September 26, 2008
No one could ever deny that Kris Van Assche sticks to his guns with his love of all things Latin American, but his fascination tends to be more intriguing than the fashion that results from it. This season, for instance, he was drawn to the chola, the Mexican gangbanger's moll. At least that was one interpretation of the black and midnight blue palette, the tank tops and baggy shorts (more boxer's shorts than boxer shorts), and the hard-edged styling touches like dark makeup and teardrop tattoos. But that toughness just came across as flat-out odd. Elsewhere, Van Assche honed his signatures: the floor-sweeping lengths, here in wrapped skirts, and the interplay of masculine and feminine elements, like a pinstriped jacket matched to a tiny skirt. A plain black pantsuit turned to reveal a waistcoat back to the jacket. Van Assche called his collection "Sang Bleu," presumably a reference to the blue blood of aristocracy, but "blue blood" also connotes anemia, and, indeed, there was something anemic about an entirely sheer slubbed-gauze gown. Ship it with a slip? Not likely.