Best of Paris Men's Fashion Week SS17


Was it my imagination or did Paris - inspired by its star designer, Vetements and Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia - finally get a little less slick, a little more down and dirty? Djellabas at Lemaire, dystopia at Beirendonck, camo at Valentino, club wear at Kenzo, punks and goths at Dior Homme: designers looked to street culture and other countries for young, vibrant collections. I swear, menswear has never been so exciting. Balenciaga, SS17.

BALENCIAGA ‘Gvasalia translated the boxy, oversized jacket silhouettes shown on Balenciaga's fall 2016 catwalk for male usage, employing shoulders so enormous that they brought Spongebob's defining squareness to mind.’

Lemaire, SS17.

LEMAIRE ‘Parisian designer duo Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran took to an eclectic approach when creating their 2017 spring/summer men's collection. The lineup features djellabas and Japanese-style slippers, as well as ducktail hairstyles from the fifties. The pair's capstone concept was to embed multicultural references in the capsule while keeping in mind the balmy periods of the year.’

Walter van Beirendonck, SS17.

WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK ‘Sinister slogans “Reflection Through Destruction”, “Brutal Beauty” and “Future Folk”  infiltrated the collection, plastered on a number of  deconstructed utility looks with grosgrain ribbon framed cutouts (a motif rife this season), bondage strapped suits, and on metallic jumpsuits where colours juxtaposed and popped.’

Valentino, SS17.

VALENTINO ‘There was a mood of Americana – blue jeans, soaring eagles, all the symbols of a road trip across the good ol’ USA, and a healthy splodge of Valentino’s signature camo. Oh, did we mention the Valentino guy is obviously, and incredibly, wealthy? Because Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli translate Valentino’s haute couture heritage into exquisitely crafted clothes for men. Think “homme couture” rather than haute couture, and regardless of how rough and ready the inspiration may be.’

Carven, SS17.

CARVEN ‘The label’s clothes are tailor-made to complement, not overpower. The sparse show space — near empty except for a set of strategically placed ribbons — was filled with a set of energetic dancers, who aptly demonstrated how Carven makes clothes that work well with movement.’

Haider Ackermann, SS17.

HAIDER ACKERMANN ‘A step sideways, the designer expanded upon his jewel-toned, deconstructed code to form a beautifully solid and wearable collection. The signature drop crotch pants were still rife, but here transformed entirely with wool and monochrome silk incarnations. Outerwear was short and layered to form intriguing silhouettes, or floor length. As is Ackermann’s style, the latter seemed purely made for a mesmerising entrance and theatrical departure.’

Louis Vuitton, SS17.

LOUIS VUITTON ‘Wild beasts of the Serengeti wound their way into Jones' clothes in illustrated form thanks to the work of British art duo Jake and Dinos Chapman – the second time the YBAs have collaborated with Kim Jones at Vuitton – with giraffe heads dropping and big cats prowling over silk shirts and bomber jackets.’

Rick Owens, SS17.

RICK OWENS ‘Owens showed the sort of evolved pieces that keep his customers hooked. His signature leather jacket came shrunken and cropped. One great little black leather zip-up had ribbing at the waist in white. Towards the end was a run of tuxedos that experimented with scale, one cropped high at the waist but with overly long sleeves, another that was longer, held by a single button around the sternum.’

Issey Miyake, SS17.

ISSEY MIYAKE MEN ‘Entitled ‘Journey from a white page’, Issey Miyake’s SS17 collection showed the gradual transformation of ideas from a blank palette to a flurry of colours, via an experimental take on elegance. With a merger of psychedelic rock and traditional Indian influences, the live band played to the laid back tune of the Varanasi Indian and Holi Festival inspired collection.’

Yohji Yamamato, SS17.

YOHJI YAMAMOTO ‘This was a Yohji show – meaning it looked like Yohji, wearing clothes that looked like Yohji. That idea of identity is so important in fashion. So few have their own. Indeed, plenty of designers wind up borrowing from Mr Yamamoto himself. We’d quite like to borrow the closing coat.’

Dries van Noten, SS17.

DRIES VAN NOTEN ‘Thick denim fringing swung from a bomber jacket, more fringing featured knots of macramé and tapestry tops came undone in a frenzy of unfinishedness. And a photoprint of patchworked denim was anchored by gorgeous calligraphy, courtesy of a young St Petersburger named Pokras Lampas. That was the kind of decoration that took the place of Van Noten’s more usual embroidery or splatter of sequins.’

Givenchy, SS17.

