Designer News. Christian Dior's Slimane Gets the Pink Slip. Van Assche Gets Their Vote. Second City Style Fashion Blog

Kris Van Assche
Spring 2006 from Kris Van Assche
Hedi Slimane
Eric Wilson reports that Christian Dior has made it official: Hedi Slimane (you know him for his super chic rock star skinny suits) is out and 30-yr old Kris Van Assche is in as the artistic director of their menswear line. Although many insiders had known about the planned ousting since January, the company has made it official.
Christian Dior, the luxury fashion goods company, announced yesterday that it had replaced Hedi Slimane, its men’s wear designer, whose razor-thin suits helped revitalize the image of the house and ushered in a new era of fashion-conscious male consumers.
Hedi Slimane, above, whose razor-thin suits helped revitalize the image of Dior, will be succeeded by Kris Van Assche. In a statement that made no mention of Mr. Slimane, Dior said that the relatively unknown Kris Van Assche, 30, would become artistic director for men’s ready-to-wear and accessories. Mr. Van Assche was a former assistant to Mr. Slimane at Dior and at Yves Saint Laurent, where Mr. Slimane designed men’s wear until the Gucci Group acquired the Saint Laurent brand in 1999.
Mr. Slimane, the designer of Dior Homme since 2000, had been involved in contract negotiations since last July and had made no secret of his ambitions to exact greater creative control at Dior and design women’s collections under his own name.
After an extended impasse, Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Christian Dior and the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, began talking to potential successors. A spokesman for LVMH confirmed that Mr. Slimane was being replaced but declined to comment.
Mr. Van Assche designs clothes with a similar aesthetic but has less name recognition than Mr. Slimane, whose trim suits and skinny jeans became the subject of a song by Keys to the Streets of Fear, a Boston rock band.
“Of the many brands that have tried to create a presence in men’s wear, Dior became very strong, whereas some other French houses have not succeeded,” said Michael Macko, the vice president for men’s fashion at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Hedi has been a huge part of that.”
Although Mr. Slimane’s importance at Dior was considerable — Women’s Wear Daily estimated that 10 percent of its $918 million in sales came from men’s wear — the news of his replacement, after months of rumors, is likely to have little impact on the cultlike popularity of Dior Homme.
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–Joanne Molina for Second City Style

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