January 18, 2014 Paris
The strength was in the finely honed detail. The pinstripes of Dior's own Savile Row suits were reproduced in myriad versions: narrow, wide, irregular, embroidered, rendered in leather strips. The polka dots of his silk ties were embroidered all over jackets, pants, shirts, bags, and shoes. The lily of the valley that Dior believed was his good-luck charm appeared as a trompe l'oeil embroidery peeking from a pocket, covering a shirt, or as a jacquard knit.
In studying the life of Dior the man, Van Assche was fascinated by how superstitious he was. Guided by a quotation from Goethe, "Superstition is the poetry of life," Van Assche drew on not only the flower but also the star, heart, and coin motifs that Dior treasured for the subtle, delicate detailing of tiepins and brooches. A rose embroidery found in Dior's couture archive was blown up as a visual on huge, swingy coats (they're shaping up as Fall's must-have in Paris).
The formality of the collection—often three-piece, sometimes four-button—was new. Van Assche has usually, by his own admission, stuck to a clone-like proposition of "utilitywear, jeans, and sneakers." What was clever here was the incorporation of streetwear into the tailoring. Macro: a parka cut from a substantial Japanese nylon in khaki, or a utility jacket in that same nylon, both layered over pinstripe suits. Micro: a nylon cargo pocket on pinstripe pants, a single zippered pocket on one sleeve of a blazer. Van Assche said he was "imposing more variety" on himself. And that means, come fall, there'll be more choice for l'homme Dior.