Dior Presents Jean-Michel Othoniel’s Uniform
Elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, in the sculpture section, at the end of 2018, Jean-Michel Othoniel actively participates in the institution’s missions supporting artistic creation.
Jean-Michel Othoniel’s uniform for his induction to the Académie des Beaux-Arts was designed by Kim Jones and the House of Dior in collaboration with the French artist. Harnessing excellence of savoir-faire, the Dior Ateliers skillfully transcribed the fluidity of inks drawn and painted by Othoniel. Enriched with golden threads and green silk, the embroidery reinterprets the motif and colors of the olive branch, a symbol of the institution*. The beauty of the gesture is celebrated by Dior down to the smallest detail: the embroidered base is painted directly onto copper leaf and gilded fabric (the green color is obtained with cotton thread and a flock print). The petites mains used cannetille and lamé threads, with the brilliance of glass beads also punctuating this creation.
In this reinterpretation of ornamentation, the academician appears like a living tree, with branches spreading down the legs, hugging the waist, and tracing each new breath at the torso, capped with a crown of olive branches encircling the suit collar. Kim Jones’s ample tailoring was inspired by the original academician's uniform first designed by the artist Jacques-Louis David in 1801.
*For Jean-Michel Othoniel, the olive tree is powerfully symbolic; in his book The Secret Language of Flowers: Notes on the Hidden Meanings of the Louvre’s Flowers, he writes: “In Antiquity, it was a symbol of peace, fertility, purification, strength, victory and reward. The olive tree represents the tree of civilization throughout the Mediterranean Basin.”