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Words by Engie Hassan

If you were Kim Jones, Dior’s esteemed Artistic Director and spent your childhood growing up in Africa, where would you hold the Pre-Fall 2023 Menswear collection? Here’s a hint, it’s titled ‘Celestial.’

If you guessed Egypt then you’d be right. But not just anywhere in Egypt… Kim Jones’ catwalk was not just near the Sphinx’s head, it was set directly in front of the Great Pyramids. Cool doesn’t even begin to explain what this show brought to the fashion table. Put your fashion-archeologist’s hats on and let’s dig in.

Kim Jones has been serving as Dior Homme’s Artistic Director since 2018, and while he and Dior have a shared love and tradition for holding Fashion Shows in unique places, their last Pre-Fall Collection was in London in 2021, as COVID put a damper on events of this scale. So, yesterday’s show was less an old tradition and more the start of something entirely different: bringing culture and fashion together in unexpected places.

Although the show marks Dior’s first in Egypt, the French fashion house’s relationship with the country dates back to 2004. It is when Dior’s then-Creative Director John Galliano took inspiration from his travels to Egypt to create the iconic Spring/Summer couture collection replete with cultural details. I still remember the collection and how how each look took you back to the ancient times of the Pharaohs.

Against a backdrop of the Pyramids of Giza, Dior have taken fashion to an extreme that was unimaginable. The menswear shown was nostalgic and classical, majestic and awakening. Dior made history in front of history. Using the Great Pyramids as a mystical backdrop, Kim finds a way to showcase the ancient structures into the future style with a contemporary range that saw models become Pharaohs.

The show was pure cinematic elegance. Kim’s inspiration for the collection was both derived from Dior archives and of interpretations of the future; melding together to create another brilliant collection and a gasping-for-air moment.

The collection was a sea of neutrals, refined-suiting, draped knitwear, graphic tees were also on display. Zippered trench coats, billowing bomber jackets, delicate blazers and snakeskin outerwear checked all the right boxes. It was outerwear heaven, or a ‘celestial’ gift from the Pharaohs. Adventure was definitely the inspiration for the wicker basket backpacks and footwear which were accessorised with double-layered buckle belts, oversized hand warmers and tulle scarves.

As an Egyptian-American Woman in fashion, my culture inspires me when I dress clients from all over the world, from all walks of life and backgrounds. Whether it’s adding accessories that are statement pieces or going bold with gold like Kim and the Pharaohs did.

I have always been a fan of anyone who could so effortlessly step between two different worlds and seamlessly blend them, and while people in the past have tried to bring Egyptian culture into fashion before, this is on an entirely different level. Look at the detail, the trims, the silhouettes, the gold, the beautiful headpieces. Kim teleported us to a museum for his show, a location that the world’s museums source their artefacts, at the site of the over 4,000-year-old monument.

Having spent his childhood growing up in Africa, Kim Jones bounced around between Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana. So, when deciding on the theme for the Men’s show, Kim shared with WWD that “the celestial collection celebrates a lifelong passion for travel.” Over 4,000 years ago, these Great Pyramids were created with an eye to the sky, in some sort of attempt to connect with the great beyond. If you ask me, Kim not only did that but he also connected cultures.