Editor's Pick, Style

At Dior Winter 2024, the dancer lives for the applause

At Dior Winter 2024, the dancer lives for the applause

There’s Dior, there’s drama, then there’s a diorama of these two combined. Aptly titled “Nureyev”, Winter 2024 references the kitsch, theatricality and flamboyance of famed ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

At Dior Men, scale is key and visibility is vital. When front-row guests attend — Haerin of NewJeans, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, Jay Chou to name a few — pandemonium ensues as eager fans try to catch a glimpse of their idols outside of the show and on the livestream. On a giant, circular runway that rotates and elevates during the finale, Dior creates allure between itself, its ambassadors and their audiences who clamour for a piece of their faves — pieces that’ll soon be sold out once worn on award shows, events and airport arrivals.

Kim Jones bears the immense weight of having to constantly outdo himself as elaborate staging and star-studded guests become the baseline for a spectacle at Dior. Under his wing, the Dior man has evolved with each new muse and collaborator like KAWS, Sorayama and more recently TS Eliot. For bolder strokes and vivid detailing, Jones turned to his own past to paint his portrait of Nureyev. Having cited that his uncle — a ballet dancer turned photographer was a friend of Nuruyev’s, Winter 24 was a visual tale of Nuruyev’s life beyond the stage.

As a combined show that features both ready-to-wear and Dior Men’s demi-couture collection, Kim Jones draws parallels between these lines through a shared sense of tension. How are we the same and different when there’s an audience? Rather than a mere dialogue between masculinity and femininity, Winter 2024 balances paradoxes on a tight fulcrum. Rendered in thick, sumptuous materials that provided ample structure; the outerwear from this collection gave the ballet dancer an impenetrable armour over his soft, sheer tights.

Grooming was kept minimal and faces were powdered take away traces of shine, the Dior man was born to perform. Sparkly, encrusted mesh tanks and ear cuffs catch the light on stage perfectly, much like Nureyev’s pompous stage costumes. Fluid is the way Jones interprets the cannage quilts, conventionally seen in the women’s collection on satin crossbody bags and caddy-like camera bags. To go with candy-coloured calf-length socks, the dancer prefers dainty ballet flats and mary janes that sport a rubber outsole.

Beyond the sheer spectacle of the show, the drama of Dior Winter 2024 circles on an unapologetic spirit that blurs one’s off-and-on stage presence, where campness stands as an inherent trait, intertwined with the need to perform as a means of existence.

After all, what is drama without tension?

Written by LingJie Tuang