Kim Jones replaces Kris Van Assche at Dior Homme

The LVMH group is busy making top-level changes. After leaving Louis Vuitton, where he was in charge of style for men's ready-to-wear, Kim Jones is now the new creative director of Dior Homme. He takes over from Kris Van Assche, who is leaving Dior after eleven years at the helm. The Flemish-born Belgian designer will nevertheless continue "to work in a creative role within the LVMH group," said Dior, adding that Van Assche's "new position will be announced very soon."


Kim Jones between Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss at his farewell Louis Vuitton show


The British designer, 38, has certainly earned his stripes at the LVMH group, joining the prestigious Dior label after seven years in charge of menswear at Louis Vuitton. During his tenure, he managed to freshen up Louis Vuitton's men's wardrobe, notably introducing a combination of streetwear and luxury style for the first time.

Jones was able not just to infuse Louis Vuitton's menswear with new zest, but to transform it into a cult line with a celebrity following, as shown by the planetary success of the collaboration with New York streetwear label Supreme last year.

Kim Jones is a cosmopolitan designer and art lover, born in London in 1979. He graduated from London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design with a Menswear MA in 2002. His graduation show won high praise within the press and the industry, and John Galliano bought part of it. He was admitted to the London Fashion Week in 2003, showing his menswear label, a blend of street style and sport fashion.

While still working on his own label - which he terminated a few years later - Kim Jones was also ultra-busy on a series of collaborations with Umbro, Hugo Boss, Topman and Iceberg. He was recognised at the British Fashion Awards several times, and also worked for Alexander McQueen before being called up in 2008 by Dunhill, where he became creative director, until he joined Louis Vuitton in 2011.

Since he was a small child, Jones has been a globetrotter, following his family in Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and the Caribbean. He is nomadic and curious about the world, and he will undoubtedly be able to write an exciting new chapter at Dior Homme, reinterpreting the French label's design style with a sprinkle of British cool and a pinch of exoticism.


Kris Van Assche bidding au revoir to the public after last summer's show - © PixelFormula


The life and career of Kris Van Assche, 41, are very different from Jones's. He was born in Londerzeel, a small Flemish town in Belgium, where he grew up. In 1998, he graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts and then moved to Paris, for an internship at Yves Saint Laurent. There he met Hedi Slimane, at the time in charge of style for the label's men's collections. He followed Slimane to Dior Homme in 2000.

Van Assche then left to create his own label. In the spring 2007, however, he was called back to Dior to take charge of menswear after Hedi Slimane's departure. Eventually, Van Assche put his own label on hold in 2015, to focus on his Dior menswear work.

Kris Van Assche's trademark style is urban and minimalistic, combining modernity with tradition. In a decade, the Belgian designer transformed Dior's menswear, emphasising with brio both its tailoring and fashion side, while adding sportswear and accessories to the collections. Notably, his work allowed Dior's menswear division to gain in size and expand its business, which grew from €100 million to €350 million in revenue over the course of 11 years.

"I salute Kris Van Assche, who contributed to Dior Homme's impressive growth by creating a contemporary, sophisticated men's style. He wrote an important chapter in the history of Dior Homme and played a key role in its expansion," said Pietro Beccari, the new CEO of Christian Dior Couture, in a press release.

Just over a month ago, the French label also announced the departure of Serge Brunschwig, the manager in charge of Dior Homme since 2015, who has been appointed CEO of Fendi, taking over from Pietro Beccari, who in turn went to Christian Dior.

The Italian top manager seems to have been very busy since he took charge of the French couture label at the start of the year, and other surprises may be on the cards. There are in fact persistent rumours about the possible departure of Maria Grazia Chiuri, womenswear creative director at Christian Dior since July 2016.
 

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