Kris Van Assche: Gender Blending the Rules of Menswear
Gender fluidity is a beautiful thing. Not specifically because it blurs the lines between the sexes (though that’s helpful in so many ways), but because it contains a larger message: that the age of meaningless tribes is (albeit slowly) on its way out. “Us vs. them” is the illusory distinction that powers every conflict — from gender wage disparity to genocide — and lies behind every pointless bit of social Sneetchery.
I’ve probably had better trips to Paris than during last Paris Fashion Week, when my phone died and — disoriented without my planning touchstone, and having a brain like a sieve — I found myself leaving my wallet back in my hotel, and missing a show when I couldn’t pay the cab. (A serious, serious problem, I realize.)
Dior Homme Summer 2018
It was after the missed show that I found myself in the Dior Homme store on Avenue Montaigne for a little retail therapy (on a credit card that I’m still paying off, thankyouverymuch). Not surprisingly, I ended up buying the type of thing I always do: a ripped denim jacket, firmly entrenched in the rock and roll canon.
It’s a great jacket, don’t get me wrong. But immediately afterward, I crossed the street and found myself in the women’s store, looking at Maria Grazia Chiuri’s genius tarot- and fencing-inspired collection.
It was — I knew — a world of magic and wonder I could never really expect to see in menswear.
Any man who has ventured into the women’s section with his girlfriend — or, if he’s braver than me, by himself — may immediately find himself with a serious case of “clothes envy.” Let’s face it: when it comes to menswear, our options are traditionally limited. We can divide most of our clothing into several buckets: dressy, rock, hip-hop, sport, gothy — or some, mainly familiar, combo thereof.
when it comes to menswear, our options are traditionally limited
All of which, very circuitously, brings us to the subject of fashion, and Kris Van Assche’s new collection for Dior Homme.
Although the collection’s focus is on wearability, mixing tailored looks with au courant sportswear pieces, there’s a genderless sensibility that permeates many of the looks: from the skinny scarves to short-shorts, to shirts cut like blouses.
While keeping true to its “A-story” vision — a Hogwarts-by-way-of-Reebok night at the prom — it succeeds in a noble B-story, indeed: a world with less separation between people, and where people like me are inspired to wear more than a very-safe denim jacket.