The European menswear lap has officially come to a close. London Men’s Fashion Week is down. Pitti Uomo and Milan Men’s Fashion Week, too. And we have Paris Men’s Fashion Week most recently done and dusted.
A handful of shows come to mind when asked which would be the crème de la crème — like Pierpaolo Piccioli’s street-tinged Valentino, Rick Owens’ curiously conceptual army, or Rei Kawakubo’s upbeat disco punters at Comme des Garçons.
Then there were the ones deciding normal should be the new normal. Take Balenciaga’s dadcore galore for instance: A family man taking a morning stroll in the park with his kids sounds as grounded as it can be. There was also Junya Watanabe’s working man fantasy, which offered as much function as it did beauty.
Yet amidst all the exciting newness you’ve absorbed from the Paris circuit, there are sure to be tidbits you’ve missed. Recap the five-day long affair with us as you scroll through the highs and lows from Paris Men’s Fashion Week below.
(Main and featured images: Lucie Rox)
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Thom Browne is the undisputed maestro of unconventional surprises. No doubt there. Sending out men in skirts — some in half-skirt, half-pants — it was a timely move that contributed to the ongoing conversation on gender. Ending the show in an almost Internet-breaking fashion was a wedding dress-tuxedo final look.
Naomi Campbell, Luka Sabbat, Tyga and Gong Yoo were perched on Louis Vuitton’s front row, but rapper Drake was present in a different way: Serenading the show in his new single Signs. The track and Kim Jones’ Spring 2018 tropical dudes shared their worldwide debut moment. Aptly so, because the rapper was revealed to have been inspired by the collection. “Well, I sent a few pictures [from the collection] to Drake because he’s a big fan . . . and then he wrote a song, which is going to be the music. Which is kind of amazing,” Jones told Vogue.
Hot on the heels of Gucci’s Dapper Dan controversy came another creative infringement from a similarly pored over runway. Balenciaga’s, to be exact. Demna Gvasalia isn’t exactly new to the bootlegging scene, but apart from the DHLs, Ikeas and Bernie Sanders, there hasn’t been a serious complaint filed — until now, that is. Swiss Beatz called out the shirt pictured here as a stolen copy of the Ruff Ryders’ from the 2000s. All we can say is the similarities are uncanny, so we’re definitely waiting to hear Gvasalia’s say on the subject matter.
It does seem like Demna Gvasalia’s latest infatuation is the family man. After his Balenciaga model dads with their actual kids in tow trampled down the forest runway in what is now known as dadcore fashion, his Vetements ‘no show’ lookbook for Spring 2018 also featured three hoodie-clad happy families.
Kenzo closed the five-day affair with a collection dedicated to Kenzō Takada’s Japanese muses: The late model Sayoko Yamaguchi and renowned musician Ryuichi Sakamoto. Held in the hangar-like space of Lycée Camille Sée with dancers scaling the walls as the show unfolded, Paris Men’s Fashion Week ended on a high poetic note. Kudos to Humberto Leon and Carol Lim for casting an exclusively Asian model line-up.
Other than causing quite a rampage by starting the show extra late and not releasing any explanatory statement for his meta-narrative collection, Walter Van Beirendonck’s Spring 2018 offering may just come in handy when it drops in stores next year. Too time-restricted (read: lazy) to hit the gym? Easy, Walter Van Beirendonck’s opening look will solve your ab-less situation in a jiffy. An insoluble bad hair day? Get one of those pastel mullet wigs to cover it up.
German shoe brand Birkenstock did the unexpected and joined the fashion week mayhem with a showcase at a pavilion in the Tuileries Garden. After being around for 242 years, the comfort footwear label that sits on the fence between being acceptably chic and thoroughly uncool is attempting to polish a fashion lacquer to its reputation. This very first show had 40 models walking on all pine walkways amidst a visually appeasing greeneries. The brand even had Tank Magazine’s ever-chic fashion editor Caroline Issa attending in one of its cork-soled classics. Although Birken is still far off from being the next Birkin, we can’t help but ask, what’s next?
It was reverse psychology at Acne Studios’ presentation. Guests were ushered into an empty backstage with vacant clothes rails, before queueing up to wait as a man talking to his headset counted down the seconds before one could walk out. Yes, guests were the models and vice versa. Creative director Jonny Johansson had his boys in his signature structureless summer outers while they sat unamused on their chairs, watching guests walk past. When the music faded, they would break into half-hearted applause. The only thing missing was phones snapping up a storm as they would in an actual show. That would’ve been pretty cool.
This season, Kris Van Assche celebrated his 10-year milestone helming Dior Homme by paying tribute to the all-American prom. Looks fit for a prom king came in trainers and logo fonts that are the current youth-spun trends. Silhouettes defied the oversized trend of the day by applying a slim-fit cut not unlike the one invented by its famed predecessor Hedi Slimane. In a time where designers are playing the musical chairs game, Van Assche has been keeping his positively warm with his constant redefinitions of the maison’s DNA.
Height should not be on your unconquered fear list if you were one of the models walking for Rick Owens’ daunting outing at Palais de Tokyo. Usually housed within the art space’s industrial basement, Owens opted for sunlit lighting with a catwalk erected out of silver scaffolding this time round. Models had to circle the tall structure before descending and walking across the pool. Yet, there was a meaning behind the life-threatening showmanship. “Clothes are aspirational and putting them on the highest level, it makes them more heroic,” Owens explained.