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Men, you look good in slim elegant cut

By Gan Tian (China Daily)

09:18, July 17, 2013

"The Dior Homme man of now looks to the future and is confident of this future." Kris van Assche, Designer (China Daily)

In the men's fashion world, the image of muscular and hunky Hugh Jackman is out. Pale and thin Robert Pattinson is in vogue.

The trend is even more apparent in China. Some of the country's top men celebrities — like Huang Xiaoming, Deng Chao, Tong Dawei, Han Geng and Stanley Huang — all have physiques like Pattinson's.

At Dior Homme's very first show out of its headquarters in Paris, which was held in Beijing, these top-tier celebrities were invited to grace the menswear's red carpet.

After debuting its fall/winter 2013 collection in January in Paris, Dior Homme staged its first runway collection at Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in late May. The French clothing retailer presented 40 pieces, three of which are especially created for Chinese men.

The designer behind Dior Homme, Kris van Assche, says Beijing is a "natural choice".

"China is obviously an important market for Dior Homme and a constant source of inspiration (for me)," he says.

The new pieces Van Assche created this season are all in black and white, delivering a futuristic glamour. The designer has a preference for slim, clean and simple silhouette.

When tall, slim models presented them in the CAFA Museum, fashionistas present immediately recognized the label's signature simplicity and elegance.

During the show, a bat accidentally swooped into the runway, adding a mysterious Gothic touch to the whole atmosphere.

Born in Belgium in 1976, Van Assche developed an interest in art and fashion since very young. After graduating from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he went to Paris in 1998, becoming an assistant to the world-famous designer Hedi Slimane in Yves Saint Laurent.

Van Assche's designs are deeply influenced by Slimane, who created a new image for menswear in the 1990s: slim and elegant. Slimane and Van Assche worked together for seven years before the latter assumed the position of Dior Homme's artistic director.

"The Dior Homme man of now looks to the future and is confident of this future," Van Assche says. "He might be wearing a slim-fit black suit, but it now has a more athletic silhouette. Now the Dior man works on who he can be and how to improve himself, both outwards and inwards. He is not nostalgic about the past, for an idea of lost youth, but is moving forward into the future."

When he was asked to pick one look for Chinese men, Van Assche says he will choose a well-tailored suit and a white shirt.

"These might seem obvious but, get the look right, and every man looks elegant and authoritative. And the third thing — a great pair of sneakers, a well-designed pair, made with the same care and attention as a formal shoe, elevates the casual into something very chic indeed," Van Assche adds.

Some critics say Van Assche has already added more masculine elements for Dior Homme, but he denied it. He says things have changed quite a bit since he was offered the job.

Although in the fashion world, Dior Homme is associated with the slim man look, Van Assche strongly insists there's no longer only one stereotypical look of "Dior Homme man".

"I like the idea we can dress both very demanding business men, who have eye for cut, detail and quality, and very young fashion fans, looking for strong identity pieces with high creativity," he says.

The 37-year-old is probably the best person for the position of Dior Homme's creative director. When asked what other career path he would take if he is not a fashion designer, he answers without hesitation: a florist — a job that requires attention to detail, elegance and patience.

That is a typical Dior Homme image.

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