Filling the shoes of one Hedi Slimane has never been easy. Belgian designer Kris Van Assche knows this all too well since his inauguration at Dior Homme. Prior to his upcoming showings, Interview Magazine caught up with the designer in a short but ultimately insightful interview. A reference to the aforementioned comparisons to Slimane offers a short but charged answer, while other topics include his desire to reappropriate the suit and the difference between Dior Homme and his eponymous label KRISVANASSCHE. A selection of questions and answers can be seen below.
ALICE PFEIFFER: What have been your sources of inspiration, for both upcoming shows?
KRIS VAN ASSCHE: I continuously redefine the suit: how can I freshen up a garment that symbolizes maturity? How can I make it less stern and more adapted to daily life? How can I bridge sportswear on one end and tailoring on the other? I have always loved the idea of raw elegance—tailored pieces with a sporty look… or the exact opposite, as you’ll see on my show, such as tailored hoodies. The result is hybrid pieces for an elegant, cool look. Also, for the first time, there is a collection for EASTPAK. These are bags that perfectly reflect this passage into maturity, by mixing the practical, the destructed and the elegant.
PFEIFFER: What is the relation between the KRISVANASSCHE man and the Dior Homme? Two very distinct people, or rather, one man at a different stages of his life?
VAN ASSCHE: KRISVANASSCHE and Dior Homme are, before anything, two states of mind. But the two converse in my mind continuously. For my first collection at Dior Homme, I tried to differentiate the two in an almost mathematical manner. Then later, it occurred to me that these two universes could perfectly cohabitate, and that I could really let [them] when designing for Dior Homme. When I want to make a piece, I no longer think about the split between the two, but about its technical reality: the instruments available at Dior and KRISVANASSCHE are so different that the result becomes radically different too. For the latter, I developed the collections through a very personal need, I was my first client. For the former, I also follow my instinct but have several different types of customers in mind.
PFEIFFER: When you took over Hedi Slimane’s much-followed career at Dior Homme, you were often compared to him. Do people still talk to you about him, and does that bother you?
VAN ASSCHE: Less and less.