For his sixth collection, Kris Van Assche claimed inspiration from the photographs of August Sander, because he felt Sander was so astute at capturing the essence of both aristocrat and farm laborer in his work of the early 20th century. But such a generalist's skill eluded Van Assche himself as he offered clothes that were more thought than felt. There was something of the fashion student, rather than the designer, in both his proportions and his presentation. Where one might logically expect ease and confidence at this point in Van Assche's careerespecially when he has been given the plum job of the creative directorship of Dior Homme following Hedi Slimane's departurethere was instead an uncertain exploration of a somewhat old-fashioned formality, best exemplified by what might logically be considered Van Assche's signature item: the waistcoat. It appeared every which way but loose.
In the past, the designer has come down hard for romance, in the shape of a tango-dancing, rose-bearing, lovelorn swain. That same character (why does he feel like a country boy?) reappeared here in a full-sleeved poet's shirt, with a large-lapelled waistcoat barely reining in his emotional excess. He also sported voluminous multipleat trousers or what looked like a pajama suit of ticking-stripe baggy shorts and cropped jacket or long johns with a laced waistband. In other words, there was something slightly costumey about his garb. The show climaxed with a weirdly misjudged finale that saw one model sporting a strange little titfer, another a dunce cap, still another a comedy bow tie. It's possible this stems from Van Assche's sartorial historicism, and that may simply be a phase. Van Assche called his show "Souvenirs" and gave every invitee their own, a sachet of lavender. Lavender famously induces a good night's sleepa little relaxation wouldn't hurt him at this point.