Karl Lagerfeld, one of Dior Homme’s biggest clients, pronounced Kris Van Assche’s latest collection “one of his best, if not the best.” Strong words from one of fashion’s greatest, but they were unequivocally true. For Spring 2017, Van Assche sent punk-inspired athletic wear down the runway in Paris, models storming the catwalk underneath a suspended roller coaster covered in flashing lights. For the Belgian designer, the collection was about tapping into his childhood and his years spent at Sinksenfoor, a now defunct local theme park. “This season there is a sense of collective consciousness to the collection—a remix of shared boyhood memories,” he said in a release. “I am interested in a synthesis of generations and filtering subcultures through my own lens to tell a new story.”
He told the sartorial tale through a series of punk and new wave silhouettes that were popular at the time, but also currently resurfacing for the Spring 2017. It was sporty, but elegant, and high-fashion in a way that very few designers have managed to accomplish when it comes to athletic wear. Traditional Dior suits came out studded with grommets, D-rings, bondage straps and cargo pockets that looked cool, but could not be deemed functional in any sense of the word. Jogger suits from the ‘80s were tricked out in so many drawstrings, it’s a wonder the models didn’t topple over on the runway.
But fashion isn’t always made to be functional. A series of armless blazers and trench coats came out, as well as tissue-thin sweaters and bondage tank tops. It was cool at the very least and gave the trend of athletic wear, which had been feeling stagnant as of late, something new to play with. It felt like Van Assche wanted to have fun with his inspiration in unexpected ways—a wide-leg raver pant here, a lace-up ankle there—it was new, daring and different. And while we can’t imagine Lagerfeld in any of those D-ring, bondage pants, we can see him pull a few of the more demure, but creative pieces for his private collection.