The year was 1999 when the Dior Saddle bag debuted on the runway with the Maison’s Spring/Summer 2000 collection. Taking reference from the world of equestrianism, the “ugly-chic” kidney-shaped, short-strapped bag adorned with a dangling Dior charm was quick to have savvy style influencers as well as A-list celebrities giving their stamp of approval.
Just when fans seemed to have lost interest, the emblematic piece with its unmistakable silhouette sent one after another shock waves so intense it ripped through the fashion landscape with persistent tremors that show no signs of calming down – and thus cementing its status as a true staple accessory.
Since taking the creative helm of Dior Men in 2018, Kim Jones has doggedly paid tribute to the fashion brand’s tradition while stimulating it with a more pragmatic approach on the business front. Interweaving characteristics of womenswear into his Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear collection, Jones reinterpreted the Saddle bag into men’s offerings such as soft leather side bags, pouches and backpacks.
Why the Saddle bag? There’s no denying that Jones is cognisant of the fact that he needs to find the middle ground of the dichotomy in maintaining brand vision and generating commercial hits – and the men purse, alongside sneakers, is indispensable.
One example is during the Dior Pre-Fall 2019 Men’s show when Jones took the Saddle bag design a step further and presented a collectible version in the form of chrome metal with gold-tone elements. Crafted in collaboration with Hajime Sorayama – a Japanese illustrator famous for his sensual portrayal of feminine bots – the Saddle bag took cues from the artist’s space-age creation just like the sculpture he made for the show’s décor.
Functional and faithful to structure of the Saddle bag, cross-body style bears the Dior logo as imagined by the contemporary artist with details like nuts and bolts, as well as a classic interior from the Maison’s leather ateliers. The rollercoaster buckle, commissioned by Kim Jones and designed by creative director of 1017 ALYX 9SM Matthew Williams, reinforces Dior’s innate connection between craftsmanship and innovation.
Another rendition of the Saddle bag was presented during the Autumn 2020 show. Inspired by the flamboyancy of vintage American cars from the ’60s, it features a highly innovative technique – and again, on the metal and is boasted with an interior entirely lined with soft leather. Once the bag’s base has been created, the artisan painstakingly paints on superfine layers of aluminium, one by one, to create a relief effect. Punctuated by the colour red, the laser-engraved plexiglass detail showing the Dior Oblique motif, while the strap adorned with the “Christian Dior” signature with a buckle featuring the initials “CD” adds a final touch to the bag.
When it comes to cult accessory, it’s safe to say that Jones takes the Dior Saddle bag very seriously.