Belgian designer Kris Van Assche

March 29, 2007 - LVMH officials are close to naming Kris Van Assche Artistic Director of Dior Homme, thus breaking off further contract negotiations with Hedi Slimane. Van Assche worked as Atelier Assistant to Hedi Slimane before leaving Dior in 2005 to launch his own label. WWD reports that Dior choose Van Assche on account of his reputation as a fine tailor and for his knowledge of the internal workings of the company. Dior officials wanted to move in a different direction without sacrificing the heritage of the label Slimane created from scratch. The final decision was made yesterday in Paris.

While the news was not unexpected, it is still surprising that the changing of the guard was made while Slimane was out of the country. Fashionista will remember the ugly divorce that surrounded Tom Ford's exit from Gucci, or Helmet Lang's messy split from his own company. Fashion is, more often than not, governed by financiers.

Karl Lagerfeld, one of Hedi Slimane's strongest supporters, made his opinion of Van Assche clear at the Dior Homme show last July in Paris. "Hedi will just have to make clothes for somebody else," he told Fashionlines. "I'm a designer follower, not a label follower. And I'm certainly not wearing the clothes of Kris Van Ascche."

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