Paris Fashion Week: CHANGE IS IN THE AIR
The world of fashion has always loved surprises and shocking twists, even in the traditionally-rigid menswear industry. There’s the runway sets that has nothing to do with the collections being paraded on it; background stories of collections that—surprisingly—complete each other; and, of course, the sudden announcements of top personnel leaving. In other words, with its eye-opener moments, the fall/winter ’18 runways shows of Paris emphasized a season of change.
Of particular note was Louis Vuitton, with Kim Jones on his last stint at the helm of the maison’s menswear division. At the time, however, the fashion world was still reeling from his announcement to leave Louis Vuitton—and that was only a couple of days before the show.
“It’s about clothes that can change, about fabrics that can travel on the body and transform,” Jones elaborated on his ultimate Louis Vuitton collection. “This particular collection epitomizes both a distinctly modern ease of movement through sportswear influenced pieces and different cultural experiences. They fundamentally underscore the Louis Vuitton DNA of exploration and discovery.”
Sportswear is still the key to the collection— from the shorts worn over streamlined leggings, active-wear for mountaineering, sports trainers and baseball tees with embossed elements of either “Louis” or “Vuitton.” Even though Jones’s ability to take the men’s wardrobe and elevate them has been consistently impressive, trend-wise, nothing looked exceptional this time besides the titanium-inspired reflective silver coat and a travel-inspired cross-body bag. But, one thing that did steal the night was when supermodel Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss walked the runway alongside Kim Jones, holding hands as a final goodbye. Safe to say, that one moment won’t be easily forgotten.
Meanwhile, the lovely duo from Kenzo decided that cinema as a source of inspiration is suitable this time around. “For fall/winter ’18, we presented a collection that celebrates the various on-screen strong women and men who have engrossed or enthralled us with their style and spirit,” said Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. In a collection that fuses heritage and modernity by twisting classics and clashing prints and colors, it’s fascinating to see the plethora of characters and personalities that can be portrayed, evoked and ultimately retained.
As a result, boxy silhouette pervaded the runway, skinny pants ran the gamut of fabrics, waxed cotton trenches appeared in traditional colors along with a pop of turquoise while reflective flock print fabrics were used on technical nylon vests or trousers with iridescent tailoring that bursts through an already vivid color palette. When put together under thoughtful styling direction, the pieces created a strong wardrobe to suit any modern man.
So far, Kim Jones designed with sportswear in mind while Carol Lim and Humberto Leon explored technicality for clashing prints and color. Lucas Ossendrijver, however, feels that the season is where modernity and sartorial tradition meet. As the menswear creative director for Lanvin, Ossendrijver focused on the most classic design drawn directly from the legacy and origin of the Lanvin man: the suit. “What is a suit? Two pieces, a jacket and trousers cut from the same fabric. I wanted to deconstruct this idea using layering,” says Ossendrijver. “For me, these combinations make a modern suit.”
From the most classic English fabrics was born a brand new, hybrid and urban look. The shape of the suits are precise with no shoulder pads, a narrow waist, a broader back and ironed-in pleats.
This mix of elements come together in a new play on fabrics that present a different take of just about everything. Stripes and checks match and clash on the edge of abstraction. Furthermore, Ossendrijver also toys with prints like animal outlines, plant, tree and flower patterns mixed together, as he thinks that a suit is also a form of camouflage. With stripes, threads and studs, traditional and technical fabrics, military and urban details, Ossendrijver successfully manages to show how everything is layered together without ever clashing, as if it was always meant to be.
It was Véronique Nichanian from Hermès, however, that really lit up Paris Fashion Week. Setting up her runway in a former Dominican monastery, Nichanian presented a collection that blazed into the evening air—quite literally, that is, as the sides of the runway was put aflame in quite an elegant spectacle. It was not only emotive and theatrical but also showcased innovative and contemporary designs.
With the open air and warmth as the magic words of the season’s menswear collection, Nichanian combined bursts of vibrant colors throughout her new collection. She masterfully showcased her sense of tailoring with raw seams and hem details on trench coats, a lightweight quilted outerwear and knitwear, wide cashmere trousers along with a nice and subtle styling of layers with bright colors in order to stand out against an earthy palette.
As the flames grew higher and higher, it became clear that Hermès has created a collection that is contemporary, modern and appropriate for the season. The same could be said about many of the other brands; even though some of them were more impacted by a changing of personnel. Still, for the most part, Paris Fashion Week for this season channeled longevity and wearability. Whether it comes in the form of a suit, a sport outfit, or a garment resplendent in vibrant and colorful prints, Paris gave us essential pieces in a fresh and playful perspective.
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