The set of the show was a cresting wave that creates a tunnel before it breaks, where surfers glide, chased by sharks, towards an escape that does not exist
Mera and Don Rubell: husband and wife, collectors. Over the years, the couple successfully invested in artists before they became well-known. Cindy Sherman in 1978, Jeff Koons one year later, then Keith Haring and Richard Price in 1981. If they believed in the continuity of a new artist, the Rubells would purchase almost the entire body of their work. When the prices of these pieces went up, they would sell several of them for the budget to proceed with the next, and so on and so forth, thus generating exponential economic value. They made each decision without the support of an advisor or anyone from the industry. A simple middle class couple, Don a gynecologist, Mera a teacher. In 1999, the Rubells purchased the entire body of work, nearly 3,000 pieces, of Purvis Young — a penniless and self-taught artist from Wynwood, staging a solo show for him and donating five hundred paintings to other museums and institutions.
The Rubell family’s collection of modern art in Miami
That’s how modern art works — once an artist is in the Rubell collection, the value of their work increases. The sequence of an artist’s success creates monetary and not just economic value. The Rubells also invested in real estate and hospitality. Today, they own more than 7,200 works by at least a thousand artists, and they continue to travel on the lookout for more. In 1993, they purchased a warehouse previously used for confiscated goods, there placing the Rubell Family Collection. A new space is now located not far from the first, but there are a total of six former warehouse buildings in the entire complex. The doors of the Selldorf Architects-designed museum opened this past December when the entire neighborhood became the stage for Kim Jones’ show for Dior, with all the media frenzy that fashion can generate: press, celebrities, and digital coverage. It was December 3 and the entire industry was not in one of Miami’s impoverished neighborhoods, but in a district that responds to the name Wynwood.
The set of the show was a cresting wave that creates a tunnel before it breaks, where surfers glide, chased by sharks, towards an escape that does not exist. In the background is a fiery sunset. The show developed from a collaboration with Shawn Stussy — looks into the counterculture of surfing and the streets of Los Angeles — and took place this past December. One could say that Stussy was one of the founders of what is known today as streetwear: that combination of Japanese graphics and Venice Beach colors; synthetic pants to wear while riding a skateboard down a parabolic pothole-riddled street, while jumping around a basketball court or hanging out by a wall, inhaling mouthfuls of fragrant smoke. At the start of his career, Kim Jones worked in imports for the line created by Stussy at the start of the 1990s. A subversive street artist, marking walls that would one day be protected as forms of artistic expression. Streetwear has been absorbed as a stylistic element by Parisian and Italian fashion houses, bringing with it a combination of hand-embroidered fabrics on street shoes, fluorescent colors on tailored garments, decals of spray-painted writing, athletic bands, silver bracelets, rings, and tattoos with messages of civil responsibility.
The Dior men’s collection presented in Miami in December
It was almost twenty-five years ago that Shawn Stussy left the fashion world, finally reappearing this past December in collaboration with Jones in front of the Rubell Museum. The venue of the show was covered in a pattern as thick as a sweater, made up of the word Dior handwritten over and over again by Stussy; the curves of the letters varying in size and thickness. This motif was also printed on fabrics, a creative element in the fashion show, playing with the oblique logo on canvas. Shirts, colored berets, horizontal straps that hold a jacket closed. Waist packs become purses, a vest is part of a fleece. The best of Alexander McQueen’s British school returns with Kim Jones and finds its signature style in the cut of the sartorial garments. New pieces invented, new shapes to be worn, rediscovering the definition of cutter; cutting fabric into shapes that were not previously considered for covering or dressing oneself.
The graphic aesthetic of East London whose streets are well-represented in the imagery of the creative industry. Jones’ father was a geologist specializing in irrigation projects and his mother was Dutch. He lives in Paris in a hôtel particulier which once belonged to a historic genealogist of the French monarchy. Obsessed with books, Jones took on a collection of 1970s London garments dating from when Vivienne Westwood was still a phenomenon of costume design and not yet a fashion project. Last March, Jones’ issue of A Magazine was published with a reference for each letter, with A for Africa and his fondness for Naomi Campbell, to Amanda Lear’s Zero, as well as Japan, ornithology, vinyl records, punk culture, and all that can be considered queer. In December, Kim Jones designed a crash with the graffiti of Wynwood — a conceptual example as well as commercial emblem, the collaboration with Jordan, an American brand, in Florida, for the launch of Air Jordan for Dior.
The French seamen’s berets were designed by Stephen Jones — an English milliner, honored by the Order of the British Empire, a notable artisan-artist in the history of the Dior fashion house. The jewelry was designed by Yoon Ahn. As a young girl, in middle school, Yoon discovered fashion magazines and chose them as her obsession, understanding the mechanism, the confidence, and the approach. Without a college degree and without technical training, Yoon founded the brand Ambush and eventually became — after having won the LVMH award in 2017 — a part of the Dior Men crew. Back in 2015, she had cited Phoebe Philo, Rei Kawakubo, and Kim Jones as the designers she emulated. One must merely understand the approach — hers is the Skepta necklace with the lock, hers is the ability to create metallic jewelry, capable of demonstrating that streetwear has a valuable component, represented in the destruction of artificial formality, of a worldliness that is always surpassed. For the final entrance, a young man carries a canvas fan made from inlaid wood and organdy, an asymmetrical rainbow like a shield or a banner. He wears one last white men’s suit, a dark blue beret with striped embroidery and hand-sewn couture leather flowers on the jacket’s lapel — to create flowers like this requires a level of artisan craftsmanship normally reserved for the creation of a prototype. The end of this sequence is accompanied by 1980s pop music, a Whitney Houston cover.
Dior — what the French fashion house indicates is that both the women’s and men’s collections are Dior. In keeping with this fluid attitude, the men’s runway show acquires the same freedom as the women’s — men’s clothing looks good on women, a long-standing concept. Today, the opposite proudly asserts itself: women’s clothing looks good on men. The concept of fluidity becomes the focus of every conversation. Industry newspapers — which drive aesthetics and are the main vehicle of a changing culture — have long dismissed gender connotations. Man and Woman, as aesthetic concepts, will combine with one another, blend, until they cancel themselves out and complete each other. In terms of social life, couple relationships will no longer be considered, and that which could have been well-defined becomes fluid.
This is not an introductory concept, but rather, an ultimate description of Jones’ work. Blues and whites against dark blacks, as well as pink and purple tones. Double-breasted jackets. Suits with contrasting shirts. Tracksuits are pajamas. Feminine ponchos worn by nostalgic demons. Director bags. Short pants, printed python skin. Water bottles. Combat boots with embroidered canvas inserts — the diagonal Dior motif once again. Shelley Durkan’s casting: Luc Defont-Saviard, who becomes an icon of the fluid generation; it needs to be emphasized that this is the very moment in which we understand that the face of the young man is no longer original, but rather, conforms to the establishment of the male aesthetic. The definition of a fluid generation is ready to become an icon of the common masses. Fluid is not the destruction of gender — fluid is the pride of tearing down every barrier: sexual, social, racial. Fluid is not one who manifests their identity, but rather, one who is so sure of oneself that they no longer need to define their own identity; who do not bother with meaningless controversy, aware of the fact that our bodies are made up of 90% water and that water can get around any obstacle.
That is fluid — the ephebic that becomes powerful, the angelic that reveals itself as mysterious. Fluid is the mark of Kim Jones in this men’s fashion show: among tropical flowers and surfers’ graffiti, Versaille fans, colored leather flowers, Hibiscus red and Pacific blue.