Dior Collaborates with Buzzy LA Brand ERL on Men’s Spring Collection – WWD

    Paris – What do you get when you cross the storied home of Dior with one of Los Angeles’ buzziest brands? “California Couture,” says the lettering that adorns a jacket from Dior’s upcoming Springtime men’s collection.

    Kim Jones, the French fashion house’s artistic director for men, has invited ERL founder Elie Russell Linitz to design the guest capsule line, set to be unveiled in Venice Beach Thursday — and the result is a gleaming mix of skiwear, tailoring and tailoring. Extreme references from the nineties.

    After all, Linnetz officially launched his menswear collection at the Dover Street Market Paris showroom in 2020, with items including a $30,000 embroidered Lesage jockstrap.

    Just two years later, after adding women’s and children’s clothing to his all-American staple, he became one of eight finalists for the LVMH Young Designers Award, set to be revealed on June 2. Apparently Jones, a member of the jury, actually cast his vote.

    “For me, it’s good to have a platform where you can support people openly,” the designer said during a joint preview with Linnetz in Paris. The two met through Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, artistic director of several of Dior’s men’s campaigns, and CEO of Dover Street Market Adrian Joffe, and both have worked with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.

    It represents a new partnership mode for Jones, following a series of successful collaborations with artists and creators, including Daniel Archham and Sean Stussy on his major collections. He has now decided to limit such projects to smaller pre-sets such as the Spring Capsule, which is being shown on the runway for the first time.

    “I’m doing two projects like this this year, and that’s it, and I thought it would be nice to work with young designers that I love and give them the platform through Dior in a different way,” Jones explained.

    He added: “Talking to all the people that I know have gone through the pandemic and become independent, it was difficult, so I thought it was a nice way to support people and also learn a little bit about how they work.” “It gives us the ability to do something differently than what we’ve been working on as Dior.”

    Eli Russell Linitz.

    Eli Russell Linitz
    Courtesy of Dior

    Collaboration comes naturally to Linnetz, who has worked with artists like Kanye West and Lady Gaga on everything from music videos to stage designs and touring merchandise. Since turning his hand to fashion design, the 31-year-old has collaborated with brands including French ski brand Salomon and Guess USA.

    “Kim gave me the freedom to go into the archives and explore things he might not have touched before, and then I put them back to him and he can really curate those designs,” Linitz said. “We were looking in the archives the year I was born, so we were interested and started at Gianfranco Ferré in the ’90s.”

    Accessories include faded fuchsia quilted satin saddlebags, adorned with thick gold chains, that are sure to resonate with vintage-obsessed consumers, of all genders. “Yes, I ordered one of those right away,” said Jones, who thought a mini version might fit a pair of Air Pods.

    Ferré’s Diorella jacket from Fall 1996 inspired a new fully lined men’s version, while a newspaper print left over by John Galliano was reinterpreted on shorts and T-shirts. Linnetz also contributed photos of Venice Beach, which were combined with photos of Belle Epoque beauty to create original prints.

    “I think it really represents the two styles coming together,” said Linnetz, who also shot the look book for the group. “It was fun, extreme Rodeo Drive in ’80s L.A. kind of energy, with boys attitude, mixed with the skaters from my house.”

    With an exciting color palette and generous volumes, the collection sparkles with California chic, and it will be the first time Dior has featured a hoodie on the catwalk. “It’s like an expensive hoodie, about $5,000,” Jones noted. Just don’t call it streetwear. “We don’t use that word,” Lenitz objected.

    “I mean, it’s really modern American wear and American sportswear, and it’s the kind of menswear I always look at because it’s got fitted clothes and coats and classics mixed with jeans and things like that. It’s an interesting silhouette, and it’s the most modern form of menswear still exist,” according to Jones.

    He noted that founder Christian Dior was deeply influenced by his travels to the United States, receiving the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in Fashion in 1947, just months after his first fashion show kicked off in Paris.

    “He looked at California a lot as an inspiration,” Jones said. “His love for America continually flows through the archives.”

    The London-based designer is himself more familiar with Venice Beach. “I don’t feel like a stranger at all. It’s a place I’ve been going to for 15 years,” he said. “I just love being there. The thing I really enjoy about being able to travel properly again is just freedom.”

    The venue will take full advantage of the local atmosphere, and the show will be broadcast live for the first time on Horizon Venues, the digital experience platform that allows viewers to participate in exclusive events thanks to the Meta Quest virtual reality headset and the Horizon Venues app from Meta, formerly known as Facebook.

    Scheduled to be revealed Thursday at 8pm PDT, the event will also be streamed via Facebook Live on Dior’s Facebook page and will then be visible in a 360-degree replay on the Oculus TV app.

    Dior, one of the star brands in LVMH luxury group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, joins the ranks of first-class homes courting American consumers at a time when the main Chinese market is slowing due to a renewed shutdown designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    Louis Vuitton last week revealed its cruise line in San Diego, while Balenciaga heads to New York City to showcase its spring collection on Sunday.

    Speaking about the rise in luxury spending in the US last year, Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said the embrace of luxury selling online, and spin-offs – along with a more inclusive, democratic and youthful attitude – were uniting to lead the sector. “Luxury is on a journey of redefining itself, to update new generations of shoppers,” he said.

    Kim Jones

    Kim Jones
    Courtesy of Fendi

    Dior is undoubtedly betting that association with the ERL brand will also spark a younger demographic. Turning to Linnetz, Jones said he enjoyed seeing a fresh look at the brand’s heritage.

    “I’ve put things in my mind about what I can and can’t do here, which I always have, just because I’m LVMH trained, so it’s good to see freedom,” he said. “I think you’re the perfect balance between creative and commercial too. It reminds me of when I was younger, doing my own brand, and you have the same work ethic that I have, so it’s good to see that in someone and see that going forward at this time, which is a lot Much more complicated than when I got back there.

    “It’s a really fun concept and the energy is just right, that’s what I love. The thing with Christian Dior, he’s been pushing the boundaries all the time and he’s probably very interested in what was going on, because Venice still feels like it has a subculture, unlike a lot of places in the world. Interesting to me, because that comes through your work,” Jones continued.

    Although the stars may seem to line up with Linnetz, his response befitting someone whose extraordinary life has seen him go from child actor to assistant David Mamet at the age of 15, and now manipulates his fashion line with side projects like shooting covers for Italian Vogue and an interview.

    “I feel like everything I do is very organic and all of these things are lined up at this perfect moment,” he said. “It’s very exciting, but it doesn’t necessarily change anything I do. I kind of create a bubble anyway, so it’s nice to work with people I like and connect with, and other than that, I don’t think much about it.”

    See also:

    Luxury faces in headwinds in China, opportunity to grow in the Americas

    Dior, a pop-up with Flair on Fifth Avenue

    Kim Jones celebrates Dior’s 75th moment with “Emilie in Paris”