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by Timothy Hagy

PARIS, July 2, 2005 - Capturing abstract concepts and reflecting them in clothing is notoriously difficult for the most seasoned designer, but Kris Van Assche proved his ability at his second men’s show staged Saturday afternoon in an old theater in Montmartre. Perhaps honing in on skills learnt from his former boss, Hedi Slimane, Van Assche left no doubt that he could subtly work an underlying theme.

Just as the afternoon had turned sultry, the first model, shirtless, gold medallions falling from a neckless over his chest, set the tone. Whether in pants blossoming with pleats, immaculately tailored jackets, a vest sprinkled with sequins, a slashed cummerbund that wrapped the waist, or sleeves runched and suspended, the look sizzled. Models strolled, stetsons by their side, holding parasols - one even clutched a handful of miniature carnations. By the time a lone accordion player sat down on the runway and took up an old love song, the point was made.

In an age of so much global tension and dissent, what was so refreshing about the Van Assche show was that it hearkened back to a simpler time now lost, when old fashioned romance was the order of the day.

This was a first rate show from an up and coming young designer, a fact not lost on the world’s most powerful editors seated front row.

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