The designer speaks with the musician on creativity in the age of Instagram
Having spent the last 11 years as artistic director of Dior Homme, Kris Van Assche’s tempered hand has redefined couture codes for a contemporary audience.
His often earnest references drew on the ’80s and ’90s subcultures he was introduced to as a teenager in the nightclubs of Belgium, specifically those of new wave and skateboarding.
“I think of myself as a storyteller,” offers Van Assche during his first interview upon leaving Dior Homme for our forthcoming Spring / Summer issue.
In practice, this evinced an aesthetic that at once paid homage to the archives of Monsieur Dior and his paradigms of precise tailoring, while pushing the men’s offering into unchartered territory, experimenting with volume, graphic logos borrowed from streetwear, and romantic flourishes.
An appointed cohort of vanguard brand ambassadors such as A$AP Rocky, Larry Clark, and Robert Pattinson have helped to introduce it all to a new, youthful audience.
Van Assche’s ability for open dialogue, the push-pull of creative influence between muse and maker, is perhaps best embodied in his friendship with the Grammy-nominated musician Yoann Lemoine, aka Woodkid.
Lemoine is also known for directing music videos for pop starlets such as Rihanna and Lana Del Rey and his recent collaborations with Pharrell Williams and John Legend, as well as the score he co-wrote with Nils Frahm for the JR-directed short Ellis, starring Robert De Niro.
Van Assche employed Lemoine’s rich, orchestral EDM as the inspiration and soundtrack for his Fall/Winter 2013 collection and shortly thereafter, Lemoine worked with Van Assche to outfit the cast of his own self-directed music video.
A mutual recognition and respect for each other’s work led to a close friendship. In the following conversation, conducted at Dior Homme’s Rue de Marignan headquarters surrounding the announcement of Van Assche’s departure as the longest-servicing artistic director of Dior Homme, Van Assche and Lemoine reflect on creativity, then and now.