It was hard to miss the optimism on Kris Van Assche's S/S 14 runway. Whether you noticed it in the surprisingly cheery tones like tomato red or inky emerald - colour is, after all, not something Assche is known for - or in that playful polkadot print, you were aware of a new confidence - perhaps its the ego boost of now having his own store, which opened in Paris just weeks before the show.
While the attitude of the collection had a new vigour, the shapes and silhouettes remained signature Assche. He has long enjoyed clashing formality with sportswear - sometimes directly, as with last season's suits with logo-ed sweatshirt panels across the front - and sometimes more subtly. For S/S 14 he opted for the latter, using formal fabrics and luxury materials on casual, sporty shapes. So easy, throw-on anoraks came in traditional tailoring fabrics, while the youthful backpacks and accessories - each one a winner - came with ultra-luxe details like croc-embellishment.
Sportwear is having a moment right now, that's been drilled into us this season. But, as a long champion of the cause, Van Assche has the benefit of having an authenticity to his work that many of fashion's new sports fans don't have. Maybe it's the feeling of being one step ahead of the pack that's lifted his spirits - either way, this concise, considered collection felt like a move forward.