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KRIS VAN ASSCHE
About this issue
On the threshold of his 31st birthday Kris Van Assche was appointed artistic director at Dior Homme. In January 2008 he presented his first catwalk show for Dior, an emotionally charged moment and a milestone in the career of this young designer. Amidst the turbulent preparations for the show and the presentation of his own label’s men’s and women’s lines, we invited Kris Van Assche to be our guest curator of A MAGAZINE #7.
Already in our early conversations it became clear that Kris wanted to work with people he felt connected to. He didn’t want to opt for big names, but rather for the people that fascinate him or those whose creative input had inspired and enriched him in the past.
The various collaborations with photographers, authors, stylists and models in A MAGAZINE #7 are the result of Kris’ search for true human contact within the creative process. Fine examples are the contributions of Wiglius De Bie and Gaëtan Bernard, both close acquaintances of Van Assche. Kris asked Wiglius to portray his team, at Kris Van Assche and at Dior Homme. Gaëtan Bernard’s reticent black and white portraits are silent witnesses to the fittings for the first Dior Homme collection. In these images Kris resembles a dancer subtly leading his model in a shrewd game of seeking contact and taking distance.
Photographer Sarah Moon was so generous as to provide us with a previously unpublished series of portraits she made of her good friend and artist Jacques Monory who, with his typical “gangster look” of raincoat, hat and sunglasses, embodies the ultimate Kris Van Assche man. Snapshots from Van Assche’s own travels in Latin-America, Morocco and Turkey surface on several occasions throughout the magazine. They offer a counterbalance to his public life as a designer and can be seen as a representation of the delicate balancing act between private and public life every designer needs to perform. His series of dreamy close-ups of the whirling dervishes in Istanbul form both a dramatic contrast and a welcome break after Nan Goldin’s dramatic backstage portraits at Dior. Goldin was virtually standing on Van Assche’s feet when she made them—taken at that exact moment when he screens his models one last time before sending them out onto the catwalk, pumped up on adrenaline with their faces strained under “high tension”.
The words “poetic” and “romantic” recur constantly in reviews of Van Assche’s work. In A MAGAZINE #7 Kris wanted to highlight the various facets of the poetry in his work. The poetry he finds reflected in the strive for the elusive dream within the images of artist duo Parkeharisson as well as that which is created when you show your vulnerability and allow other people into very personal aspects of your work. For the two fashion shoots in this issue, one featuring the Dior men’s collection and the other Kris Van Assche’s own women’s collection, Kris asked his friend, Mauricio Nardi, to be responsible for the styling and to portray his own interpretation of the collections, a task he has never trusted to anyone but himself until now.
Intrigued by his œuvre and appreciating the poetry he brings to the world of porn, Van Assche invited Jeff Burton to shoot the campaign for the Kris Van Assche men’s collection. Radically, Burton chose to use three porn actors in the sultry settings of an LA laundromat. Kris wanted to be an observer on the set and asked Burton to transcend the boundaries of a traditional commercial campaign. They shared a hilarious and for Kris, at times, very recognizable conversation about creativity, doubt, shame, pride, family, vulnerability, respect and freedom. Burton’s mother’s reaction when he first told her that he worked in the porn industry became this issue’s leitmotiv.
Let go of all your prejudices, be inspired and dream away with A MAGAZINE #7!