Kris Van Assche’s Swan Song to Dior Homme Was An Ode To The Past

URBAN NOSTALGIA – Dior Homme’s Kris Van Assche presented a collection that blended sharp tailoring with ’90s youth culture

Models showcasing the Dior Homme fall/winter 2018/19 looks

The Dior Homme Fall-Winter 2018 collection is the last from artistic director Kris Van Assche, after 11 years at the helm of the brand. Nostalgia became the keyword for the collection which was, quite aptly, titled “Forever Young.”

Presenting the sartorial finesse of the Dior Homme atelier, the collection is dominated by suits that have taken their aesthetic cues from the Bar Jacket—the house icon designed by Christian Dior for his first couture show back in 1947. The reinterpreted Bar jacket for men featured couture accents while remaining masculine in terms of tailoring and craftsmanship. A homage to the intricate pattern-making of Monsieur Dior, the Bar jacket in the collection came in sophisticated variations—different lapel styles, pocket types and button configurations—as a testament to the house’s savoir-faire.

Backpack with tribal tattoo print

A tribal tattoo, symbolic of the tattoo culture of the ’90s—becomes a leitmotif decorating the suits as well as several ready-to-wear pieces. Polo shirts, tank tops, turtlenecks and baggy jeans are present, calling to mind the wardrobes frequently seen on the club scene of the same decade. Black dominates the color palette, but touches of forest green, red and yellow punctuates the color scheme. Yet another statement color prominent in the collection is camel.

For silhouettes, a play of juxtapositions is presented with bold layering of structured pieces over the more relaxed ensembles. While the suits are mostly fitted and body-conscious, loose and baggy looks, inspired by streetwear, are also offered. The duality of the collection is based on contrasts—the formal and informal—and the mixing of generations. In tune with the contrasting moods of the collection, the fabrics used in their creation ranged from wool and cashmere to knits and denim.

Bag in exotic leather

Moving forward to the leather goods, the tattoo motif is laser-printed on a number of accessories, such as leather oxfords, high-top canvas sneakers and the temples of glasses. Yet another distinctive Dior Homme touch made its presence: A bandana tied around the neck and a new bag, the Dior Combo. Taking its cue from sportswear, the Dior Combo bag is composed of several removable zippered pouches, which are clipped on a shoulder strap. Meanwhile, on the formal end of the range, exotic leather suitcases are offered.

At the brand’s show in Paris last January, Van Assche included five male models from the ’90s on the runway— including Cameron Alborzian, Mark Vanderloo, and Arnaud Lemaire — in order to show that Dior Homme is a brand for men of all ages.

In an interview after the show, Van Assche said: “I’d already put more mature men in my campaigns, there was Boy George, Dave Ghan, Larry Clark so I’d already played with that in my campaigns. For me it’s such an asset that we dress men of all ages, of all morphology even. The show speaks a lot about nineties icons, be that music, tribal earrings, tattoos, haircuts, baggy jeans and all that.”

“B21 Socks” high-top trainer in knit with rubber sole

On the focus on the Bar jacket in the collection, Van Assche noted: “The current period is very confused. Sportswear, street wear, casual and luxury are all mixing together and the messages aren’t clear and so I wanted to clarify the brand’s DNA and say yes, we like loose trousers, we really like jeans, we really like trainers, backpacks, I love that but we know better than anyone, to make beautiful tailoring and Monsieur Dior himself as well had tailoring, a Bar jacket very close to the body, very on form, very body conscious, so I wanted to rewrite that for the men.”

As a farewell piece from Van Assche, the Dior Homme fall/winter 2018/19 collection was on point in going back to the sharp tailoring roots of its founder, embodying to the savoir-faire of the Dior Homme atelier while reflecting the eternal duality between youth and manhood.