Dior Homme F/W 2016

Dior Homme sees red

In my New Wave youth when I worshipped at the shrine of The Clash, and collected bootleg editions of Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols, I have to confess I would never have imagined them as the inspiration for a runway show of high fashion for men; and really rather cool fashion at that.

But we were all young once. Naïve. Lacking foresight. Totally incapable of predicting the future, which we saw a good deal of in the latest Dior Homme fashion show, where the storied house’s designer Kris Van Assche confronted two decades the New Wave 80’s and the Skateboard 90’s to great effect in a covered tennis court at the ring road of Paris. The result –perhaps Kris most impressive for the brand.

Dior Homme tailoring homage to Bowie
Dior Homme’s tailoring homage to Bowie

“What I loved was the confrontation of two cultures and the way they complimented each other,” explained Van Assche, later in the evening at a charming dinner before Matisse’s La Danse de Paris in the Palais de Tokyo.

Models dashed around a set covered in skateboard loops and jumps, all trimmed with red neon and under a ginormous chandelier that went back and forth between illuminated crystal and fiery red; the collection was a dramatic contrast of red and black throughout.

Codes of the house but cool: Dior Homme’s rose print
Dior Homme’s rose print

This designer is at his best when he hits the sweet spot between tailoring and street-wear and he was totally in the zone this season. His cutting was concise; his self editing of strings, red laces, athletic references and straps was wise; his enormous inflated matelassé parkas had wit and his winter rose print on white jeans were utterly charming and in line with Dior codes.

Fashion can be prescient. Seeing as most of the collections we have seen this past week were imagined and created months ago it was remarkable how many designers have sent out suits that recalled a David Bowie silhouette with enormously flared loon pants and crisp boyish jackets. None better cut than those in this Dior Homme show, in particular a sleek anthracite leather version that had a real wow factor.

Van Assche is the best when it comes to black leather
Van Assche is the best when it comes to black leather

Post show, van Assche was in an ebullient mood as we dined with A$AP Rocky and Christian Slater. The food was minimalist but once again the red powerful. Bottles of Le Petit Cheval to warm the hearts of 60 editors and It Figures in Paris as the menswear season ends and couture begins tonight.

“We’ve had a great show by a great designer and I must say we are all pretty pleased,” confessed CEO Sidney Toledano. He may not have signed a new couturier for his women’s business, but Dior Homme is ticking over nicely.