Much has been made of Kris Van Assche taking over Hedi Slimane’s old position at Dior; so much perhaps that fans of the direction that Hedi Slimane had steered the age old company have a volatile, almost vehement reaction against the loss of what they perceive as the Dior they had grown to love, as opposed to what was perhaps your grandfather’s Dior. Of course this often happens to fashion labels and is part of the story of how Gucci rebounded from near obscurity under the direction of Tom Ford, or how Marc Jacobs made Louis Vuitton interesting for men. Labels have to make a clear decision as to whether or not their current base of customers are strong enough supporters of the direction they’re already headed, to be able to calculate the degree of change in the design that is often needed to take an aging company into the future.
In any event, enough men will still take a look at the designs that Kris Van Assche creates for Dior Homme if for no other reason than the bourgeoisie chic of the label that can often become extremely hard to find in cities other than the worlds major metropolitan areas. It is also enough controversy to make a label that many found synonymous with one particular designer interesting again; both showing the world that the label does not have to rely on Slimane’s ethos for inspiration, and reminding us that there are other sides to Dior Homme. If you hate Dior Homme for next season (Spring/Summer 08) yet love the runway collections of Jean Paul Gaultier or Yohji Yamamoto; then as far as the Paris show, the work is already done.
– Chris Kendalls