Kris Van Assche is a self-confessed perfectionist. He's never been the rip-it-up-and-start-again kind of designer. So the precision of his S/S 14 collection for Dior Homme seemed natural. It must have taken someone with the patience of a saint - or indeed a mild case of OCD - to spend time ensuring none of the models bumped into each other, or their own reflections, while navigating the route around that huge mirrored maze installed in the middle of the show space. The constant movement of the models, who were each clad in just one colour, made you feel like you were watching some grand never-ending game of Pac-man.
The clothes were rigid and robotic as well. Everything from the top-to-toe monochrome to those chunky shoes with metal details (worn with every look) - suggested vigour and deliberate restraint. But, variation and choice came in the shapes, which nodded to the different trends and silhouettes that currently make up the diverse menswear market - so a boxy jacket with traditional tailored trousers would appear after a simple sweatshirt and shorts, all in exactly the same hue. The lack of variety in the colours forced you to focus on these shapes and cuts. The only distraction came in the form of patchwork, art-deco motifs, inspired by the work of artist John Chamberlain.
Dior is a paradoxical house, on one hand it has a huge heritage, but little of this relates to its menswear, its history in that respect is pure Hedi - for Assche that brings little to the table other than a different designer's vision for his house. Assche has now been at Dior for an equal length of time as Slimane, but has struggled to make his mark with the same dynamism. Yet at this S/S 14 show he offered an almost identical viewpoint as that on show at his own eponymous label the day before. Finally, this felt more about Assche than Dior, so what the collection lacked in innovation or excitement, it made up for in confidence.