January 20, 2012 Paris
It gave him an opportunity to play with sportswear, like trenchcoats, pleated trousers, and army-jacket blousons. "I had been wanting to do sportswear for a while," he said backstage after the show. "I've been concentrating so much on the tailoring and I never really found the right approach. Here, we applied the same finishes we do to tailoring to sportswear." He highlighted the house's ateliers and their craft skill by showing several jackets inside out.
With its martial touches, like mirrored aviator sunglasses, and references to streetwear, as in all the baseball caps, this harder-edged collection felt like a departure from the chilly softness of the past few seasons. It was simpler, more accessible, and ultimately more desirable. The key piece was a long overcoat that zipped entirely up and down the back, which struck an adaptable note between hard and soft, movement and structure. Van Assche showed it fully open. "It's all quite peaceful," he insisted. That didn't feel exactly true, though the show did close with a series embroidered with white birds, symbol of peace. Yet they almost had the look of camouflage.