10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kris Van Assche

You might recognize Kris Van Assche as the driving force behind some of the most stunning collections in modern-day menswear. His blend of creativity, precision, and innovation has made him a highly respected figure in the fashion world. But you might be surprised by the things you don’t know about this designer extraordinaire. Here are ten surprising facts about Kris Van Assche.

1. He is Belgian

You might not be aware that Kris Van Assche is a Belgian designer, born and raised in Londerzeel, Belgium. His humble beginnings in this small town helped mould his perspective, influencing much of his early work. Like many of Belgium’s finest, he was educated at the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, following illustrious alumni like Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulmeester.

The bold and distinctively Belgian approach to design, which often hinges on an innovative blend of the traditional and the contemporary, is evident in his creations. This palpable link to his roots adds a certain depth to his designs, proving fashion can encapsulate more than just aesthetics; it can encompass identity, heritage, and individuality.

2. Kris Van Assche Started His Career at Yves Saint Laurent

Not many people know that Kris Van Assche’s illustrious career started at Yves Saint Laurent. After graduating, he moved to Paris to join Yves Saint Laurent as Hedi Slimane’s assistant for the Rive Gauche Homme line. This was a challenging and pivotal role that allowed him to hone his skills in fashion design, production, and marketing.

His four-year tenure at Yves Saint Laurent, learning from the legendary Slimane, greatly influenced his design aesthetics. It was a dynamic working environment that forged an enduring professional relationship and friendship between him and Slimane, which continued when they both moved to Dior Homme.

3. He Had His Eponymous Label

Another lesser-known fact about Kris Van Assche is that he had a namesake label. After his stint at Dior Homme, he launched a label under his name in 2005. This provided him the freedom to create unrestricted by commercial considerations, resulting in collections that are atypical, personal, and a true reflection of his creativity.

The eponymous label lasted for a decade, gaining global recognition with its contemporary cuts and crisp tailoring. Despite closing it down in 2015 to focus on his role at Dior, the label manifested Van Assche’s individualistic design philosophy, personifying his passion for perfection and assertiveness in breaking boundaries.

4. He is the Artistic Director of Berluti

Many people associate Kris Van Assche with Dior Homme, but are unaware of his current role. In 2018, he was appointed as the Artistic Director of Berluti, an iconic Parisian footwear brand known for handcrafted leather goods. He has not only breathed new life into Berluti’s traditional footwear designs but also expanded the brand’s repertoire to include ready-to-wear collections.

Under Van Assche’s helm, Berluti experienced a revival with a design ethos that marries quality craftsmanship with a contemporary aesthetic. His deep respect for the brand’s heritage coupled with his innovative design approach has propelled Berluti forward, contributing to its burgeoning global presence.

5. He Celebrates Diversity

Kris Van Assche is celebrated for his efforts to represent diversity through his designs and fashion shows. Underlining this commitment, he once cast a 40-model-strong, ethnically diverse runway show for one of his collections for Berluti. His approach has been a breath of fresh air in an industry often criticized for its lack of diversity.

This commitment to inclusivity is not merely an afterthought for the designer; it is instead a fundamental part of his design philosophy. By bringing models of different cultures, ages, and sizes to the runway, he emphatically underscores his belief that fashion should be for everyone.

6. His Inspiration Comes from Street Style

Behind the polished and meticulously crafted collections lies the inspiration derived from global street style. Van Assche widely recognises the importance of street style in fashion and draws heavily from it in shaping his designs. He believes in its relevance and adaptability, valuing its dynamic, spontaneous, and raw qualities.

His creative process often involves observing people on the streets, understanding their fashion preferences, and incorporating these elements into his work. As a result, his collections resonate with a diverse audience, offering a fresh and accessible take on high-end menswear.

7. He Views Fashion as a Form of Dialogue

Van Assche doesn’t see fashion as merely a means of expression; he sees it as a form of dialogue, a way to communicate ideas, feelings, and stories. For him, a piece of clothing is more than a static entity; it is a conductor of conversations and interactions, deeply interconnected with the society it cloaks.

This outlook is evident in his innovative designs, which often provoke thought and engagement. Whether it’s subtly tweaking a suit jacket or adding an unexpected splash of colour, his designs challenge norms and encourage dialogue, making each piece more than just a fashion statement.

8. He is a Multi-tasker

Van Assche is not only a brilliant designer but also a master of multitasking. At Dior, he simultaneously worked on around six collections a year, from pre-collections to ready-to-wear to bespoke pieces. His ability to juggle different collections without sacrificing his innovative and meticulous approach is highly commendable.

Now at Berluti, he continues to multitask effectively, overseeing both the traditional shoemaking process and the fashion design department. Despite the varying demands of these roles, he handles each task with precision and grace, effectively pushing the boundaries of the brand.

9. He Incorporates Music in His Work

You might be surprised to learn that Van Assche is a music enthusiast. He often cites music as a significant influence on his work. It plays a crucial role in his creative process, ranging from initially inspiring a collection’s theme to setting the tone for a fashion show.

The designer’s rich musical taste is as diverse as his designs, taking in everything from classical to techno, and it reflects in his work. The impactful music at his fashion shows not only complements the visuals but often creates conversations, highlighting his belief in fashion as a dialogue.

10. He Chooses Craftsmanship Over Trends

An important ethos in Van Assche’s design approach is the belief in quality craftsmanship over transient trends. He strongly emphasises on the idea of creating pieces with longevity that can be appreciated beyond the superficiality of seasonal trends.

The focus on meticulous tailoring and unparalleled craftsmanship, heightened by his eye for detail and quality, has winningly shaped Van Assche’s reputation. This philosophy, which equally prioritises aesthetics and durability, encapsulates his work’s timeless appeal.

Conclusion

From his humble beginnings in Belgium to his ascent in global fashion, Kris Van Assche has carved out a distinguished place in the fashion world. His continuous pursuit of innovation, coupled with a profound respect for craftsmanship and diversity, makes him a captivating figure. As he continues to redefine menswear and push boundaries, there’s no doubt he will continue to impress and inspire.

For more about Kris Van Assche, you can visit his official Instagram account at https://www.instagram.com/kris_van_assche/ or explore his unique designs at Berluti’s official site https://www.berluti.com/en-int/