When word broke that Dior’s Kim Jones would be teaming up with Shawn Stussy to create a host of pieces for the brand’s pre-fall 2020 collection, the internet...lost it. Stussy had been out of the design game for almost 20 years, his namesake brand in other hands—so how was Jones able to convince the streetwear (and surfwear, and basically every other kind of -wear) OG to get back to work? Well, according to Stussy, it actually wasn’t that hard. “I’ve been away for a lot of years so I think of big corporations as something different, but Dior’s more soulful than any of these surf companies believe it or not. Way more cool like Stussy was,” the designer told me ahead of the house’s Miami show on Tuesday. “The last 10 years, there have been a number of offers to come and do something and it just didn’t feel right. But on this one the stars just lined up. I know a lot of it had to do with being Kim, a lot of it had to do with being Dior. It holds a rare place.”
Armed with references from ‘60s Dior collections created during the Yves Saint Laurent-designed days (namely that designer’s Miami Nights and Floride outings), plus five black-and-white graphics made by Stussy, the two powerhouses got to work on a retro, surf-inspired collection that would nonetheless fit perfectly in the 2019 Miami where the show took place. The show opened with a pink and blue logo cashmere sweater—a strong, early signal of the kind of funky, beach-bum-with-a-trust-fund gear customers can expect from the collection when it drops in April. Beaded camp shirts, leather short shorts (get ready to show off all of your thigh), and baja sweaters followed, along with Jones’ fresh take on suiting for the season, one of his signatures at the house. Punctuated with berets and bucket hats, metal crossbody saddle bags, plus Air Dior sneakers (a luxury take on the Jordan 1), the brand made sure all of a hypebeasts accessory needs were covered.
Though many were quick to hit the Instagram comments and argue that the collaboration came out of left field (or was just a play at recreating past streetwear collab magic,) Jones sees it otherwise. In past collections, he’s worked with the likes of Raymond Pettibon and KAWS; as far as he’s concerned, Stussy occupies the same beloved turf. “I wanted to work with an artist and Shawn, for me, I consider an artist. When I was at school all the kids knew how to write his signature,” said the artistic director backstage before the show. “Having something that is that recognizable becomes a piece of art,” Jones reasoned.
Ultimately, it’s about focusing on good design, not labeling stuff, he continued. “It's upscaling, and I think that's a nice way to treat something that you respect so much. You see Michael Jordan’s a hero; Shawn's a hero, Christian Dior's a hero. I think it's looking at different things from different timelines. What would Christian Dior be looking at now? That's what I think about. I'm not taking the brand down. I'm lifting things up and innovating it to the Dior status.”
Originally Appeared on GQ