Before we knew them as the 99 percent and the 1 percent, we separated the workers of the world by the color of their collars: blue and white. Kris Van Assche erased the separation. For Fall, he staged a confrontation-in-clothes between laborers and professionals. Workwear and tailored clothing, the traditional uniforms of each, met in single looks. "For me, both are realities of menswear, and I get inspired by both," Van Assche said after the show.
It's not only on the catwalk that the haves are meeting the have-nots. Wall Street has been occupied, and even post-Zuccotti Park, the tension between classes continues to simmer worldwide. "The blue-collar people used to need protection gear, and I'd say now bankers and white-collar people need
protection gear," Van Assche said. He offered it in the form of strap-closed blazers, quilted jackets, coveralls, and blindered glasses. A collaboration with the denim company Lee introduced five-pocket trousers in stiff workman's denim.
This was an image of evolution, not revolution. The pairings Van Assche
proposed wove together elements of sporty and tailored, blue collar and
white collar. "I think in the end that's what we'll all end up looking
like," he explained. Look by look there were hits and misses, but the show
overall pulled cleverly from divergent traditions. The mash-ups were
grounded by the restrained color palette: gray, white, black, and,
interestingly, a color quite close to Bill Cunningham blue, the same as the
Parisian street-cleaner-uniform coat favored by one of the original
high-low mix-masters, the street-style photographer for the rareified