Former Dior Homme designer Kris Van Assche heads to Berluti


he latest move in the seemingly never-ending game of creative director Tetris sees former Dior Homme creative director Kris van Assche take the big job at Parisian bottier Berluti.

Van Assche, who originally hales from Belgium, sat at the helm of Dior Homme for some eleven years and was recently replaced by former Louis Vuitton men’s style director Kim Jones.

Jones allegedly increased Vuitton’s menswear sales four-fold during his time at the brand.

Van Assche’s shift across to Berluti will perhaps come as little surprise, given that Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme and Berluti are all owned by Parisian luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.

Van Assche’s arrival coincides with the departure of the 123-year-old bottier’s short-lived creative director Haider Ackermann, who had been at Berluti for three short seasons.

Van Assche’s output at Dior Homme was defined as much by pin sharp monochromatic tailoring (the cue for which Van Assche took from his predecessor, Hedi Slimane) as it was for a punky attitude which resulted in clothes which felt like high-luxe Cyberdog clobber: immaculately crafted stuff which sold particularly well in the Far Eastern markets.

Ackermann’s Berluti, though short-lived, was defined by soft-edged, ultra-chic tailoring; sexed-up takes on the brand’s traditional shoes, and understated, unlined outerwear pieces made from expensive fabrics.

For many in the industry, Ackermann’s collections for Berluti had quickly become a seasonal highlight. His departure from the role (before he was able to hit his stride) will, perhaps, be seen as unfortunate.

Whether a home is yet to be found for him within the LVMH stable remains to be seen. Ackermann for Loro Piana, perhaps? You heard it here first.

What Van Assche, a sneaker enthusiast, does at Berluti – a brand most famous for its ultra-expensive handmade shoes – has the potential to be exciting and fresh.

The fact that apparel forms a much smaller part of the brand’s output than that of Dior Homme, however, may present a challenge to Van Assche, who is first and foremost a clothing designer.

“I have always wanted to build bridges between the savoir-faire, the heritage of a house and my clear-cut contemporary vision.” Said Van Assche. “Antoine Arnault spoke to me of his ambitions for Berluti and it is with great pleasure that I accept this new challenge which fits perfectly with my own will and vision.”

Kris van Assche’s first collection for Berluti will be shown in Paris in January 2019.

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