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The world of California skateboarders according to Dior and Eli Russell Linnetz

Yesterday, Kim Jones and the Venice Beach designer explored the concept of California Couture

The world of California skateboarders according to Dior and Eli Russell Linnetz Yesterday, Kim Jones and the Venice Beach designer explored the concept of California Couture

The hyper-saturated summer vibe of Venice Beach, the oversized silhouettes of early 2000s pop-punk, the gentrified streets of Dogtown, and the waterfront populated by skateboarders, hippies, surfers, and all manner of sunburned-skinned adventurers - it was this imagery that Kim Jones wanted to inject into his SS23 collection for Dior Homme, for which she called as guest designer the cool kids of all cool kids: the highly launched Eli Russell Linnetz, who, after reaping a string of successes collaborating with some of the best creatives on the contemporary scene and seeing his creations go viral in recent years, has now hit the mainstream with the capsule co-designed with the brand. Jones must have liked Linnetz and his ERL aesthetic quite a bit considering how Linnetz is one of the finalists for the LVMH Prize of which Jones is a juror and whose winner will be announced in June. Nonetheless, the success of the collection is beyond question, with the languages of the two brands blending seamlessly with each other in an apparent seamless way, dredging up one side of Dior, that of the 1990s, with references to the Gianfranco Ferrè era and its too-often forgotten couture.

Citing the world of vintage and upcylcing techniques, tailored suits were turned inside out, with the silk lining of jackets on the outside and ties worn inside out. Other suits were oversized, and seemed to quote those still seen in old Christian Dior Monsieur catalogs, paired with monumental sneakers à-la-Etnies covered in the famous Cannage diamond pattern that Dior normally uses for Lady Dior handbags but which in recent seasons has been translocated for jackets and, now, footwear imprinted on silk and leather. The same Cannage returns in the form of a quilt in pants, bags and faux leather jackets. A cape worn with dramatic flair by Jones's favorite model, Thatcher Thornton, and adorned with the red tartan that Linnetz had already used extensively in his collections, was a subtle but effective citation both to Dior's FW91 collection designed by Gianfranco Ferrè, where Linda Evangelista wore a long red cape in a famous look, and to the 1992 Couture collection and worn by Karen Mulder. Elsewhere, nods to 1990s Dior were substituted for Galliano's Couture 2000, with a T-shirt reminiscent of the famous newspaper dress but reimagining it with graphics similar to hippie concert flyers while the generous use of gold chains with the brand's lettering were another nod to the Galliano years and those early 2000s represented, in the front row, by Christina Aguilera.

This collaboration, only the latest in the huge repertoire of link-ups Kim Jones has made us witness over the years, represents a kind of mirror opposite to the famous collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme from the FW17 season: if that one brought streetwear into luxury, here it is luxury that "takes to the streets" (literally, since the show was set on a street on Windward Avenue) and virtuosically recreates the staples of the Venice Beach aesthetic by flipping suits, recreating the woolly textures of mohair and frayed jeans. The virtuosity enacted by Jones and Linnetz goes so far as to encrust sweaters and pants with sequins and crystals, to make a match of knitwear and "male minaudiere" (i.e., a Saddle Bag reduced to microscopic size) resemble a glittering cheerleader pompom following Linnetz's fascination with alternative, hyper-soft textures. Still with Venice's sporty vibe in mind, there were bike jerseys, running shorts, blue-tinged silkscreens on shirts depicting bikers, and more literal citations to ERL's repertoire such as the color gradient mohair sweater and the puffer jacket with the wave motif.

Regardless of the language and the scenario with which Jones wanted to reread Dior's heritage this season, exploring it through the different sensibilities of the various guest designers, the designer's ability to focus on the product, to produce items connected by his common sensibility, so balanced between everyday and luxury, without getting lost in extravagance but also without ever fossilizing, remains extraordinary. But above all, keeping in mind that fashion is not an abstract thing but, rather, very solid, concrete, dropped into a reality where the public can appreciate it and not lost in who knows what remote and fanciful planet.