Numéro Homme: So, darling, how’s it going at Dior?
Kim Jones: Really well! I love it! It’s great. Very different to Louis Vuitton, because Dior – as opposed to a trunk-maker and manufacturer of leather goods – is a ready-to-wear fashion house with its own workshop. Here, everything moves very quickly; the archives are incredible. But I’ve only been working for the house for a little over a year, so for the moment, I have mainly focused on Christian Dior: what he did, what his life was like... He was a fashion designer, obviously, as well as a gallery owner, a collector, a nature lover… All these things that he and I actually have in common.
How on earth did you manage to pull off your collections at Louis Vuitton without a workshop at your disposal?
For each collection, we started with pictures of about 100 trunks and step by step retraced the journey they took, before embarking on our own travels to find inspiration and gather information. We then returned to Paris to design the collection. We also delved into the maison’s archives, so as to draw on the past and try to combine it with the present to come up with something new.
OK, but how did you make the clothes without the help of any ‘petites mains’?
The clothes were made at a factory, then sent to us in Paris for the final adjustments. When I was at Louis Vuitton, I designed 12 collections per year, so didn’t exactly have time to go around the manufacturers. But when you work for a company as influential as Louis Vuitton, your contacts tend to show some flexibility.
At Dior, are the workshops used for the men’s collections the same as those used for the women’s ready-to-wear and couture collections?
No, there are three separate workshops: one for haute couture, one for women’s ready-to-wear and another one for menswear, ours, which is in the same building as the studio, downstairs, making things much easier and smoother. That being said, I knew exactly what to expect when signing with Dior, considering that at the time, a handful of other luxury labels had offered me the role of artistic director…
I am not going to tell you anything else about that, but I’m sure you know perfectly well. The fact of the matter is that I had dinner with Mr Arnault [Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH] and Pietro [Pietro Beccari, Chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture]. They told me that they hoped that I would join the Maison. I like Mr Arnault very much – he’s someone who understands the product very well – and I’ve known Pietro for many years, as he is one of the people who recruited me at Vuitton. It’s incredibly easy to work with him, because he is very straightforward and direct. If he doesn’t like a piece or feels that something doesn’t work, he just tells me without beating around the bush. It was a completely natural choice for me.