What a difference a year makes. Last January, when Kris Van Assche made his runway debut as the new creative director at Dior Homme, it was accompanied by the swelling strings of music commissioned from the Wim Mertens Ensemble of Belgium (whose 11 members performed the piece live, atop pedestals), and the vampire chic collection was inspired by the image of the noble chevalier and the chiaroscuro style work of Dutch photographer Desiree Dolron.
This season the soundtrack was mixed by former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, and the inspiration was a bit more -- how shall we put it? -- mainstream.
“Some of the inspiration came from voguing,” Van Assche told me backstage after the show. I had to ask him to repeat it a couple of times partly because even though he speaks better English than I do, the Belgian-born designer's accent made it sound like "frogging" at first, and partly because once I understood the word, I still found it hard to comprehend. The storied House of Dior was drawing inspiration from an early 1990s club scene dance craze best remembered by Madonna's song and video "Vogue" ("Don't just stand there/let's get to it/Strike a pose/there's nothing to it.")
Van Assche explained: “That was a period when there was some time for lightness and some happiness, so I used the skills of the atelier to take the DNA of Dior -- the black suit, the white shirt and black tie -- and treat them with a little bit of lightness and happiness."