Look forward for tie-dye prints, pastel colors and loose tailoring for this season. Paris seems to be more relaxed this time around and tells us to have fun while we’re at it.
Just like visiting the city itself, Paris Fashion Week is a must-see for all the obvious reasons. This is the place where, besides fashion, cultural diversity dominates, both on and off the catwalks. Paris is also the place where the biggest grand openings take place. PFW’s capability of creating anticipation never fails and the city holds a prestigious place in the hearts and minds of fashion lovers. Although less political than London Fashion Week, PFW shows are equally grandiose and theatrical, reaching heights of majesty once thought unscalable.
Paris Fashion Week is also the place where the biggest debuts have taken place. Case in point, Alexander McQueen’s first runway show with Givenchy in 1997 and Alexander Wang’s debut with Balenciaga in 2013. Needless to say, PFW is as magical as the city itself.
Menswear itself has been exciting to watch these past few seasons: The new and younger designers are exploring more and more, playing around with gender fluidity and diversity; the signs that men’s fashion is willing to challenge the status quo and continue to evolve; the old and new guards of fashion presenting their collections alongside one another while some continued to refine their own visions for their respective houses as a new generation of designers revitalize the iconic brands. All are heading in the same direction, boldly going towards new, unchartered ground.
We have to admit, one of the biggest trends of Spring/Summer 2020 is gender fluidity. This season, more than ever, menswear is channeling strong womenswear vibes, which was actually put into motion since Spring/Summer 2019, starting with accessories. For example, Raf Simons made raw-hemmed tunics in daisy yellow and purple for Calvin Klein’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, delivering a feminine, dress-like silhouette. Elsewhere, Rick Owens added his signature glam-rock touch to the genderless discourse with a pair of six inches platform heels. Many brands also integrated their men’s and womenswear this season, with Sacai creative director Chitose Abe, for example, highlighting how similar the women’s and men’s pieces actually are.
Over at Off-White, a day before his Louis Vuitton show, Virgil Abloh introduced his iteration of ’90s grunge with ultra-baggy jeans, chain link with fence motifs and graffiti art by New York street artist Futura. It’s heartening to see that Abloh has moved forward because this collection is his most refined yet, with the elegant touch of translucent ponchos and oversized shawls. This is elevated streetwear that has always been his vision. Here, in a show titled “Plastic,” he tackled sustainability and proposed longevity instead of single-use.
The Louis Vuitton show, by the way, was originally planned to be held in front of Notre-Dame de Paris, but the fire said otherwise. So, Abloh shifted his runway to the cobbled streets of the Place Dauphine and turned it into a playground, with a red bouncy castle as well as crepes and ice cream stands. The show offered billowing outfits sprouting fresh blooms—his metaphor for diversity. The collection itself ranges from a formal jacket with wavy cutout panels to a hoodie in a floral-printed silk that was densely pleated. Abloh also offered a bunch of experimental silhouettes alongside his baggy pants and oversized streetwear tops with botanical prints. Just a year into his tenure at Louis Vuitton, Abloh has proven to bring joy, curiosity and positivity into the brand.
If Haider Ackermann conjured exquisite grown-up pieces during his short stint at Berluti, Kris Van Assche’s modernizing touch has injected an exuberant youthfulness to the brand. This is particularly evident in electrifying colors of purple, orange and soft jade meant to highlight the maison’s classic tailoring, Van Assche also played around with a full leather patina suit with Berluti’s signature scritto motif embossed on it. Another highlight of the collection were trousers split enticingly at the bottom and showcasing the Alessandro Edge, a formal shoe-sneaker hybrid with a sculptural tip that best exemplifies the brand’s immaculate fusion of classic and contemporary.
Véronique Nichachian, who has helmed Hermès creative direction for more than three decades, has once again created a timeless collection. An eminently covetable wardrobe of quality and style, the pieces were presented in a palette of summer ready sorbet hues and are effortlessly wearable. From the striped poplin trousers to the louche printed silk blousons, the Hermès Spring/Summer 2020 collection is light and breezy.
The comeback of men’s tailoring is one trend that has been lingering this past season. Perhaps Kim Jones has set this one in motion with his loose and light suiting for Dior in Spring/Summer 2019 and then carried it on with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection. These menswear offerings are clean, blending streetwear-friendly branding with mature tailored garments. Boxy work shirts, safari caps, crocodile leather jumpsuits and flowing silk shirts gave the collection a youthful appeal.
This season, Dior also collaborated with artist Daniel Arsham for the set design and RIMOWA for the covetable case and luggage pieces.
Moving on, Bruno Sialeli is taking everyone for a summer holiday in the ’70s with his official menswear debut for Lanvin. The playful and youthful collection was a nod to leisurewear, complemented by the show’s poolside venue which heightened the escapist mood. There are hand-painted wave motifs running down the sleeves and legs, cropped brown-hued windbreakers and an old school checked wool jacket with sailor-style collars, all of which feels so breezy.
Celebrating his 10th anniversary, Jacquemus held his show in a lavender field in Valensole, in the South of France. Titled “Le Coup De Soleil” or “sunburn” in English, the show’s invitation was a travel-sized tube of suntan lotion. He only presented his first menswear show last season, but for Spring/Summer 2020, Jacquemus established a full-out vision. He presented a tailored suit that could work on anyone, psychedelic tie-dye, wheat print shirts, lavender fishnet-inspired side bags and bucket hats. Statement pieces like glittery trousers and a plethora of graphic resort shirts completes this milestone collection.
One other show that had the town talking was Vetements. It was hosted inside the two-floor McDonald’s on Paris’s Champs-Élyseés with the everyday setting as a backdrop to the brand’s cynical, pop approach to clothing. As the guests enjoyed their soft drinks and the scent of fries permeated the air, the brand showcased a collection that was textbook Vetements: Police uniforms, tracksuits, revamped corporate logos, biker denims—all of them archetypal “clothes” repurposed into something truly fashionable.
While Hedi Slimane is still staying true to his original core for Celine with a Spring/Summer collection titled “A London Diary: Polaroids of the British Youth.” Valentino hits Paris Fashion Week with boxy layers, draping trousers and anchored it with the Garavani Climbers sneakers. Nature print shirt comes together with the bright hues and topped off with branded leather belts, tortoiseshell sunglasses and beaded necklaces. All in all, this season, Paris did not disappoint.
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