Kris Van Assche’s ten years at Dior have passed by without much great hoopla or fanfare. His collections have been sufficient and the union has ticked along. Few would argue that Dior’s menswear has any influence on the wider fashion conversation right now, as it used to under Hedi Slimane. Still, the house felt it right to celebrate the anniversary for S/S 18 with a collection dedicated to the craftsmanship of their Paris atelier. To be fair, ten years is a remarkably long time in fashion today. It’s now normal for designers to stay in their positions for just a few years, or sometimes just one season (I’m looking at you Justin O’Shea), so for sheer commitment and conviction alone Dior should get a pat on the back.
The collection deserves less gushing praise. It was better than last season, which isn’t saying much. Van Assche spoke of a desire to play with proportions and cuts of the suit, hence all those teeny tiny shorts (arguably the 'it' item of this menswear season - admired by many when on the runway, worn by few in real life) and sleeveless jackets. It seems a strange direction for Van Assche to take when celebrating his contribution to the brand, largely because Slimane’s talent and niche was toying with form and reconceptualising the fit of suits worn by men.
The branded details and Dior ribbons were playful enough - they had some synergy with the logo puns Maria Grazia Chiuri has been doing on the womenswear line. The given title was Light Night Summer. Notes referred to Midsummer - this collection certainly wasn’t a dream, but it was consistent with Van Assche’s safe, pragmatic style of work for the house.