Paris Menswear #5

Article publié le 25 janvier 2016

Texte : Jessica Michault

The last day of the very strong Paris menswear shows provided the fashion world with quite a broad spectrum of style choices. From Lanvin’s bad boy cool and Paul Smith’s London lads to Umit Benan’s Japanese inspirations and Tome Browne’s poetic exploration of time this season proved that,now more then ever, men are spoiled with sartorial choices.

Crédit : Lanvin


The fashion world was curious to see what Lanvin’s menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver would come up with now that Alber Elbaz had parted ways with the company. How much of the collection was Elbaz, how much was Ossendrijver, considering that they always took a bow together at the end of each menswear show?

Well, if what went down the catwalk in the cavernous Events Center in Paris on Sunday is any indication, Ossendrijver was pretty much always in the driving seat. If anything, stripping away of the more romantic flourishes that Elbaz favored gave the collection a streamlined strength. This season, Ossendrijver’s boys had just the right amount of youthful angst.

These Lanvin guys are the ones who were always brooding in a corner somewhere, back in high school. They were often musicians, outsiders who, as many girls would fantasize, could only truly be understood by that one special person who « got them ».

They wore their full cut pants long and low on the hips. They liked to layer short-sleeved boxy silk shirts with graphic motifs over soft second-skin long-sleeved knit versions that skimmed their fingertips. And their tailored jackets came with sleeves intentionally left in « I couldn’t be bothered » wrinkles. But it was their coats, in cool DIY combos, that really stood out. Winning designs included a knit and leather number, a shearling jacket finished off with wool fringing and a patchwork blouson in pony hair and suede.

These Lanvin bad boys really don’t need to go to reform school. Sometimes misbehaving can feel (and look) oh-so-good.

Crédit : Thom Browne

Thom Browne

With the passage of time, all things fade, unravel and decay. Through his poetic menswear show, Thom Browne explored the poignant beauty of decrepitude and how a life well-lived, even that of an article of clothing, is something to be celebrated at every stage of its existence.

To that end, he produced a collection where the same beautifully tailored suit, jacket, pants and coat were created in triplicate, each one depicting the garment at a different point in its life. From their fresh out-of-the-designer-box beginnings through their well-loved, slightly frayed but still wearable phase to a final dilapidated interpretation that still maintained the regal soul of its former self.

As the models walked slowly around the circuitous catwalk, their faces covered by bowler hats in the vein of René Magritte’s iconic painting « The Son of Man », the couture-like workmanship of each piece could be more fully appreciated.The plaid check pattern of an overcoat in squares of fur and astrakhan that would then, in one of its other alliterations, be woven into a shear silk muslin base to suggest age, was majestically done. Ditto the mink trimmed navy capes with gold buttons and the cropped pearl-festooned jackets. Hell, even the men’s handbags, in the form of an ankle-biting terrier dogs, were crafted to age in accordance with each outfit.

For the finale, Browne had the different trios of models face each other across an empty mirror frame. In a nod to Dorian Grey, the « new » version gazed upon its inevitable future incarnations. It made for a thought-provoking finish to a menswear season full of things to reflect upon.

Crédit : Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith has always had as deep a connection music as he has with fashion. Throughout his career, music has influenced his work and on the final day of the menswear shows in Paris, his soundtrack was an outstanding mélange of some of the most iconic British beats and melodies that have marked the world’s collective psyche over the past fifty years. The Beatles, AC/DC, The Clash, Queen, The Rolling Stones and Smith’s good friend David Bowie created a toe-tapping backdrop to a collection that was just as infectiously good.

This perfectly edited show deftly combined Smith’s love of color and bold, often quirky prints, with lean tailored silhouettes for a decidedly London lad allure. The pop colors used for Crombie coats, the vertical single-line stripe down slim pants and sporty zippered mock turtleneck combined to create a light hearted lineup.

Other highlights included some paisley embellished denim jeans, cool golf-ball-sized polka-dot-printed Vans shoes and the charmingly childish “roaring dinosaur” knit sweaters. Those additions gave the sleek collection just the right dose of fashion fun.

Crédit : Umit Benan

Umit Benan

Sushi was served center stage at the Umit Benan menswear show, arranged on the tattooed body of a naked woman. Yep, you guessed it, the Italian designer went all the way to Japan this season for inspiration.

He took his ultra masculine aesthetic and trussed it up in traditional Eastern styles, blending a bit of yakuza gangster attitude with dojo martial arts attire for a combination that ended up not overplaying its hand or looking derivative.

The tightly edited lineup favored slightly oversized silhouettes with judo pants cut wide, leather wrap obi belts that tightened things up at the waist, button-up shirts with swooping cranes at the shoulders and corrugated velvet corduroy kendo jackets in a paisley motif.

Maybe if Benan had pulled in a few more Japanese reference points or expanded the color range, the show would have felt richer. But as it stood the collection, although well done, didn’t exactly seem fully finished.

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