Hardior Dior Homme AW17 Interview with Kris Van Assche

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Dior Homme and Kris Van Assche’s new tailoring

“I feel the world needs dreaming right now”, stated Kris Van Assche immediately after his Dior Homme show (Jan 2017). Accompanied by a pounding of Depeche Mode’s soundtrack (‘Policy of Truth’) we were treated to Van Assche’s latest mash-up of skater boys/new wave club kid style and Dior tailoring.

“The beginning of the show was more about new wave which is my territory going into the wave parts, the Gabbas the Candy boys, the like all these party kids that used to go all the way”, he told me.

“That’s how the black and red of the new romantics and new wave gets into acid territory, then getting into Dan Witz the American artist who did all these mosh pits pogo dancing, the toughest guys at the end”, he whispers in his Belgian lilt.  The ‘Hardior’ logo was all around the show venue – a mystery until we put two and two together: Hardior is where Dior meets hardcore techno – another inspiration for his show.

For this collection it was noticeable that Van Assche had cooled a little (just a little mind you) on his trademark sportswear. Jackets had tight skinny sleeves and were closely fitted. Sleeves were three quartered and featured elegant hand stitching, while the pants were much more about street and workwear. Trousers were loose or short and worn with white socks and trainers. Van Assche stated “I wanted to give something new to tailoring”. Dior Homme of course started in tailoring and Kris Van Assche has gradually pulled it towards sportswear. Now he’s veering back towards tailoring again. However it’s very much on his terms with his silhouette, long gone is the skinny black suit. Kris Van Assche’s Dior Homme suit is about tighter jackets with intricate detailing and a loosely cut sportswear pant. “Everybody says tailoring is over and nobody wants to wear tailoring anymore. And I feel like maybe we haven’t given young guys the right tailoring yet. So I’m trying to keep the cool vibe while giving them a tailored jacket, so it’s the search for modern tailoring”, he states matter-of-factly.

The music was dark for good reason. “It’s Depeche Mode (the soundtrack) so the whole new wave part is always the starting point. We Belgians like a dark vibe. I very much like what I remember when I used to go to these clubs. I was very much the quiet one. I liked the emotion of it. When you had the red light, the Sisters of Mercy, it was almost religious side of being there all together in some form of a climax.” This point was highlighted at the end of the show as the lights dipped and then suddenly flared up, casting a blood red hue on the proceedings.

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The colour palate was reflected in the main Van Assche’s signature red and black looks. Stand out pieces were the bright red corduroy suit with shortened pants, a black leather bomber with red and white collar and cuff detail, a three quarter length sleeveless turquoise fur coat, a rusty brown ponyskin trench coat and a Van Assche signature double breasted red/black/white dogtooth patterned suit, all worn with signature sneakers. However the real pieces de resistance were the black tailored jackets and bombers that played on the notion of classic tailoring with their multi-coloured baste threads left in and hanging loose.

Van Assche has pulled together several influences and come up with his own version of sports tailoring for Dior Homme, “I don’t have to be a skater boy to get inspired by skating. It’s very much about not being too literal. It’s about getting my inspiration and taking bits and bobs and making it into a new look.”

Summing up Van Assche was delighted by his creations “What the show stands for is about beauty and escaping, that’s what fashion is supposed to be about.”

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