For his pre-fall 2019 destination extravaganza in Tokyo, Dior’s menswear artistic director Kim Jones enlisted Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama to create a real showstopper: an 11-metre high robot sculpture.
“I was looking at how to show in Tokyo,” the designer told Vogue ahead of the event, “what my dream of showing in Tokyo would be, and here it is: celebrating Metropolis [the film] in Metropolis.”
The feminine figure stands on a metre-high base – making her 12-metres tall in total – at the heart of the show space in Tokyo Bay; a patch of reclaimed land sandwiched between the Sumida and Arakawa rivers, also known as Metropolis. Weighing in at an impressive 9,150 kg, it required a team of 16 people to piece together her aluminum limbs, which are sprayed in silver mirror paint, onsite.
The construction of the set itself began back in mid-September and it took 20 days just to paint. Strobe lasers light up the robot and the runway, reminiscent of the Japanese capital’s famous Robot Restaurant, where the fashion house hosted guests last night.
The sculpture is based on a series of illustrations by Sorayama from the 1980s, and he also put his futuristic spin on the Dior logo. The Japanese artist’s eye for high-shine effects can be seen in the details of the collection too, informing everything from belt buckles (by Matthew Williams of Alyx) to robotic jewellery by Yoon Ahn, plus a special-edition Sorayama Metals saddle bag, of which only 10 will be made.
Earlier this year, for his spring/summer 2019 show, Jones enlisted Kaws to create a similarly imposing statue, made from roses and peonies. Art, Jones tells Vogue, is an integral part of Dior’s DNA: “Christian Dior was a gallerist before he was a couturier, and worked with the leading artists of his time, so I looked to what the modern generation’s take on that would be, hence starting with Kaws and now Hajime Sorayama.”
After the show, Jones and his all-star guestlist – including Kate Moss, David Beckham, Bella Hadid, A$AP Rocky, Diplo and Detox – will turn the catwalk into a dance floor. In Jones’s own words: “It’s nuts.”