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After 10 Years at Dior, Kris Van Assche is Dialing Up the Drama

Kris Van Assche, Master of the House
Courtesy of brands

Master of the House.

It's been a decade since Kris Van Assche took the reins at Dior Homme, succeeding Hedi Slimane. But while the designer has earned a reputation as a disciplined minimalist, that classification doesn't tell his whole story. Van Assche brings an obsessive eye for detail--not to mention a vivid imagination--to the storied French house, which recently turned 70.

"For some people, Dior should just be about classical tailoring. Then there are the younger kids--they know Dior for the fashion part," Van Assche told Vogue earlier this year. "Some people can have a hard time understanding that we want to be both, and that is what makes Dior unique."

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Jacques Brinon/AP

Embracing this dichotomy--old versus new, order versus chaos, control versus freedom--creates a push-and-pull in Van Assche's work, which is why it remains so engaging. In recent collections, he's exhibited a predilection for futurism with his tech-y fabrics, but also some nostalgia with his references to punk subcultures and prep-school boys. Yet this is all built around a single idea: the slim black suit.

One can detect a wistful and more relaxed energy in the looks Van Assche has unveiled for his spring 2018 collection, marking the 10-year anniversary of his first one. Those black suits are nipped in at the waist (a nod to Dior's iconic New Look), and some were made by draping the fabric on the body, like a dress. His new graphic T-shirts are stamped with the address of the men's atelier. Oversize floral prints, varsity jackets, and billowing pants hint at the ease and dreaminess of youth. Is the minimalist revealing his romantic side? Anniversaries will do that.

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