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Dior Men’s Show to pay tribute to “On the Road” writer Jack Kerouac – WWD

By on December 9, 2021 0

PARIS After making collaborations the cornerstone of his tenure at Dior, men’s clothing artistic director Kim Jones is changing course with his pre-fall line, due to be unveiled in London on Thursday.

The collection draws inspiration from writers of the Beat Generation, captured in Jack Kerouac’s 1957 literary classic ‘On the Road’, and the presentation will include an exhibition of rare books and manuscripts from Jones’ personal collection, accessible exclusively to guests attending the show at the Olympia Exhibition Center in London.

The designer has been collecting hard-to-find books for the past fifteen years, but he’s spoken more about them since moving into his sprawling new home in London in 2019, where his collections are lovingly displayed.

“I have a lot of first editions of Jack Kerouac from his family and friends, and it’s a pretty big collection – around 100 books – so I thought about using it,” Jones said. “I love the way the Beat Poets changed their way of thinking.”

A first edition of “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac from the private collection of Kim Jones.
Courtesy of Dior / Copyright Peter Harrington

The designer has interrupted his collaborations at Dior, after working with leading artists such as Kaws, Daniel Arsham, Peter Doig and Amoako Boafo, and teaming up last season with rapper Travis Scott on his spring 2022 collection.

While the collection has received critical acclaim, its fate is uncertain following the deaths of 10 people at Scott’s Astroworld Festival last month, putting the musician’s ties with his partners and sponsors in jeopardy. “This is something that we are evaluating and discussing internally, and we will monitor the situation,” Pietro Beccari, president and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, told WWD last month.

Jones spoke to WWD during a visit to Paris in late October, before the Astroworld disaster, meaning the decision to put collaborations on hold had already been made before the deadly turn of events.

“There weren’t any collaborations for a while, but it was my choice,” he said. “At Dior, we did three collaborations this year, then the other 10 collections that we did are not with collaborators, so you know, it’s only a small part of my work, but people don’t. not see. “

Instead, he’s found another way to connect his designs to something he loves. “When you attach something that interests you, people like it and customers respond to it. They like to know more about the person, but it’s something that doesn’t really concern me, so it’s helpful because I’m pretty private, ”Jones explained.

Adding seriousness to this season’s tribute, he worked with Kerouac’s nephew, Jim Sampas, literary executor of the Jack Kerouac estate. The exhibition is curated by Sammy Jay, Head of the Modern Literature Department at London-based Peter Harrington Rare Books, which touts itself as Europe’s largest antique book dealer.

Kim jones

Kim jones
Courtesy of Fendi

It centers around Kerouac and his sidekicks Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg, who inspired the characters Dean Moriarty and Carlo Marx in “On the Road”, but also encompasses the larger culture they ushered in. There are 66 books, over 15 letters and manuscripts, six vinyl records, a poster, a few drawings – and even Ginsberg’s credit card.

“I mean, I have things like Virginia Woolf’s teapot in my house. I have Roger Fry’s office, I have all these different things. There’s an energy that comes out of some things, especially in my library, because I have an incredible amount of books in there, ”Jones said.

Jay has been helping the designer research rare editions over the past two years and has previously worked with him on a book and manuscript curation for British group Bloomsbury, including Virginia Woolf, for Jones’ haute couture debut for Fendi at the Paris Fashion Week. in January 2021.

“In her collection, Kim is rarely content with ‘just’ a first edition. Most of his books are also inscribed by the author for an important person, ”Jay said in a statement. For example, Jones owns several copies of “On the Road”, including a first edition bearing the inscription of José Garcia Villa, a poet from Greenwich Village who appears in the novel.

“I have [Kerouac’s] my mother’s copy of ‘On the Road’ and I have Lucien Carr’s ‘On the Road’ copy, and also Gore Vidal’s, ”he said. Then there are the books inscribed by “Junkie” author William Burroughs to artist David Hockney; Ginsberg to painter Georgia O’Keeffe, or poet Ted Joans to Andy Warhol.

Items on display also include Lou Reed’s hand-corrected original lyric drafts to songs from the Velvet Underground debut album, and a rare first edition of “Une saison en enfer” by French poet Arthur Rimbaud, which has inspired generations. of rebels.

“Kim has a lot of choices so in making the selection I had to think about the story we wanted to tell. Camaraderie is important here – especially now it is important to celebrate and remember the creative possibilities of the people who come together. The selection, as such, is highly eclectic, yet deeply interconnected, ”Jay explained.

A vintage edition of Jack Kerouac "Visions of Cody" from the private collection of Kim Jones.

A vintage edition of “Visions of Cody” by Jack Kerouac from the private collection of Kim Jones.
Courtesy of Dior / Copyright Peter Harrington

Jones incorporates designs from several book covers into his collection. “When ‘On the Road’ was written, it was around the same time that Christian Dior was changing things,” he said. “So there’s this kind of synergy that I find interesting: two different ways of approaching the way you change the world. “

Sampas considers it as a sort of teaser for the 100th anniversary of Kerouac’s birth on March 12, 2022. public, ”he said in a statement.

Jones traces his love of books back to his mother, who established several libraries at African universities during her childhood, which moved to Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana.

“We had a huge amount of books in the house and I hated the look of the shelves because they were so messy. So I spent days organizing them in order, whether by publisher, or chronologically and by publisher, ”he recalls. “So obviously I was interested and took out the shelves and read.”

The designer pursued his passion, despite being dyslexic. “You fight things, don’t you, if you’re that interested,” he said with a shrug. “A lot of kids are going back to reading, not looking at their phones all the time, and not looking at books, and I think it’s a pretty healthy thing to encourage people to do.”

Indeed, Jay hopes the exhibition inspires others.

“Rare books have always seemed glamorous to me, but seeing them carried in the particularly bright spotlight is a thrill. I hope it’s also interesting for people who haven’t seen or thought about this kind of material before, to see it put together in this way, and maybe to think about building their own collections ”, a- he declared.

“Collecting books is a way of representing what is important to you. The fact that Kim is taking it to the next level and wanting to show the world what interests him and what he can create from that passion, is wonderful, ”he added.

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