An immense, soaring room, its gray and white moldings can be glimpsed through a false ceiling of shimmering pennants. Packaging cardboard, laid out on the runway, looks like it's there to protect a precious parquet floor from the rave about to kick off. The space chosen by Kris Van Assche as the location for his Dior Homme winter 2017 show is a reflection of the collection: a very-Dior Dior, revisited through a clubbing prism. A pure and strong Dior style highlighting a new allure, hardcore and “hardior”, according to the word coined by the Creative Director to describe looks that are a riot of paradoxes and mixed messages.
“I like for people to expect a certain thing and to then be surprised,” explains Kris Van Assche. If the opening looks of the show carried on the story from the last collection, with their New Wave-influenced black, red and white color story, they nonetheless offered a new interpretation of the man’s suit. The jacket, usually athletic at Dior Homme, was fitted without losing any element of comfort, thanks to a rethinking of the armhole construction. This snug jacket contrasts with a street-inspired pant, one that's looser and cropped about the ankles. And suddenly, electric colors and teenage references bring an unexpected jolt. The suits are worn under a cocooning thick sweater, and leather gloves, giving a nod to Monsieur Dior, are in bright shades. Collars and coats are spray-painted orange, green or blue. On jackets, vertical lines reproducing the lines of canvassing stitches are mixed with multicolored frayed embroideries. And sweaters featuring the face of Christian Dior also display phrases such as “they should let us rave”, putting a Sex Pistols spin on things. The accessories heighten the tensions between sparring codes. Last season’s charm necklace has now become a keychain that includes a teddy bear charm – a candy-boys reference – and a ribbon bearing the word “hardior”. Footwear mixes gothic straps, white sneaker soles and non-traditional leather, which a luxuriously topstitched “hardior” pops up on a nylon bag… The collection’s climax came with pieces displaying the painting Mosh Pit by the artist Dan Witz, which seemed to reconcile all the paradoxes: on blousons, suits and bags, scenes of sweaty youths leaping about allude to the place where subcultures, memories of adolescence and the legacy of Christian Dior come together in a clash of unstoppable energy.