Jun 27, 2007
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All eyes on Hedi Slimane's successor at Paris menswear

Jun 27, 2007

PARIS, June 27, 2007 (AFP) - All eyes will be on Hedi Slimane's successor at Dior Homme when four action-packed days of menswear for next spring-summer kick off here on Thursday, June 28th.

Creations of Kris Van Assche in Paris on 27th January 2007 - Photo : François Guillot/AFP

The 39-year-old French rock'n'roll designer revolutionised the house's fashion for men with his slim silhouette, high collars and narrow black suits: no less than Chanel's top designer Karl Lagerfeld went on a draconian diet to shed 42 kilos (92 pounds) to be able to squeeze into one.

The question is whether Kris van Assche will be able to retain the cult following, which includes veteran rockers Mick Jagger and David Bowie as well as Franz Ferdinand of the younger generation.

The 31-year-old Belgian, who trained in the royal academy of fine arts in Antwerp, has a similar background to Slimane. Like him he worked for Yves Saint Laurent before crossing over to Dior menswear, which he left in 2004 to create his own label.

He has decided to present his first collection as the top man at Dior Homme on live models, but not as a catwalk show.

Another debut will be Franck Boclet for Emanuel Ungaro, which he joined at the beginning of the year after 16 years with Francesco Smalto. It is hoped he will breathe new life into men's fashion at Ungaro, which is better known for its women's ready-to-wear.

Franck Boclet for a Smalto fashionshow in Paris, on 3rd July 2006 - Photo : François Guillot/AFP

Smalto's collection will be signed by Youn-Chong Bak, a 29-year-old Korean-born Swiss woman from the house's own design studio.

Belgian designer Dries van Noten will be missed as he has decided for the first time to show his menswear in Milan, although he will stay with Paris for his women's ready-to-wear. His entourage explained that the decision had been taken for timetabling reasons.

Five newcomers this season are France's Eric Lebon, a finalist in the Hyves fashion festival in 2006, Australo-New Zealander Jsen Wintle, German Tillmann Lauterbach, Korean Juun J and the Japanese label Attachment.

Another show to watch will be Cerruti's by Nicolas Andreas Taralis, a former assistant of Hedi Slimane, who was appointed artistic director last year.

The schedule this season will be particularly hectic as the same number of designers - 44 - are being crammed into four days instead of the usual five.

The big names and heavy-hitters are evenly distributed, starting with Jean Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano and Givenchy on Thursday, 28th; Rykiel, Louis Vuitton, Ungaro and Kenzo on Friday; Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler and Hermes on Saturday, and Lanvin, Dior and Smalto on Sunday, July 1st.by Dominique Schroeder

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