Kris Van Assche on the runway, Fall 2007
Kris Van Assche on the runway, Fall 2007

PARIS, Feb 5, 2009 / FW/ — When March 2009 rolls around, Kris Van Assche would have been at Dior Homme for two years, having been appointed as its Creative Director in 2007. Though nothing had been announced if he is renegotiating his contract or not, a persistent rumor that surface during the recently concluded Paris Menswear Fall 2009 season says that British-born designer Gareth Pugh will soon be installed at Dior Homme.

How did the rumor start? It’s probably because as Suzy Menkes reported, “Fashion’s latest London wild boy [Gareth Pugh] had LVMH honchos front row sizing up his meticulous, hard-edged, pagoda-shouldered tailoring, intricate play on diamonds and squares and angular mirrors as a turning backdrop.”

Those who attended the show saw the same thing. So, though nothing had been said or done, scuttlebutt has a way of sounding like it is true.

Let’s look at the facts: Kris Van Assche has been the Creative Director of Dior Homme for two years now. Contracts can run for any number of years though three seems to be a favorite number for most houses.

But, it is also possible that Van Assche’s contract is for two years and not three. In any case, any negotiations of a contract always seem to get out in the open. Nothing had been mentioned even through the grapevine that Kris Van Assche is re-negotiating his contract; so I will leave it at that.

Gareth Pugh (London, May 2007)
Gareth Pugh (London, May 2007)

Currently, Dior Homme is the most iconic menswear due largely to Hedi Slimane’s influence. Kris Van Assche since he took over had taken the label into a different direction, which, quite frankly is more realistic than Slimane’s idealized silhouette.

Beautiful as Hedi’s vision was at Dior Homme, there are also a very limited number of men who could wear them. One has to be very thin to fit into those trousers. Kris Van Assche is more democratic, allowing more men to come into the fold. Romantic by nature, Van Assche also softened the hard edges of Dior Homme, making it more desirable and aspirational to a wider audience.

Gareth Pugh, as Suzy Menkes had said is “London’s wild boy.” His Fall 2009 collection is creative, edgy and leans deeply into to gothic. It has a hard edge to it; a quality that Pugh shares with Hedi Slimane when cutting silhouettes. Hence, though Pugh’s creations are very different from Hedi Slimane’s Dior Homme, having that common quality of having a hard edge has made Dior Homme’s fans giddy.

It still remains to be seen if the rumors will pan out. One thing is sure though, this is something that we should keep a close eye on.


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