GIVENCHY ‘Givenchy could already do with more free-flowing ideas. It’s spring/summer 17 show was an exercise in product that looked too factory-made, not helped by the women’s couture tagged on to the end, all the work of the hand. On the men’s, dollar prints were blurred and mashed to create an effect like camouflage. Pyramids and eye prints were meant to suggest serenity. Pinstriped tailoring was banal. What happened to the tension that used to infuse the label?’

Junya Watanabe, SS17.

JUNYA WATANABE MAN ‘The ragtag bunch of models who make up the cast of each of Junya Watanabe’s shows are so deliberate they don’t only support the clothing physically but ideologically as well. Take Spring 2017, where swaggering and heavily inked sorts meandered menacingly toward the audience, confronting each bench of onlookers with a sneer. The small-town big man was Watanabe’s jump-off point—gangsters, hustlers, general ne’er-do-wells. Boys from the wrong side of the tracks.’

Maison Margiela, SS17.

MAISON MARGIELA ‘Always unraveling, though, is the man of Maison Margiela. This season was no exception to the ripped-at-the-seams ethos of the label – although it was, perhaps, sexier than we’re used to. Maybe it’s just us who saw models in snug knitted shorts or a romper with a cut-away coccyx with Playgirl eyes? I mean it is a long old slog in Paris, you do wind up a little starved for affection.’

Anna Demeulemeester, SS17.

ANN DEMEULEMEESTER ‘There was certainly a torn romance to this monochrome-dominated collection. Ribbons and chainlets of beads tipped with dyed red feathers hung from loose, soft asymmetrical outfits. The broad wide and ruffled arm shape on a silk shirt was revived as a stand-alone sleeve later in the show. White silk standards printed with a bird or disassembled abstracts were draped around bodies like flags.’

Comme des Garcons, SS17.

COMME DES GARCONS HOMME PLUS ‘Kawakubo’s flower boys of FW16 have grown up to become royalty. With their hair manipulated into incredible towering crowns, they appeared in mostly transparent looks bearing these idioms with biting emphasis. Through these layers of see-through PVC, the idiosyncrasies of the human body became a backdrop for netted tops and in black red. However it proved most dramatic when when the plastic looks came rendered as whole outfits, just paired with cotton poplin boxers – evoking an air of naivety and innocence.’

Kenzo, SS17. Photo: 10 Magazine.

KENZO ‘It was an ode to club gear – not nightlife, given its neon bright palette and early Saturday time slot. Then again maybe they were thinking of the kind of hedonists who head out and never wind up getting to bed? 10am on a Saturday sounds about the right time. A mash up of poppy joyful print lifted from the kind of flyers still littering streets today as promos for those kind of parties mimicking mid-nineties club wear graphics.’

Sacai, SS17.

SACAI ‘Abe’s time at Comme is still apparent in her collections and the way in which she interprets the military uniform and forward-thinking sportswear of the ‘90s. Here it felt retro, but freshened when crossbred with international textiles like American plaid checks and Afghan belt detailing.’

Dior Homme, SS17.

DIOR HOMME Juxtaposing subcultures from [punk and goths] alongside skaters and crusty ravers, this season’s offering was reminiscent of boyhood memories, though interpreted with a fresh twist. “I am interested in a synthesis of generations and filtering subcultures through my own lens to tell a new story,” [Kris van Assche]

Triple denim. Balmain, SS17.

BALMAIN HOMME ‘Behind us was a clutch of models in full pale denim looks: denim jacket over denim kaftan worn with denim shorts over what looked like denim jeggings. I’ve always admired anyone brave enough to do double denim, let alone quadruple. This long show pushed the embellishment for which it is known beyond previously known bounds — one model attempted nonchalance in a metallic poncho decorated with huge blue stones.’

Hermes, SS17.

HERMES ‘In the gardens of L’école de Médecine, Véronique Nichanian, head of menswear at Hermès, presented a light spring collection of tie-dye blousons and lemon-coloured separates.’

Lanvin, SS17.

LANVIN ‘That ‘heart on sleeve’ mentality cropped up again and again, namely as a a reflecting strip that was sewn or ironed onto pieces, like a name tag or personal reminder of identity and belonging. It felt a little unsettled, especially when you caught a glimpse of the word ‘Error’ scribed up the back of sneakers. Like an acceptance of fault, and a choice to walk forward regardless.’

Thom Browne, SS17.

THOM BROWNE ‘A bunch of shark-attack-ready models waddled out in Fatty Arbuckle onesies, plodding to take their place about the tree. A quick zip and the corpulence literally peeled right off, to reveal spangled short suits, tailcoats, and overcoats in brilliant, poolside cocktail shades of orange sorbet, cassata, and piña colada, in fur or tweed or hibiscus flower laces with embroideries of surfboards, and islands, and sharks.’