Kris Van Assche went back to basics for Spring 2013, turning to the simplest plain white tee for the foundation of a collection that was powerful in its stark simplicity. Van Assche explained that he was working with the duality of city and sports, a pairing that resulted in hybrid shirts that were poplin button-up in front and t-shirt in back, and trousers with elastic waists and zippered ankles. There was an athletic feel to the looser cuts as well, with wide-legged shorts and jeans that looked gym-ready, but for their urbane materials. There was a youthful and sporty feel to the palette as well, a range of grays and beiges with a few looks each in cabernet and indigo. Several of the pieces, from shirts to pullover to anoraks, had trompe l’oeil layered sleeves, making it appear as if a monochrome cotton t-shirt provided the finishing touch to a number of the looks. On others, the sleeves zipped right off. There were new examples of Van Assche’s very desirable collaborations with Eastpak and Lee—including some tall denim baseball caps—and an overall energetic vigor to the sharp collection. With a show this strong and winning, it’s a pity Van Assche wasn’t asked to design Belgium’s team uniforms for next month’s Olympics.