Two pieces of stage-play from Kris Van Assche's presentation encapsulated the mood of his collection. One grave young model walked the runway with hat in hand like an earnest suitor; another carried a jacket as a bullfighter carries his cape. There was a romantic vulnerability to these images, but they were also unambiguously masculine. The toreador, the tango dancerthese were Van Assche's inspirations. "I love the ceremony of getting ready to dress," he said afterward, and that notion dictated a certain formality to the clothes, as in a gray suit with shawl-collared jacket. (The bare feet and espadrilles were a stylist's indulgence.)
Volume was a key element, as in full trousers that puddled on the floor, and in a huge, gray-striped voile shirt. There were tricksy flourishes, such as trousers scrunched up and buttoned at the knee, and the designer explored asymmetry in a white suit jacket with a single shawl collar or another epauletted jacket in light gray with one dark sleeve. But the general feel was one of quietly banked fires of passionfor the finale, an accordionist played while an urgent horde of young men scuttled down the runway in white tanks, at least one bearing the image of Carlos Gardel, father of the tango.