Paris Menswear #4  

Article publié le 24 janvier 2016

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Texte : Jessica Michault

On the fourth day of Paris Menswear a few trends could be sussed out from the shows. The duffle coat is turning into the must have outerwear of the season, crimson red is the color to invest in and designer sneakers are still the way to go to finish off the current sporty sophistication style ruling the runways.

Crédit : Dior Homme

Dior Homme

Kris Van Assche gave his latest Dior Homme collection a deep infusion of youth and super charged the clothing with cool. The smash-up of a rebellious temperament with spot on tailoring was the right combination of sophistication and street.

Now that all of Van Assche’s energies are focused on Dior (he recently decide to shut down production on his signature brand) he transferred the sporty style that his label promoted from his own line to the French powerhouse. It resulted in a Dior collection that was energetic and a touch experimental. After all the designer decorated his catwalk with skateboard ramps outlined with red neon.

Crimson became a key design element in the show. From the drawstring lacing on fitted pants and the edging of a black overcoat to the snowflake motif on a slim ski sweater and the lumberjack checked shirts, Van Assche was seeing red, echoing those zipping red lights. And extra credit must be given to the clever way he used loosely stitched red thread to create a textured outline on a grid pattern on pants.

As for those looking for something a bit more romantic in nature, a series of black and white rose printed pieces that bloomed late in the show should do the trick. Both graphically strong yet still idyllic, their inclusion in the collection made a spot-on foil to the more tempestuous pieces.

Actor Rami Malek, who has been wearing Dior Homme on the red carpets during awards season in Hollywood, where he has been up for awards for his work in the television show Mr. Robot, was particularly taken by the trousers. « I loved how they were cut high enough so you could see the top of the boots, » he said after the show. « I wear the brand because I really like it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t, » he added with feeling.

If this bracing new run is anything to go by he is not the only one who is going to get a bit worked up about Dior once this collection hits stores.

Crédit : Hermès

Hermès

Véronique Nichanian knows the codes of the Hermes house like the back of her hand. The clothing needs to have an understated timeless foundation, come cut in proportions that will flatter and look unforced and above all, be crafted from the finest fabrics. With her latest collection she ticked all those boxes. But it also pushed a bit further.

She focused on the idea of comfort by creating garments that incorporated sportswear details like elastic waistbands on fine wool trousers, a sweatshirt design crafted from quilted feathers and a glossy paper-fine windbreaker in supple leather. And then, of course, there was the abundance of sporty sneakers all the models sported.

When working within a refined aesthetic, one smart way to set a collection apart is in the original ways luxe fabrics are blended. This is a skill Nichanian wields with undeniable expertise. The textural beauty of a cashmere sweater that featured a brush stroke pattern across the torso, formed from a long haired mink, was a desirable highlight. And the shock of blood red shearling lining the collar and inside of a leather jacket was both bold and chic.

The designer has a tendency to offer up some sophisticated color combos, but this season, the mix of turquoise, salmon and mustard looked slightly out of place in a winter lineup. But the final series of all black looks, which proved that there are in fact many shades of this non-color, made for a smart and stylish finish.

Crédit : Balmain

Balmain

In his sophomore menswear runway show for the house of Balmain, designer Olivier Rousteing created a male persona bold and brash enough to keep up with the glamazon queens that always walk in his womenswear shows.

In fact there was a fairytale vibe to Rousteing’s menswear. Each model, in his slight drop crotch ridding pants, strong shouldered jacket with gilded frogging down the front, quilted leather cummerbund and harlequin pattern top, looked like a dashing prince straight from the pages of a children’s fable.

Only royalty, be it those in the music industry, fashion world or Hollywood, would be able to pull off some of the more exuberant of pieces in the collection, the perfect example being a couture level, fully beaded military jacket and tailcoat. But the black mink fur covered wrap front jacket and midnight navy velvet blazer with gold filigree embroidery were also high on the fantasy scale.

