PARIS (AFP) - Designer Kris Van Assche on Tuesday (April 3) took the reins at Berluti, vowing to complete the transformation of the top-end cobbler into a major luxury men's label.
The Belgian creator, who left Dior Homme a fortnight ago after 11 years in charge, steps into the shoes of Colombian Haider Ackermann, who parted company with the French brand on Friday after only three seasons.
But Van Assche has big ambitions for the label which under its CEO Antoine Arnault has morphed from an elite shoemaker that shod artist Andy Warhol and a fair smattering of European royalty into a luxury men's fashion label.
"Antoine Arnault spoke to me of his ambitions for Berluti and it is with great pleasure that I accept this new challenge which fits perfectly with my own will and vision," Van Assche said as his appointment was announced.
"I have always wanted to build bridges between the savoir-faire, the heritage of a house and my clear-cut contemporary vision," the 41-year-old added.
Van Assche will not show his first men's collection in Paris for the brand until January 2019, reflecting the major rethinking that is likely to go on.
Arnault, the son of French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, said: "I have known him for several years, have always admired his work at Dior Homme and I am looking forward to working with him." The men's arm of the LVMH group to which Berluti belongs has seen dramatic change in recent weeks with the departure of Ackermann, Hedi Slimane arriving as artistic director of Celine and British designer Kim Jones leaving Louis Vuitton for Dior Homme and being replaced by DJ, designer and Off-White founder Virgil Abloh.
Van Assche added a punkish street style influence to Dior's fine tailoring, and Berluti said he will be in charge of its shoes, leather goods and accessories as well as ready-to-wear collections.
He is another product of the famous Antwerp fashion school in Belgium which gave wings to the talent of Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Anne Demeulemeester and several other top creators.