January 19, 2008 Paris
Van Assche clearly has great faith in this silhouette, because he's used it before. And maybe it is in the DNA of the brand, given David Bowie's brief flirtation with the Big Pant (the Thin White Duke was a seminal inspiration for Hedi Slimane, in both baggy and tight-trousered phases). But even that can't shift the uncomfortable echoes of an early eighties Montreal/New York boutique business called Parachute. Which led on, in this case, to other discombobulating New Wave-isms: the patent leathers, the Eldritch footwear, the curious geometries of hems pointing this way or vents stitched that way. In his show notes, Van Assche evoked "the solemn advance of a Shakespearian hero," which possibly accounted for the Hamlet-on-Mars feel of a slashed doublet I mean, sweater and hose. Those notes hinted at an acutely self-conscious need to inject portent into the collection, likewise the unremittingly dark palette. That leads one to the obvious solution: Lighten up. There were gems in the murk, however. Van Assche presented some beautiful, poetic shirts; a barathea coat had a sleek (okay, vampiric) glamour. Maybe next time, the sun will be shining.