PARIS (AP) -- Dior Homme designer Kris Van Assche's spring-summer 2010 collection of sheer suits with fluttering raw seams and visible shoulder-pads had the star-studded fashion crowd at Sunday's show abuzz with rumors that it would be his last for the Paris-based luxury label.
Following the display, some top fashion journalists hinted that they thought Van Assche was on his way out. Unusually, some declined to comment on the record about the collection, which featured low-crotched, high-water pants and sheer Mao-collared shirts that gave the models a faintly Amish air.
Van Assche — a Belgian who showed his eponymous line earlier in the week to mixed reviews — also delivered loads of sleeveless blazers and thin-lapeled jackets in fabric so sheer that the network of seams and white shoulder-pads shone through.
One model wore a blazer that had been picked virtually clean — with no sleeves and just two triangular panels over the shoulder where the back should be.
To be fair, rumors of Van Assche's imminent departure from Dior have swirled periodically since he took over in 2007 from the wildly popular Hedi Slimane, whose snug-fitting rocker suits are the stuff of fashion legend.
And it's true that Van Assche's emphasis on lightness and transparency in the spring-summer 2010 collection were spot on-trend: Sheer shirts and unlined blazers have dominated Paris' menswear runways. Sleeveless blazers, which at Dior Homme look like slightly oversized vests with jutting shoulders, were also a big look for next summer.
Then why was Dior Chairman Bernard Arnault, France's richest man, pulling such a dour face during the display? Perhaps it was the heat, which had everyone in the crowd — which included Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld — schvitzing.
Or perhaps Arnault was fretting about how to market the collection. At this difficult time for retail — when many other labels have gone back to the basics, delivering conservative, traditional menswear — how does one sell a collection that lacks elements as basic as blazer sleeves and backs?