Pull the looks apart and there were quieter pieces that could find a happy home in more than a few men’s closets. In particular, Rousteing’s cache-coeur tops and the roguishly roomy (right where a well-endowed man needs it) pants. It’s easy to imagine Peter and Harry Brant snapping those up.

But when the designer took his bow decked like the gallant gents that walked the runway, it was easy to understand whose sartorial story he wanted to tell — his own.

And as the saying goes, with this collection Rousteing, and his more than 2 million Instagram followers, lived happily ever after.

Crédit : Ami Alexandre Matiussi

Ami Alexandre Matiussi

A stylish French woman at the Ami show on Saturday night was overhead saying « this sweater is Ami and this coat is Ami, I love wearing Ami ». Insomuch that designer Alexandre Mattiussi is considered to be a menswear designer, the woman’s spontaneous declaration proved just how versatile and universally appealing his clothing can be.

From the start, even before it became a « thing »,  Mattiussi included women models in his menswear shows. And now with the blurring of gender lines and unisex style being a major trend, his work seems prescient. He doesn’t produce clothing to dream about or put on a pedestal. He makes them to be worn, lived in and loved.

All the models, both men and quite a number of women, who walked down his smokey catwalk had one thing in common. Their clothing was firmly planted in reality. They wore camel duffle coats (a major trend in Paris), sported roomy trousers, checkerboard sweaters, blouson jackets and zippered mock turtleneck tops. All of them were foundation wardrobe pieces, some of which you might have already. But the ones you don’t are probable pieces you have been trying to add to your closet for years.

The show ended with two upbeat notes. The first was the inclusion of some silver sequin-covered pants and coat that brought to mind the Eiffel Tower when its lights shimmer in the night to mark the hour. The other was the way the models stood together in the finale and gazed out into the darkness only to be slowly illuminated by the glow of a warm golden light. A sunrise of hope and possibilities.

Both of those sentiments also describe the current status of the Ami brand.

Crédit : Sacai

Sacai

Walking into the Sacai menswear show guests passed by a neon piece of artwork that spelled out the word LIIFE. Some editors speculated that the extra I was meant to stand for making sure to take care of oneself ( the « I ») in life. Others thought it might have been a quirky comment on how English words are sometimes spelled in distorted ways by Asian brands. But in actuality the extra I was a play on the sound of the Japanese word “ai,” which means love.

There certainly will be a lot of love for this collection when it arrives in stores next season. The lineup, which stuck with designer Chitose Abe’s signature hybrid clothing style, was more controlled than in the past, a move that should give the double lapel duffle coats, the perfecto black leather jackets with red silk sleeves and the corrugated glossy slim trousers a real chance to penetrate the closet of more straight-laced menswear consumers.

The designer implemented a layered concept in her clothing, the idea being that the underlying garments were cut longer and in thicker fabrics than the top layers, which gave the collection an eclectic charmingly vagabond vibe.

This was a fine show and made a great addition to Abe’s life’s work.

Crédit : Kenzo

Kenzo

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have gotten very very good at putting on a show. So good that they have now made the spectacle, as opposed to the clothes, the centerpiece to their design philosophy.

With their latest menswear show they once again came up with a fantastic concept: A moving live musical performance featuring singers lining the center of the catwalk, dressed in red lab coats embroidered with the day’s date and voice range (alto, soprano etc) of the person wearing it. They looked like a hip fashion update on concert t-shirts.

Then the chorus poignantly broke out into melodic song, a remix of Janet Jackson’s hit « Rhythm Nation ». But by slowing down the cadence of the tune, the lyrics came to the foreground:

People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right.

In a post terrorist attack Paris, those words carried a new significance and sense of hope.

And what about the clothes you ask?

Drawn in by the music, only strong pieces would do to pull focus. Knowing this, the duo produced a lineup filled with brightly colored garments. A lemon yellow sweater, a chartreuse jumpsuit and purple trousers stood out, as did the fact that there was quite a lot of bold print-on-print combos and a fair amount of lacquered mock croc outerwear.

But when the audience exited the show venue, it was the melody that lingered in the mind and on the lips of guests.

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