Loosely Speaking

Kris Van Assche Talks Through Dior Homme's New Look

<a rel="external" href="http://www.diorhomme.com">Dior Homme’s creative director Kris Van Assche worked as assistant to the house’s former designer, Hedi Slimane, and then assumed the position in March 2007. He has also spearheaded his own eponymous line since 2005. Van Assche's vision for Dior Homme has been to move away from the hyper-slim silhouette it pioneered in the mid 2000s and toward a more sumptuous masculinity. Here, Van Assche talks to NOWNESS about soft military coats, Johnny Depp and finally getting comfortable at Dior.

What were your inspirations for fall 2010?

The first thing that I told my team at the beginning of September was that I wanted to make military coats, but I wanted them to be very light. Usually when you find these old coats they are so stiff they can stand up by themselves. I wanted them to be comfortable and soft, in between a military blanket and a coat. It’s this idea of comfort clothing.

How does comfort square with military uniform though?

For me military influences are always in the back of my head because I want the result to be masculine. Obviously I’m working on a luxury product and I want to use these great materials, but I’m not really into the trashy mood of fashion, it’s not my thing. It should never look pretentious or precious. My influences come from very different directions. I was in India in August and that’s where the collection’s color palette came from. All the men there wear these really toned-down, dusty colors so the idea of wearing a coat as a blanket is linked directly to India. But when you get closer to a show it is important that you get away from the initial inspiration, in case you make it look too historical.

There’s a really strong narrative between your spring and fall collections. Were you consciously evolving the aesthetic from last season?

Well, last spring for me was a turning point. I found a collection that feels right for me at Dior and for fashion today. But I was very scared about the reaction because it was personal and it wasn’t exactly what the house was expecting. But their reactions were really good and it encouraged me to do winter with that same idea of comfort, luxury, simplicity and detailing. It’s something I am very much at ease with. Much more so than with sequins!

Where do you draw the line between your work for Kris Van Assche and your work for Dior?

From day one it was clear to me that at Dior we have an in-house atelier, and I should benefit from working with an atelier of luxury and craftsmanship––something I obviously don’t have with my personal team. At the beginning [Dior] was much more theatrical than me, much more than how it’s ended up being now. Now it’s become a Belgian view on luxury, whereas my label is a Belgian view on creativity. Both of them can cohabit now.

What is your take on Dior as a larger entity—are you ever inspired by the women’s collections?

Dior Homme is totally separate from the women’s. We’re even in different buildings. It’s been like this since day one and it is also the strength of the house.

You created an art zine last year, Londerzeel. Are you planning any more exhibitions or art publications?

Not in the near future. What I enjoyed so much about Londerzeel was that it made me meet really interesting people. But at one point I was creating six collections a year as well as an artistic exhibition. I mean, that together with the economic crisis… it was too much. When there’s something interesting coming along then we go for it. I had a photo project with Sarah Moon [for Dior Homme] that I really enjoyed. And that’s obviously something I will continue to do.

Do you have a favorite artist at the moment?

There is Andrea Mastrovito, an Italian artist who I worked with on my tiny little campaign for my own label. He is the most poetic person I’ve ever met in my whole life. I like [photographer] Jeff Burton a lot. I’m always looking for those kinds of people.

Is there a muse or celebrity that sums up Dior Homme fall 2010?

Some people have these big muses, but I don’t. But I really would love to dress Johnny Depp, if I had to choose one. That’s probably more because he’s not into fashion––[it would be] a huge challenge and I really like his universe. But I don’t have pictures of one person hanging up on my inspiration board. Each time I work on a piece, whether it be from Dior or my own label, I always imagine someone in it––it can be me, it can be a person in my team, it can be an 18-year-old or a 45-year-old.

What are your wardrobe staples for spring?

I’m actually quite happy in the Dior spring collection. The unfinished borders, the raw seams, I’m wearing quite a lot of those. I mix them up with my own label. It’s really a point where I’m at ease with both of them so I don’t think about them anymore.

In today's interview Kris Van Assche responded to several questions suggested by the NOWNESS Facebook and Twitter communities. Now he has his own query to put to his fans—join the conversation by visiting us on Facebook at facebook.com/nowness or following us on Twitter at twitter.com/nowness


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