When Dior Homme presented its A/W16 collection this weekend, it was against a giant moving backdrop of a Willy Vanderperre-directed short. As models walked through a show space littered with neon-lit skate ramps, the pieces they were wearing were simultaneously reflected in atmospheric abstraction on the screen behind them: it was a meta-exploration of youth culture, examined through location, wardrobe and moving imagery alike. "The film was shot just two days before the show with Willy [Vanderperre], when we knew the casting for the show would be complete,” explained creative director Kris Van Assche. "The boys are dancing – the same boys who will be on the catwalk – dancing to electronic body music."
Van Assche and Vanderperre are long-term collaborators and, this season, there was a particular harmony between their dual visions: while Dior Homme showed 1980s New Wave acolytes and 90s skater boys (albeit, far more elegant than those found in the local park), Willy Vanderperre's nuanced understanding of youth culture located them in timeless reverie. "I don't think there's a big difference between my generation and the generation of today," Vanderperre reflected earlier this month, following the ICA premiere of his new film Naked Heartland – and this season's collaboration proved that, while styles of trousers and the slogans embellished on T-shirts might evolve with the generations, the exuberance and spirit of youth culture remains much the same.
"I wanted something more dynamic and less romantic, still a feeling of New Wave, but with a hard energy" – Kris Van Assche
"I wanted something more dynamic and less romantic, still a feeling of New Wave, but with a hard energy,” said Van Assche. "I had the intention of capturing a New Wave feel, like a New Wave video that is an exceptionally extended remix; I suppose you could say it’s like a Neo New Wave pop video," continued Vanderperre. And that's what they achieved: a brilliant fusion of storied aesthetics with contemporary culture, firmly rooted within the realm of luxury fashion. An achievement, indeed.