The piece of white cloth that arrived with the Dior Homme invitation was almost invisibly printed with the word "lessness." House designer Kris Van Assche is known for his love of abstraction, but he's clearly partial to contradiction too, because the huge, mysteriously shrouded thing at the center of his venue promised "moreness." So did the music, with the anything-but-less strings of the soundtrack from Kar Wai Wong's 2046. Combined, they made for an impressively opaque prelude to the show. It's always been like that with Kris—lots of foreplay, then a debatable payoff. In the end, though, this particular outing was an entirely straightforward and career-best iteration of Van Assche's signatures: monochrome palette, extreme volumes, and unstructured djellabalike fluidity, all of it highlighted on models of surpassing youth.

His translation of the silhouettes of North Africa to urban Europe produced some striking pieces. In a sea of items without sleeves, one sleeveless duster was cut away so it moved like a swirling cloak. A jacket mutated into a shawl (an innovation that Umit Benan used to great effect in Milan last week). Caftan tops with a deep V neckline worked better than others that were clumsily draped or slashed wide open at the sides. And in a season of sandals, Dior Homme's walked on water.