Drawing inspiration from the discovery of a letter written by Christian Dior in the 1950s, the collection elevated the traditional to new heights by fusing it with modern art. It was quite an electric show, with a soundtrack curated by Michel Gaubert. In a fitting contrast to ideas of the classic, it featured "Mary" by Chris and Cosey – the latter being Cosey Fanni Tutti, the radical performance artist and ex-member of cult noise band Throbbing Gristle.
Kris Van Assche – who can be found at Miami Art Basel every year – is always taking his cues from the modern art world. SS14 was inspired by the work of John Chamberlain and his 300lb scrap metal sculptures, and the show space was designed “to look like an art gallery,” as Assche told Dazed in a head-to-head with Paolo Roversi. This season, what began as classic pinstripes soon metamorphosed into white lines darting over garments, before becoming the handwriting of Dior himself, covering suits and denim. Classic tailoring was shaken up by the injection of one of art’s cornerstones: the three primary colours, which appeared in stripes and raincoats.
Paying dues to Dior:
The letter, discovered in the maison's archives, read: “Traditions have to be maintained so they can be passed on to future generations. In troubled times like ours, we must maintain these traditions which are our luxury and the flower of our civilisation.” Van Assche, like Dior, is a traditionalist, and whilst the collection retained a great sense of respect for the past, it also looked towards the future. The straight, white lines of the early looks gave way to outfits covered in abstract scribbles of colour, yet Dior’s handwriting remained on shirt collars in a symbolic union of old and new.