It can’t be easy being Kris Van Assche. Soon he will replace Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme, following in the footsteps of probably the most decade-defining designer of mens’ fashions since Tom Ford slicked up the alpha male for the Gucci 90s. It might have taken a while to trickle through but Hedi Slimane’s reinvention of the rock’n’roll androgyne has now become so ingrained in popular culture it has managed to spawn its own spectrum of style sub-schisms, adumbrating everything from emo kids to Russell Brand. Surely the only way KVA might survive such a highly scrutinised follow-up would be on the merits of binning the skinny jeans and heralding a totally new look?
In the latest of KVA’s own collections there is plenty to suggest that he shares a design vision similar to that of his Dior predecessor. He is, after all, a former protégé, having worked for Slimane after his graduation from Antwerp’s Royal Academy. There is the same fondness for acid colour against stark muted backdrops that just feels so Dior, the same schlock jewellery-on-boys statements Slimane would often summon to disorientate his fashion audience, as well as those humungous scarves that attenuate the male form into pretty boy-girl proportions. Did I mention the waistcoats and the plaids as well? With so many parallels between the two, it is unclear what kind of plan Dior Homme might be trying to hatch exactly – but then again, perhaps they know something we don’t.