Paris men’s shows: the highlights

Farewell hipster; the metrosexual is back
Like a latter day David Beckham for millennials, Lewis Hamilton flew the flag for the unashamed metrosexual man at the Louis Vuitton show in a silk blush-toned bomber and matching blouse, shades firmly on even as the sun set. His style might veer towards the flamboyant, but at least – unlike most of his sportsman peers – it’s never dull.

The talked-about debut
Former creative director of Gieves Hawkes Jason Basmajian formalised his relationship with Cerruti 1881 by coming on board officially as chief creative officer this season. For his winter offering Basmajian trimmed back any superfluous detail to focus on cut and silhouette: soft, belted trench coats; neat, precise peacoats and slick suiting; all in muted colours of mauve, teal and terracotta.

The year of the snake
There was something serpentine going on on the Paris men’s catwalks, with the wending curves of the most mythic of reptiles slithering across Berluti jackets in stitching by tattoo artist Scott Campbell, depicted in 3D-effect spitting cobras at Givenchy, and in needlepoint yellow across blank coats at Dries Van Noten.

Fashion’s musical heroes
There could only be one musical icon in mind throughout the men’s shows this month, with a Ziggy Stardusting of Bowie’s eclecticism appearing across catwalks from Burberry to Gucci. From “Nature Boy” to “Let’s Dance”, David Bowie’s legacy lived on throughout the soundtracks, most poignantly at Paul Smith, whose Seventies-tinged collection culminated in “Oh, You Pretty Little Things” and who earlier in the week hosted a party in the Marais to showcase his extraordinary personal collection of Bowie memorabilia. Balmain‘s Smooth Criminals took a different tack, however. Olivier Rousteing nodded instead to Michael Jackson with military frogging and braiding, in what was a high-octane spectacle of a show that came sprinkled with supermodel presence (showing his winter womenswear alongside his men’s). The lesson from Rousteing was that more is more is even more.

The clothes you really want to wear
Silk pyjama suits, gold embroidered jackets, studded leathers, riffs on biker gang attire and Camden-Goth-meets-Gentleman (as shown at Dior Homme) can make for great showmanship but in real life, they’ll only get you so far. Which is why Ami‘s show felt like a veritable sartorial salve. Alexandre Mattiussi’s slouchy silhouette, biscuit-shaded double-breasted coat, relaxed puffas and baby blue knitwear was just the sort of casual, utterly covetable pieces that men want to invest in and wear; low-key, beautifully made and effortless. Likewise at Officine Generale, where Pierre Maheo offered neat hazelnut-hued bombers, moss-green suede jackets and plush shearling. We’re all for a bit of razzamatazz during Paris Fashion Week, but sometimes a fellow just wants the ideal coat to see him through.

Bid goodbye to bleak midwinter
Forget the grieges and slurry tones of winter: next season, cold snaps and Crayola brights go hand in hand. Berluti showcased a delicious medley of rust, caramel, indigo, cerulean, dusky lilac, seafoam and in the case of one coat, panels of soft raspberry and coral in suede and leather. The subtle tones evoked the dust of desert sand, said Alessandro Sartori, who was inspired by landscape of Texas in this standout collection that combined Berluti’s exquisite techniques with a fresh, energetic take on tradition that saw a tattoo effect applied to the stitching on the clothes and the models themselves.

At Hermès, clothes came in contrasting salmon, biscuit, aquamarine, tobacco and periwinkle, the colours shooting through the darkness of the backdrop; the floor-to-ceiling windows showing the Seine and Eiffel Tower by night. Exuberant batik-style printed neck scarves and nifty, sporty trainers in solid block colours – high-vis orange and magenta – emphasised that the Hermès man is a hop-on-the-jet-and-winter-in-St-Barths kind of guy. Aren’t we all?

Jurassic panache
Pterodactyls swooping across shirts at Loewe, T-Rexes roaring from intarsia knits at Paul Smith and Coach; fashion moves from minimalism to mesozoic this season in a series of playful dinosaur motifs. 

What Raf did next
In his first menswear collection since exiting his august post at Christian Dior last October, Raf Simons put his sole focus on the Y chromosome. Swamping V-neck sweaters in gargantuan proportions tapered down the knee, puffa jackets, exploded to the same overinflated sizes, slipped off models’ shoulders and hems were distressed and frayed. The effect served to remind that this arch conceptualist doesn’t play by any fashion rulebook – Dior’s or otherwise – and his beguiling men’s presentations are all the better for it.

The no-show
Paris without Saint Laurent seems rather like coq au vin without the vin, but such was the case when Hedi Slimane cancelled his autumn/winter 2016 men’s show with barely a week’s notice, rescheduling it in Los Angeles. It only served to fuel rumours that the man who has subverted and toyed with the house so determinedly since he began in 2013 was departing to pastures new. Which meant that his whippet-hipped youths in their patent leathers, berets and Cuban heels took some time out for winter. Whether they return again to distill Slimane’s vision of achingly cool, Left Bank allure remains to be seen.

Open all references in tabs: [1 – 9]

Leave a Reply