Kris Van Assche has just returned from a trip to L.A., and while the Golden State didn't do much to lighten up his preferred color palette of charcoal, bone, black, and white, it did set him to thinking about the city's young rebels on the move. Van Assche is perseveringly interested in the transition between young manhood and manhood, a juncture bridged, he's lately come to think, by the purchase of a first suit. It's become a mini-mission of his to offer a kind of starter's model: sporty enough for the kids they were, professional enough for the adults they're going to be. "I am always interested in what used to be your childhood dreams as you move into real life," Van Assche said backstage after the show. "I imagined all the guys in Santa Monica. They need to be able to ride their bikes."

Hence the sportification of the suit. Today, they came with pants cropped high (the better not to stick in your spokes?) and jackets soft enough not to feel constricting. He showed them with reworked polo shirts whose sleeves reached to the elbow, modish little trilbies, and bug-eye shades. Laserlike focus has always been a KVA hallmark, but while there were some sleek silhouettes proposed, by the end, the variations on a theme dragged on a little long. The forever-young message became a lecture. And the lecture made you wonder: Is it really that bad to have to grow up?