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Photo: Marcio Madeira

In contrast to the laid-back vibe of his last two runway shows, Kris Van Assche's Fall 2009 presentation began with regimental discipline. A staccato snare drum march rolled through Paris' Musée de l'Homme, followed by a model in a sharply cut black blazer over long johns. Those were tucked into heavy, futuristic combat boots. Then came out the boys in uniform—sort of. While the music droned the phrases "We are in a war for your mind" and "We are the insurgents," models bedecked in multiple layers of olive-drab sweaters, suit coats, and boots strode purposefully toward some imagined G8 protest. The volume of Assche's famously flowing pants had been reined in, though they sported oversize cargo pockets. And Van Assche's take on the longer tops that have been so prevalent this season arrived in the form of a tunic. Vaguely reminiscent of Pashtun tribal garb (guess that explains the insurgent thing), it was certainly one his statement pieces.

But what exactly was the statement? Van Assche was obviously trying to give form to a sense of outrage over something—globalization, or capitalism, or maybe globalized capitalism—but such sentiments stood in contrast to the crispness of the garments and the apparent luxury of the materials used. To wit: a Sherpa-collared white corduroy bomber, or a laser-cut black overcoat. Hell, those boots were really nice too.— Josh Peskowitz www.menstyle.com