"Being confident in the idea of the future is almost a provocation now," said Kris Van Assche as he introduced his latest collection for Dior Homme at Paris Fashion Week last weekend. "The Dior Man now looks to the future, and he is optimistic."
Optimism seemed to be the most sensible way to approach the season for Van Assche. With all eyes on Slimane's return to menswear under the Saint Laurent label — which, as it turned out, was rather underwhelming — his successor at Dior banked on his strengths to steal the show.
At the polar opposite of Slimane's grunge exploration, Van Assche presented a clean, focused and boldly confident collection. Citing Andrew Niccol's Gattaca as one of his inspirations, Van Assche envisioned clothes for a "self-made superhero", or for the humble mortals we are, a successful man aiming to be the best possible version of himself.
Like an army of intergalactic businessmen ready to embark on the next spaceship, the models filed down the immaculate runway in sober black, grey or navy ensembles. In a very contained presentation, the leap forward announced by Van Assche was all in the details. The V-shaped silhouettes were accentuated at the waist by safety buckles, which were also on shoes and leather belts. The slim black suit, a fixture at Dior, was revised to replace the buttons with zippers, adding sporty functionality to formal wear. The few splashes of color were in the red pinstripes lining the more formal suits, like laser rays projected onto the clothes.
The most eccentric proposition was perhaps the range of tight-fitting sweaters stamped from shoulder to shoulder with a circled triangle resembling a Masonic ouroboros. Van Assche explained that it signifies the idea of belonging to an elite group. A meaningful symbol for a designer who, season after season, has managed to establish himself as fashion nobility.