Belgian designer Kris Van Assche is the new mentor of our beloved Master in Creative Direction. Traditional, elegant, urban, minimalistic and luxurious are a few words that probably come to mind when contemplating Van Assche’s aesthetic.
At the tender age of 18, Kris Van Assche began his education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, moving to Paris when he graduated in 1998 for an internship at Yves Saint Laurent. Here, Van Assche worked under Hedi Slimane and followed the designer to Dior in 2000 to work on its menswear line. In 2004, he launched his eponymous label KRISVANASSCHE, gaining international attention and distributing his independent line in over 150 stores worldwide. In 2007, he became creative director of Dior Homme.
“The way we present collections, the way we communicate, the way people buy and appreciate fashion, all of that is evolving at full speed and there is no longer one rule, one way of doing things,” explains Van Assche. “Being a Creative Director is, first of all, about understanding the brand you are working for. No two brands will have exactly the same needs. And more than ever before, Creative Directors must be capable of quickly adapting their ideas and concepts to an ever-changing reality. The pandemic gave a whole new side to the creative part of the job. Will there be a Fashion Week? Will buyers and journalists be able to travel? Will stores actually be open? Will the producers be able to complete the collection we have in mind? Fashion was always about making deadlines, but this just got a whole new dimension.”
Following 11 years at the helm of Dior Homme and a couple of years working as Berluti’s artistic director, Kris Van Assche is widely credited by the industry for making Dior contemporary again, choosing ambassadors like A$AP Rocky and Oliver Sims of The XX and integrating streetwear into the established brand so a newer and younger fan base could appreciate and fall in love with the fashion house.
Kris has had remarkable success and has also weathered some fashion storms throughout his career, making him the ideal mentor for our Polimoda students. Today, he is eager to share his knowledge and experience with a new generation of creatives by supporting and nurturing their growth both as individuals and as a team. “I am a strong believer in teamwork. It is great to know what you’re good at, but it is just as important to acknowledge what you’re not good at at all. Surrounding yourself with people who complete the talent you might have is essential. The fashion industry is complex and being a great designer is not enough,” says Van Assche.
“The comprehension of past experiences is definitely a good way to better understand the future and its challenges. Experience is a key, a tool. But the world is evolving at full speed, especially the fashion world, so these experiences from the past need to be put in the perspective of current needs and realities.”
We are honored to welcome Kris Van Assche as the new Master in Creative Direction mentor.
Cover Image: Kris Van Assche photographed by Anton Corbijn