Saturday, May 10, 2008

in hindsight

i must admit that i was one of those people who looked up to hedi slimane with such high regard that i never thought that anyone could live up to his influence. even if it was his former assistant that eventually succeeded him at dior homme, the magnitude of slimane's vision was so broad that it wouldn't have mattered if someone else other than van assche replaced him. no designer would have ever been good enough. adding to the fact that kris van assche's debut collection was such a departure from the youthfull sensibility of slimane's clothes, the collection was so stripped down and so clean it didn't resemble slimane's dior homme at all. aesthetically or in spirit. as a result the collection was widely panned by critics and the consumers who was so loyal to the brand under slimane's direction. however, almost a year later and in a business with an extremely short attention span such as fashion, the giant shadow of slimane is beginning to subside and suddenly i'm looking at van assche's debut collection with a more open mind and a lot less bias. inspired by the couture tradition of the house of dior, van assche presented his first collection in a setting that was reminscent of irving penn's classic couture pictures of the forties. it wasn't just in the grand tradition of the setting that lent itself to the couture feel of the clothes, the clothes iteself spoke volumes (literally with parachute pants m.c. hammer would have been jealous of) about the high level of luxury the house of dior is synonymous with. unlike slimane who fused streetwear with high quality fabrics and technique, van assche's clothes had little similarities with the almost blatant youth culture influence of slimane. these were clothes made for men who related more to cary grant than pete doherty, to dandies and not with rockers. the white shirt, the staple of any men's wardrobe was cut close to the body with little peter pan collars that was paired with everything. some with pleats to match billowing pleated pants. the jackets were cut slim with asymmetrical detailing that gave it an early eighties new wave feel, but done in the most sophisticated way. the designer had said that after so many years of taking inspiration from street culture he wanted in return, to give young people a different take on fashion. and after seeing so many interpretation of eighties, nineties, seventies, and sixties influences luxury brands have copied from fashinable kids all over the world, i for one had my curiosity tickled and watching this designer who is actually designing rather than interpretting.

1 comment:

Adge said...

I totally agree.Now looking at Assche efforts I must say I'm impressed. I mean I wasn't as blown over by his aesthetic in the same way I was blown over by Slimane's but I can appreciate(especially now that were the gypsy rocker look is getting a little tired) what he was trying to do. I think he definitely kept within the tradition and history of the House of Dior and its definitely a collection for more grown up men ( very svelte older men but still). Though I wouldn't go so far as to say Assche is moving towards designing rather than interpreting because his influences are quite clear cut and easy to trace. But the clothes do possess a subtle glamour and dignity that is, in the now changing menswear scene of skinny jeans and pork-pie hats, refreshing.