The Beat Generation was the social and literary movement that originated in the United States in the 1950s, centered in the bohemian artist communities of New York and San Francisco. For Kim Jones, artistic collaborations are a recurring medium for storytelling. This time, he drew inspiration from Jack Kerouac, the Beat novelist and a perpetually fascinating intellectual figure, for the Fall 2022 Dior men’s collection.
Kerouac is known to have developed his own distinctive style of prose, associated with the spontaneity of expression allowed by free association of thoughts and stream of conscious writing. His contemporary and friend Allen Ginsberg called him "a very unique cat - a French Canadian Hinayana Buddhist Beat Catholic savant."
When Yves Saint Laurent headed the house of Dior, he was the first designer to propose a leather jacket as a haute couture piece. The famous “Chicago” jacket was a part of his own beatnik-inspired collection in 1960, and named after a city that plays a significant role in Kerouac’s “On The Road”. The preview film for Kim Jones’ new collection featured celebrities reciting a passage from that era defining book. The collection itself is a synthesis of the evocation of a historic counterculture movement and sartorial savoir-faire, a formula not so novel to fashion.
There was an array of checked tweed jackets reminiscent of the plaid one belonging to Kerouac preserved at the Beat Museum that Kim Jones visited as a teen; and at the same time referencing Marc Bohan’s designs for Dior. Illustrations from first-edition book jackets were hand-printed onto fabric. Vintage washed denim, a timeless American sportswear staple, seamlessly merged with couture materials. The flickers of sequins, glittery beanies and skinny ties added a striking vibrancy to the nonchalance of the collection.