Was this really Dior Homme? Save the best for last? Editors were hedging their bets after a walloping Dior Homme show where Kris Van Assche played a punk-rock riff that wouldn't feel out of place on Disney's Aerosmith Rock'n'rollercoaster, as the house is days to announce its new womenswear designer amid rampant rumors.
With A$AP Rocky (of Colette punch-up fame), Robert Pattinson and Karl Lagerfeld looking on, outfits zipped up and down the runway, drawing a ground based 8 loop to match the looped metal decorated with colored lights that occupied the airspace. It was high energy, high on life and most importantly, high in fusion pieces that played on the suits/sports dichotomy de rigeur today.
Anchored in the Eighties, somewhere between punk and New Wave, constrast was the dominant note today. Van Assche clearly is questioning what is male elegance today. The difference between the Belgian designer and the host of those wanting to reference the cusp of the Eighties is that he has every intention of viewing the past without any nostalgia. Instead, he brings his memories forward into the present day by abstracting their temporal element. In his hands and those of his atelier, punk and sportswear elements are reworked to fit the tailored, elegant ethos of Dior Homme.
What looked like stapes peppered a trim blazer while red and white utility laces created sinous embroideries all over the surface of another suit. Roomy pants and sleeveless net shirts felt like a left-over from last season's skatepark couture. The crossed design of tricolor grosgrain, forming what could have been a Union Jack shape (although admittedly that could be a Brexit-related delusion) felt like a nod to London's vivid punks. More abandonned Luna Park crew than funfair fun-seekers, with references firing on all cylinders, all the boxes of contemporary menswear were here. Check for the blouson, the ennobled sports gear, the utilitarian elements.
Van Assche's desire to show only the vision of the season as opposed to its highly-successful commercial declension (which, if numbers are to be believed, does exceptionally well without having to be put on the spot) was laudable. He is nothing if not a rigorous advocate of creativity, and there is little doubt that his complete and utter focus on Dior Homme after shuttering his own brand has decuplated his output. What tripped this vision up is that by adding such an abudance of elements – D-rings and zips, grommets and laces, trailing pinstripes, blousons and trackpants – his collection ended up looking as it had just tried hard to fit in with the cool kids.