July 05, 2006
Richard Gere on the invitation, Blondie on the soundtrack, a dedication to Lauren Hutton
Kris Van Assche has clearly been brooding on American Gigolo, and the resulting show was an example of concept tripping over collection. In a celebration of female empowerment that seemed slightly at odds with that movie's icy portrayal of lonely, aimless housewives, Van Assche saved his front row for women only, and offered up a collection of clothes for a day in the life of a man he essentially envisaged as a kept boy. Like Julian, the gigolo Gere played with perfectly calibrated charm, this boy arose in his underwear, worked out, lunched, played tennis, had dinner, and accompanied his client to the opera. All of which gave Van Assche a chance to display a full repertoire of his signature sleek tailoring (from dressy athleticwear to jackets with a curious peaked shoulder) and to inject design flourishes like the odd red accent or the epaulettes on a polo shirt.
With a little more editing and a tighter focus, he might have been onto something, but he wasn't content to leave things there, because he also used this occasion to introduce his new line for women. In keeping with his theme, the ladies doing the keeping were portrayed by a posse of runway faces from a decade or so ago. That meant Marpessa, say, in a three-piece suit. Afterward, the designer talked about how proud such women would be to be seen with a handsome young guy, picking up his bills and so on. One wondered whether Tilda Swinton, hurrahing from the front row, would agree.