The problem with menswear is that it moves at a glacial pace. The last time there was any significant change in the silhouette was when Hedi Slimane slimmed it all down at Dior Homme in the early aughts. Though Slimane is gone, the look still dominates among the fashionable set on the street, on the red carpet and on the concert stage -- where Mick Jagger and the Jonas Brothers share the same whittled-down wardrobe aesthetic.
So, again this season, it's probably no surprise that things didn't change much. In these uncertain times, the men's runways were dominated by safe choices. The suit was king (probably because if a man buys anything in the next year it'll be an outfit to wear to that job interview), and Raf Simons served up some of the best, impeccably tailored and razor-sharp, though the neoprene shrugs were a distraction.
Even Prada, who usually can be counted on for an offbeat vision, was solidly in the wearable camp. "It's a dangerous time," seemed to be the message. Trends showed a desire to insulate (Dolce & Gabbana's quilted tux), escape (Viktor & Rolf's surrealist romp) and comfort in cardigans and cable knits (nearly everyone).
But there's always a hunger for change -- that's what fashion is all about. That's why people continue to look for someone to reinvent, instead of just retreating into what they've always done. At Dior Homme, the expectation was that Kris Van Assche could deliver the goods a la Hedi. But to date, he hasn't been able to, and his latest collection -- which takes inspiration from the '90s voguing dance craze -- lacks the electricity of his predecessor. Yes, there were variations on the skinny black suit and some of the distinctive blousy trousers he's played around with for a few seasons, but Van Assche spends so much time being the not-Hedi, he doesn't end up being much else.