In Venice Beach, the two houses collaborate on a capsule collection that’s straight off the L.A. sidewalks with a Parisian Boulevard sensibility
Photography by MARK GRIFFIN CHAMPION
Words by ANDREW BARKER
The Dior Men x ERL Spring 2023 capsule collection show in Venice Beach.
The globe-trotting Dior road show stopped in Venice Beach earlier this year for a men’s show quite unlike any other. Kim Jones, Dior Men’s artistic director, had handed over creative responsibilities to guest designer Eli Russell Linnetz of Venice-based ERL, permitting the local designer to apply the codes of his label and marry them with whatever sparked his inspiration from the Dior archive—under Jones’ watchful eye, of course.
To launch the tinsel-toned collection in Tinseltown, they took over the boardwalk-abutting section of Windward Avenue with the Venice sign acting as a welcome banner for guests including Taika Waititi, Rita Ora, Christina Aguilera, Christina Ricci, Tony Hawk and front-row regular Dan Levy.
“I love Los Angeles,” says Jones. “It’s the American way, the American way of looking at sportswear. Also, the idea of Christian Dior in America, of the glamour of that time in film. It’s all here in L.A.—I love spending time here.”
Backstage at the Dior Men x ERL Spring 2023 capsule collection show.
They started their creative process for the Spring ’23 capsule collection with the year of Linnetz’s birth, 1991. Diving deep into the archive, he took cues from Gianfranco Ferré, the incumbent creative director when Linnetz was born. Heavy gold chains on Dior’s mini saddle bags were borrowed straight from Ferré’s designs, which Jones hitherto had not yet referenced.
Nineties nods abounded. Cannage-style puffer jackets donned a Dior patina. There were playful fluffy totes, baggy shorts and trailing suits, pants, hoodies and heavy-soled skate shoes. Bucket hats and tinted lenses straight out of ’90s rave culture no doubt chimed with a teenage Jones as a culture-obsessed designer in waiting. “ERL is so greatly influenced by honoring the generations of American artisans and celebrates the iconography of what they created,” says Linnetz. “I think Dior pays a similar tribute to French artisans and couture.”
Logos were present throughout, another nod to the ’90s, when logomania meant brands would emblazon garments as a way of allowing their customers to signal status to peers that they, too, could afford it.
“I love Los Angeles, the American way of looking at sportswear”
The bag chain was inspired by former Dior creative director Gianfranco Ferré’s designs.
From left: Models wait to walk the Dior Men runway on Venice’s Windward Avenue. The Dior Paris logo created for the show.
Dior brought its Parisian know-how, not only with the garment construction, which involved thick, gem-encrusted embroidery on the side stripes and trims of shorts and pants, but with the slickest event production, including neon signage and a blue nylon awning that formed a cresting wave on either side of the runway. Jones roped in British veteran Stephen Jones (no relation) to work on the pillbox hats and veils, an homage to a favored style of Monsieur Dior’s muse Mizza Bricard, and acutely apposite in the current age of genderless fashion.
Linnetz has seen more than most for someone just entering his third decade. A USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate, he had variously been a child actor and an opera singer before serving as a director of music videos in Kanye West’s artistic studio and as Lady Gaga’s personal photographer. In 2018, he launched ERL with small collections drawing on the L.A. style he grew up with, inspired by the surfers, skaters and cool kids you see on the boardwalk of Venice and the sidewalks of Hollywood.
Arguably his biggest moments came at the 2021 Met Gala when he dressed A$AP Rocky in that patchwork blanket and put Kid Cudi in a wedding dress at the CFDA awards. (He was also a finalist for this year’s LVMH Prize which, more often than not, guarantees a bright future).
Eli Russell Linnetz of ERL (left) and Kim Jones of Dior Men.
From left: A Stephen Jones-designed modern take on the pillbox hat. Jewelry designed for the show.
Back in Venice Beach, Cudi showed his support on the front row alongside a mixed bag of musicians, actors, fashion and athletes: Michael B. Jordan, Tommy Hilfiger, Leslie Odom Jr., Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz, Finneas, Henry Golding, Amber Valletta and Winnie Harlow. C’s cover star Ryan Garcia (see p.36) was also in attendance. (Kim Jones designed the lightweight champ’s Dior-branded boxing outfit.)
European fashion’s long lens has already focused on California twice in the past 12 months with Gucci closing down Hollywood Boulevard for its Spring/Summer 2022 Love Parade and Louis Vuitton landing at The Salk Institute in La Jolla for its Cruise 2023 show. You could say it’s got California on the mind. But hey, we’re not complaining.
Feature image: The Dior Men x ERL Spring 2023 capsule collection show took place under the iconic Venice sign on Windward Avenue.
This story originally appeared in the Men’s Edition 2022 issue of C Magazine.
Discover more STYLE news.
See the story in our digital edition