Kris Van Assche was born in Belgium in 1976. After graduating from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1998, he moved to Paris, where the young talent immediately found a home at Yves Saint Laurent, as the assistant to Hedi Slimane. When Slimane left YSL for Christian Dior, Van Assche chose to continue alongside the visionary designer, helping to launch and develop the wildly successful Dior Homme collection. But by January 2005, Van Assche decided it was time to strike out on his own, showing his first menswear collection at Paris Fashion Week. His line — dark, sometimes brooding, and marked by exacting attention to fit and detail — balances reverence for the past with a shot of unbridled modernism in the form of re-imagined spins on menswear classics. It’s established him as a major player on the European fashion scene, and that standing is only bolstered by his position as artistic director for Dior Homme, which he’s held since 2007.