'Forever Young' read the notes of the Dior Homme Show - Kris Van Assche was looking to youth and the memories and attitude that come along with it for A/W 18. It seems everyone is lusting over youth - but rather than yearning for life, vitality, child-like passion and innocence, when most use the phrase 'youth' these days they are referring to a youth market, hype and cult obsession. Now it seems that youth is just another word for sportswear or street-wear. Previously, referencing youth could be pre-teen, the nineties, sub-cultures, counter-cultures etc but now it seems to reference the streets, tapping into what sells for the younger generation. Van Assche often references both in his work and this collection was a textbook example of that.
Staged amongst three large frames filled with rainbow coloured lights which pulsed with the music, the Dior Homme A/W 18 show (Kris van Assche’s tenth year under the helm) saw a rousing hybridisation of youth terminologies, a merging of both ideals. Trim, slim suits that will appeal to the fashion conscious were given a stiff necktie, fun, young striped polo shirts were layered with street-wear inspired vest and turtleneck, whilst tattoo-like insignia (not too dissimilar to the stencils one used as a child) were used as a motif throughout, on bags, on jewellery, on scarves, in all over prints and even shaved into hair.
Loosely laced trainers, Dennis the Menace stripes and Christian Dior Atelier logo t-shirts nodded to an eighties teen, so too did the remixes of pop classics such as I’ve Got The Power, Take on Me and of course Forever Young on the soundtrack. Floppy hair and oversized trouser were complemented with structured suiting and Van Assche's overall move toward whip-sharp tailoring - he had been influenced by the iconic Dior Bar Jacket and the house’s heritage silhouettes. You saw that especially in the cinched waist blazers with slender piping, with belted waists and with the opening all-black looks - a strong progression from last season.
There was plenty on offer here. Perhaps a little too much. The showroom was full to the rafters with flippable, exchangeable bags, necklaces, earrings, neckties, Cigarette pouches - all in the tattoo symbol. This is where 'Forever Young' translates to the street-style, 'sportswear' terminology. Boys can dip into Dior with any one of those patterned accessories, while fans of the house can tap into the looks of strong silhouette and structured waist.
Van Assche's collection will no doubt do well. It manages to create a desirable balance of youth-culture and craft, subverting the traditional while keeping the house codes in check, pulling from the couture and giving it a street-wise switch and ultimately showing the fun, even cheeky, side of suiting.