ris Van Assche has his eyes on your double-breasted two piece. Specifically, how to make it bang up today when the rules of formal suiting have been thrown out the pattern cutter’s window.
“Tailoring will never be over,” said the creative director of Dior Homme at his spring / summer 2018 collection in Paris. “But I’ve been here for 10 years and it made me think about the DNA of the brand, the black suit and the white shirt.”
That particular formula is the nuts and bolts of many a man’s wardrobe the globe over, but Van Assche has tasked himself with refining it and articulating what a suit means for a new generation.
It’s particularly pertinent at the house of Dior; the late Monsieur adapted the tropes of a man’s wardrobe and applied them to women’s clothes in the 1940s. The bar jacket – that hero piece from 1947 that took the form of a Prince of Wales or houndstooth jacket adapted into a feminine silhouette – was re-animated by Van Assche in a series of deconstructed suits with fluid shapes; flaring at the hips in a gentle curve and razor tight on the torso.
The tailoring was cut, shorn and spliced into blazers that became shirts on the bottom half or came with varsity sleeves, the shapes going from narrow and lean on the torso to fluid and baggy on the trousers. The address of the menswear atelier riddled its way across t-shirts and in ribboned bands on coats and suits, the Dior Homme identity making its presence felt alongside the more well pronounced older sister.
Tail coats were cut on the bias, a technique borrowed from women’s fashion – and reignited by Dior’s former creative director John Galliano during the 90s – that lent a fluidity. The effect was bold and modern; a 21st century proposal for the new guard of millenials for whom a trusty pinstripe is a tired concept.
Van Assche has always infiltrated the storied tailoring ateliers with his own renegade streetwear edge and that urban spirit continued in the varsity-inspired collegiate lettering and sporty bombers and prints by Francois Bard, an artist renowned for depicting gritty street scenes in oil paintings. A rarified technique to produce something contemporary and modern; the perfect analogy for Van Assche’s innovative take on traditional tailoring.