s artistic director Kim Jones follows suit – not with the psychobabble, but by melding his own fixations with Dior’s to create collections that are as uniquely personal as the founder’s own.

His Summer 2025 outing showcased ceramics by the South African artist Hylton Nel – slightly surreal totemic renderings of cats and dogs, nodding to both Ancient Greek and Egyptian art, they were blown up beyond human size to punctuate the show space. The first model marched out clutching an original, borrowed from Jones’ own collection. Can’t be more personal than that.

“He’s an old friend of mine,” said Jones, 24 hours or so before his show – he meant that they’d known each other for 12 years (although given that Nel is 82, another interpretation is true). “I just love his work – and I wanted to take that idea of working with an artist and working through the Dior archives.” Jones relayed that at the breakneck speed that characterises his patter about his collections. That can sometimes make things seem far simpler than they are. “That’s a ceramic collar,” he said – about a tie-necked accessory reworked as a piece of sculpture-cum-jewellery, sat stiffly atop a fluid suit as if an emblem of the innate and unique possibilities of creation within a couture house like Dior. Namely, you want rigour, it won’t move; you want flou, it’ll flow like the wind. There were overt references to Dior – specifically to Yves Saint Laurent, whose melded masc-femme style and love of British wools and tweeds obviously appeal to what Jones does, and what he likes. There were also archival shapes, nods in coats and even in a pair of trousers, whose criss-cross cutting lapping each leg recalled Dior’s 1949 Ligne Ciseaux. “Deconstructing womenswear, and putting it back together as menswear.”

As always with Jones, there were multiple levels to this Dior show. Nel’s work appears physically – sigils drawn from his patterns became decorative motifs printed or studded through clothes – but also ideologically, connecting with the notion of craft evidently in his hand-worked clay pieces. “This is the lifeblood of Dior,” Jones said. And it came in all forms – there was a Delft blue and white patterned jacket painstakingly embroidered with patterns taken from Nel’s ceramics, that required 600 hours of embroidery to realise; it was presented alongside handmade hats created by Stephen Jones in collaboration with Earth Age, a South African community project based in Cape Town. They dangled ceramic gewgaws, which were created by craftspeople outside of Paris in emulation of Nel’s work, while Nel himself created those ceramic collars.

Again, it was a literal extolling of the capabilities of couture. And there were nods to craft – the clog shoes both had a sense of the hand to their making, and recalled working clothes, which were also nodded to through utilitarian shapes. A quote splashed across the invite and emblazoned across some of the clothes nodded to how personal Jones’ interpretation of the house is: Dior for my real friends. It’s a fun pun, based on the old adage of “champagne for my real friends/real pain for my sham friends”. It featured on one of Nel’s pieces, drawn from Love Is the Devil, the John Maybury film about Francis Bacon. Jones collects Bacon, he admires Maybury – and there’s the old art crossover of Christian Dior’s earliest ambition to be a gallerist. All roads lead to Dior.

The fascinating thing with Jones’ collections is how readily he can fuse his own universe with that of Dior – which illustrates both the elasticity of Dior’s heritage and Jones’ febrile imagination in weaving a tale. He has an epic vision, which somehow results in clothes with a paradoxical level of love, intimacy and warmth. It’s a magical mix.