Origins: Kris Van Assche
Who started it?
Kris Van Assche was born in Londerzeel, Belgium, in 1976. As a teenager, he saw Madonna perform during her Blond Ambition Tour, and was inspired by her costumes - which were designed by Jean Paul Gaultier - to pursue a career in fashion design.
In 1994, he entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, where his focus on elegance above extravagance won him a reputation for seriousness among his tutors. After his graduation show in 1998, he moved to Paris, where he worked as a design assistant at Yves Saint Laurent. There, he met designer Hedi Slimane, who later became his mentor.
Slimane convinced Van Assche to move with him to Dior Homme, where they continued their collaboration, working together until 2004, when Van Assche left to set up his own label. He held his first menswear collection in autumn/winter 2005.
Today, the label is distributed at high-end retailers worldwide, including Printemps in Paris, Luisa Via Roma in Florence, Loveless in Tokyo and Jeffrey NY in New York. Earlier this year, Van Assche was asked to return to Dior to take over Hedi Slimane's role as artistic director. His debut collection for Dior Homme was shown last month.
Van Assche's design philosophy focuses on men who like to put in the effort to dress well. His work is characterised by attention to detail, and a nonchalant sartorial style.
His spring 2007 menswear collection featured Bermuda and gym shorts paired with golf tees. His clothes are known for the attention he pays to small details such as buttoned-up belt loops. He also presented a womenswear collection for the first time, called Hello Girls, which included vests, suit jackets and harem pants.
Who wears it?
Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Chris Martin, Tilda Swinton and Justin Timberlake have all worn his pieces in fashion magazines, at events or privately.
What else can I buy?
There's a small line of accessories, including trainers, necklaces, belts and ties.
Van Assche also regularly creates pieces for art installations and performances. In June, he adorned 40 square metres of footpath in central Paris with aromatic plants and flowers as his contribution to the Flowers in the City installation.
Where can I buy it?
Kris Van Assche is available exclusively at Harvey Nichols, the Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388