As the former creative director of Dior Homme, Belgian designer Kris Van Assche was known for his urban, minimalistic aesthetic, balancing heritage and innovation at one of luxury menswear’s leading labels. The designer’s choice of ambassadors, from A$AP Rocky to Oliver Sims of the XX, and his integration of streetwear into the rigorous and established codes of Dior Homme have won over a new fan base for the brand. He departed the brand in March 2018 after 11 years, and in April was confirmed as the new artistic director of Berluti, replacing Haider Ackermann .
Born in the Belgian municipality of Londerzeel, Van Assche grew up as an only child in a small Flemish town. At eighteen, he began his education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, moving to Paris when he graduated in 1998 for a four-month internship at Yves Saint Laurent . Here, Van Assche worked for Hedi Slimane on the Rive Gauche line, following the designer to Dior in 2000 to work on its menswear line. Van Asche is widely credited with making Dior contemporary, playing on Dior's original tailoring, drawing on streetwear and launching a limited edition BMX bike.
In 2004, he left Dior. With the support of friends, he launched his own menswear label, which garnered widespread industry attention from its inception. Despite initially having a team of only three people, the audience at its debut show included figures such as Suzy Menkes and the brand went on to be stocked in 150 stores. When Hedi Slimane exited Dior Homme in 2007, Van Assche succeeded his former mentor in the top creative position. In 2015, the designer put his eponymous label on hiatus after twenty seasons, to focus exclusively on Dior.
At Berluti, Van Assche released his first collection in Paris in January 2019, working with the Italian stylist Mauricio Nardi who also joined the LVMH owned leatherware brand. Van Assche revealed his first campaign for the brand preceding the show, paying homage to the brand's classic "Alessandro" shoe in black and white imagery.