One of many divine sights that dot Egypt’s skyline, the Great Pyramid of Giza is stunning, silent, wondrous proof that civilizations, no matter how robust or refined, have a sell-by date. For the pharaohs it was around 3000 years. But in the shadows of this colossal tomb, a much younger dynasty claimed a new, mysterious age. It’s called House Dior, and it’s still very much in the royal era.
A fall collection that revealed itself in the scorching Giza desert in the evening was textbook Kim Jones: vast, elegant, cinematic. The tombs of ancient pharaohs lit up, a snake of LEDs illuminating the runway that formed to the sound of pounding techno. Jones is an auteur as much as he is a designer, drawing from both the Dior archive and the world beyond to create a pure spectacle. The man knows how to put one on performance. When the invitations – bone white and handwritten, of course – listed the venue as Cairo, fashion’s chatter hours were right to be gassed.
The clothes were a sea of neutrals in non-neutral equipment, as sand, stone and white were decoupaged with tulle scarves and watery layers. It was futuristic, as it so often is with Jones, and packed with tailoring that never tried too hard; jackets that are generous in the shoulder and sleeve, but on top of the turtleneck and technical parts. The synthesis of tailoring and sportswear is difficult to achieve, and yet Jones manages to make it pop. It’s his signature. It fed into his party boys off Dunehis planet Arakkis, armor and all, with the house monogram as the base plate for purple body vests. Elsewhere, there were more than a few balayage space helmets. Lack of oxygen, but make it Dior.
There was also a bit of sci-fi superstition. Knitwear in bursts of color was souped up with the bread-and-butter of the superstitious: the Illuminati pyramid was in flames in one graphic; constellations of the zodiac in another.
Under the stars and before the quiet wonder of the pyramids, it all felt a little mysterious. That’s kind of the point. As both a fall collection premiere and a birthday party for Dior’s 75th year, Jones wants the celebration to be spiritual, to focus on the cosmos—much like the ancient Egyptians, who built the show’s stunning backdrop to reflect the stellar orbit of Orion’s belt above. “With this anniversary and the collections we’ve done that are all intertwined and building to a conclusion, it felt fitting to do something really special at the end of the year,” Jones said GQ ahead of the performance. “It is the summation of past, present and future in one place – in front of the Great Pyramid.”
According to the show notes, Monsieur Christian Dior was a superstitious man himself, and found his own “lucky star” by stumbling upon an trinket on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Some would have found little meaning in that. But Dior saw more than meaning: it was a message, a premonition that his destiny was in haute couture, and he was known to use his astrological beliefs to guide the house.