"Traditions have to be maintained. In troubled times like ours, we must maintain these traditions, which are our luxury and the flower of our civilisation.” This sentence, an accurate summary of this season’s return to old school chic, was in fact written by Christian Dior in a letter found by Kris Van Assche in the maison’s archives. It immediately inspired the Belgian designer, who presented a collection mixing sharp tailoring, maritime elements (striped tops and yellow raincoats, a wink to Monsieur Dior’s hometown, Granville) and arty multicolored doodles printed over shirts, sweaters, suits and denim pieces. Backstage after the show, in a whirlwind of photographers, models and celebrities (including Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent’s star Pierre Niney), AnOther met Kris Van Assche to discuss the collection.
Why did you choose that particular sentence as the inspiration for the entire collection?
I was struck by the fact that he was talking about difficult times and about tradition. It just seemed an extremely accurate thought and it made as much sense to me when I read it, as to him when he wrote it. Our time still needs tradition, luxury and a fashion that can make people dream.
Where did all the ideas for the prints come from?
It all stemmed from Christian Dior’s sentence about tradition. I took that sentence in its original handwriting and printed it over blazers, bomber jackets and suits. I like the idea of having his signature stamped all over the collection… It’s almost as if he was there. The more colorful prints came later, and they were my interpretation of him leaving Paris and going to the countryside with his artist friends.
"I like the idea of having Christian Dior's signature stamped all over the collection… It’s almost as if he was there," — Kris Van Assche
Suits completely dominate the collection, is that a statement in a season full of street-inspired clothes?
Tailoring has always been the staple at Dior Homme, and I enjoy working it in different ways, exploring diverse shapes, volumes and styles. Some of our customers are extremely classic, others are fashion forward and edgy. It’s fun to revisit the suit from all these apparently contrary perspectives.
Text by Marta Represa