Willy Vanderperre’s new short for Dior Homme is an entrancing, surreal showcase of the brand’s autumn/winter 2011 collection. Here Dior Homme’s designer Kris Van Assche explains it all.
In the course of the past few years, Dior Homme‘s creative director Kris Van Assche has created a supremely luxurious, elegantly understated new aesthetic for the brand, focusing on subtly deconstructive tailoring details, extravagant, flowing swathes of premium fabrics and, above all, the ethos of “less is more.” The latest development of this story, the autumn/winter 2011 collection is beautifully pure, playing with a kind of American Gothic vibe via raw collared tees, voluminous black capes and, of course, Amish-style, wide-brimmed hats. If it all comes across as clean, elegant and simple, there’s a devil in the detail: jackets come in double-faced, bonded cashmere, stitch-like embroidery mimics work-in-progress in the atelier and outerwear is embellished with shawl-like lapels and asymmetric shoulder patches. We got down to the nitty gritty with Dior Homme’s head designer Kris Van Assche.
How have you developed your understanding of and experimentation with tailoring for Autumn 2011?
After the very fluid SS 2011 collection, it was a real challenge to obtain a similar form of fluidity for a winter season. Obviously, fabrics are thicker for winter, and we tend to dress in multiple layers. That is where the idea of the double sided cashmere came from: warm, luxurious coats and suits in a simple layered fabric. There was a lot of knitwear as well, with jackets and coats knit ‘in form’ like a pattern which also gave for light, comfortable pieces. We added tailoring influences in sportswear pieces and even in some jersey T-shirts. Some of the tailored pieces had embroidery which was done in the same way the inside lining of a tailored jacket is done.
Last winter was lavish yet minimal – do you think those words still hold true for this season?
I do. I want the collection to be about essential luxury. It is all about cut, quality, and comfort.
What’s the key piece in your winter collection?
There are a few: the deep brown cashmere overcoat worn over a grey cashmere suit, the cashmere knit with raw edged collar, the pleated fluid trousers.
How would you currently describe the man who wears Dior Homme?
There is not just “one man” but more like 4 or 5 different ones in my head while I am designing. That is one of the big differences between my own label KRISVANASSCHE – where I basically design what I want to wear myself – and Dior Homme, where I need to keep a more global view on men. It is not about an age or a precise professional career, but more about an attitude. The Dior Homme man looks for the right balance between creativity, comfort and quality.
If there’s one trend or style you really appreciate this season, what would it be?
There seems to be a global trend towards quality and luxury, true values that I relate to. I feel very comfortable in that “no nonsense” vibe because it is the one I have been concentrating on from day one.
Words: Adam Welch