June 24, 2011 Paris
Less, at least, is familiar. It's a KVA watchword, conjured season after season. More, if you went looking for it, would have to be in some of the rich fabrications, which included silk taffeta and lambskin. But it was really a red herring. The designer set out to honor the tailoring his atelier whips up for Dior, one he's so confident in, he sent out barely there two-piecers meant to resemble their toiles—that is, the white and-linen-colored muslin prototypes that are each suit's predecessor and underpinning. Jackets arrived in a variety of shapes (a thin-lapelled mod version, buttoned low; a shirt jacket; a sleeveless gilet blazer) and pants came in the aquiline, loose, cropped style familiar from Van Assche's namesake show earlier this week. The lines are liquid, contained here and there with high-buttoning closers resembling little silver rings. They're the anchors of military buttons, usually hidden on the garment's underside.
Interest in craft and the muchness of less has been one of fashion's recent preoccupations. The leather-detailed jackets and T-shirts, in fact, had a distinct whiff of Celine. Nonetheless, they had an austere beauty, their fat burned off. The problem is—as the problem has been—that Van Assche's obsession is calcifying into a credo. With the soft, wide-brimmed hats he showed (similar to those last season), his boys, who fluted by like fluttering jellyfish, began to resemble acolytes of an evangelistic sartorial sect. Today's packed house (with Usher, who's been doing the rounds this week, and Arnault pal Karl Lagerfeld in the seats) suggests that he continues to add adherents. But those not attuned to the wavelength of the designer's Less may leaving hoping for the afore-promised More.