Dior travels back in time for couture infused menswear

By , on January 21, 2018


With youth, the freedom to embody an ideal with reckless abandon. With age, a sense of looking from the outside in. The Dior Homme collection for Winter 2018-2019 designed by Kris Van Assche questions this duality, provoking a constant evolution of the formal and informal codes that define menswear today. A meticulous deconstruction of the Dior Homme suit finds symbiosis with the symbolism of 90s tattoo culture, pitching the sartorial finesse of the Dior Homme atelier against the tenets of urban nostalgia. (Photo by Dior)
With youth, the freedom to embody an ideal with reckless abandon. With age, a sense of looking from the outside in. The Dior Homme collection for Winter 2018-2019 designed by Kris Van Assche questions this duality, provoking a constant evolution of the formal and informal codes that define menswear today. A meticulous deconstruction of the Dior Homme suit finds symbiosis with the symbolism of 90s tattoo culture, pitching the sartorial finesse of the Dior Homme atelier against the tenets of urban nostalgia. (Photo by Dior)

PARIS — Designer Kris Van Assche travelled back in a fashion time machine Saturday while Robert Pattinson explained the importance of clothes for acting roles as he attended Dior Homme’s Paris menswear collection.

Here are some highlights of the fourth day of fall-winter shows:

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DIOR’S TATTOOED COUTURE

It was an ambitious fusion of two periods for Dior Homme: A sartorial homage to the past that twinned what the house called the “reckless abandon” of youth with the couture of Monsieur Dior’s New Look.

Designer Van Assche used references to 1990s tattoo culture in prints and gothic silver jewelry alongside suit variations on the Bar Jacket from the famed 1947 collection that transformed Western fashion.

The two-periods theme in the 49 suit-heavy looks was also evident in the age range of the models, who were either very young, or over 40.

The first styles, accessorized with silk neck scarves, featured some beautifully refined single- and double-breasted suits with narrow waists that curved out in a slight peplum-shape. Suits are the bread-and-butter of the house.

“I thought it was a good moment for Dior to go back to its DNA, like really the sharply cut suit,” the 41-year-old Van Assche told The Associated Press.

A flash of bright red across a striped T-shirt, meanwhile, turned the dial to the ’90s with the appearance of a spiked tattoo motif on the shirt undergarment. Continuing that vibe were the baggy jeans, wooly tank tops and sneakers, which were worn by models with messy hair.

“It’s looking back with a lot of love and sweet memories to when I myself was a teenager,” Van Assche said.

It was an intentionally split esthetic — and featured some very strong individual pieces.

Yet, the result was sometimes incongruous as a whole.

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PATTINSON SAYS CLOTHES HELP ACTING ROLE

“Twilight” star Robert Pattinson demonstrated why he’d been chosen as a Dior brand ambassador by extolling the influence of fashion and clothing on the ability of an actor to engage in a role.

“Shoes. I always find that when you play a character, if you find the right pair of shoes there’s a trigger that happens inside you,” said the 31-year-old who was dressed head to toe in Dior Homme.

“Or to have your pants up here, you feel like an entirely different person.”

He added that “you can change your body language and your entire silhouette. It’s all done through the clothing.”

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FRONT ROW AT DIOR

Model Bella Hadid joined Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, sporting a chic new beard, alongside “Pearl Harbor” actor Josh Harnett on the Dior Homme front row.

A rare face on the Paris fashion scene, Harnett, 39, said he was invited by Dior since he was in town promoting his new movie “Oh Lucy!” It’s a French-Japanese co-production that was screened in the International Critics’ Week section of last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

“It’s a comedy and lot of it is a road trip with me and two older Japanese ladies not speaking the same language and having parallel crises,” he said. “I think it’s really funny.”

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WALKING IN A THOM BROWNE WONDERLAND

There was the real crunching sound of fake snow at Thom Browne’s theatrical menswear display that wowed guests with its snowy white forest scene and tall silver birches lining the runway.

Equally impressive were the winter styles in the clothes.

With many designs channeling the sartorial vibe from which the New York City-based designer cut his cloth, Browne prepared his models to brave the harshest elements of the coldest months and in the process produced one of the best shows of the season.

Grey-blue knit ted caps, oversize knit scarves, red snow gloves and robust black hiking boots with thick lacing accessorized wrapped-up looks. They included block-like fur trims on cuffs and hems in the coat-heavy 32-look collection with classic tailoring in knit fabric.

Textured wool and checks motifs — that merged a winter scarf with a suit-style pattern — adored long A-line coats amid some of the thickest outerwear to be seen this fall-winter.

A touch of humour, in braided hair extensions with colored ribbons and sheeny ankle warmers that evoked a tied trash bag, was a crowd pleaser.

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BALMAIN HOMME’S ECLECTIC SPARKLE

Eclectic was the word for Olivier Rousteing’s high-energy show for Balmain Homme.

Mixing menswear and the womenswear pre-collection designs, the 32-year-old designer referenced almost all of the thematic touchstones used in previous shows within the same collection.

The 64 looks — in mainly green, black and gold — were a glimmering treasure trove of ideas.

Silver sparkle on a women’s singlet looked like chainmail, seen again in a men’s statement coat which screamed 1980.

Tribal patterns — horizontal and vertical stripes, and a “V” shape running down the torso — gave the designs a wild edge.

And 1980s peaked shoulders, slashed sections, black PVC pants and architectural, sculptured jackets gave the silhouette lots of sexy attitude.

Subtle is simply not a word in Rousteing’s vocabulary.

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SACAI REVAMPS THE PONCHO

One of Japan’s most popular luxury brands, Sacai gave traditional Latin American styles an urban reworking for its Saturday morning show.

With its signature use layering, thick embroidered sweaters sported voluminous fringing that evoked ponchos that originated in the Andes region. Their hue of intense pastel red gave the statement garments a contemporary lift.

Then styles from the gaucho horse riders that were popular in 19th-century Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay were included.

Thigh-length soft leather riding boots were combined with highly embroidered patterns and fringing and myriad layers of material across the torso that created divergent lines in the silhouettes.

It was fun, and fall-winter saw a more coherent side to the designs than has been seen in recent seasons.