I’m back to finish up what we started in London and Milan on the men’s Fashion Week trail with a look back at the Paris shows. As you probably know, the Paris shows are usually a bit edgier and more “directional” than Milan but I’m not sure if this season they’re all going in similar directions, if you know what I’m sayin’.
For instance, Rome-based Valentino started off Paris last Wednesday with several “couture” men’s coats to signal the launch of the Paris men’s boutique where they would be available made-to-measure. Ironically, the collection of sporty separates was the most casual that I can remember but, the very next day, the priests of cool at Rick Owens reminded me that you never know what to expect. Well, except that Rick will be doing something outside of what anyone else is doing. You can pretty much bet your arse on that every season.
Then the Louis Vuitton luxury tour continued to the high deserts of the Andes, where textiles of poverty stricken regions of Chile and Peru ironically inspired the highest of the high-end, before Dries Van Noten abandoned his signature embroideries and prints for complicated fabric treatments in a Romeo-meets-Rapper vibe that combined Renaissance details with street style.
The next day, Givenchy showed sporty paint-splattered stuff that sounds terrible on paper but, in my opinion, was better than any of Tisci’s attempts since his enviable Spring 2013 collection. Then, the next day—and I’m editing here because there were a lot more shows, a lot more—we were bestowed the very wearable, very expensive Hermès collection that was mostly a rehash of their recurring theme that you can make even the most pedestrian items like a baseball jacket, a pair of jeans or a puffer more expensive by rendering them in crocodile.
The final day in Paris included two collections that I really don’t understand and one that I finally did. Lanvin had the big coats and Sixties aesthetic that echoed some houses and there were some cooler pieces that in the last couple of seasons but it was still mostly ugly and icky. I also didn’t get Saint Laurent’s continuing emaciated rocker look but the looks themselves weren’t as jarringly horrid as Slimane’s previous seasons with the house. I guess that’s saying something.
Thom Browne, on the other hand, really surprised this season by turning out not only something wearable, but covetable. And, more than that, something I myself might even wear! Artistically buffeted from the ordinary by Stephen Jones’ amazing animal haberdashery, the first part of the show included enchanting tweeds and tartans with just enough extra detail but not enough to push them into women’s Chanel jacket territory. The second part was an unadulterated freak show, to say the least, but that part was really most likely meant as an art installation instead of wearable fashion, so I’m giving it a hall pass.
The other highlight in Paris for me was Kris Van Assche’s collection for Dior Homme. The inspiration of traditional Savile Row suiting was fertile ground and out of it grew every shape and variation, even sprouting bold polka dots in the place of pinstripes. The perfect pairing of these tailored pieces was denim and I, for one, am hoping that’s a trend that hits the rest of the world when the time comes.
And that’s it for the guys in fall. Let’s see how it unfolds.