The final leg of the European menswear shows was wrapped up in Paris. Like London and Milan, the Paris collection exhibited a plethora of wearable pieces, and coats once again were key items on display. However, accessories – both conventional and the unorthodox – were also prominent during the romance capital’s five-day sartorial parade.
Despite Lanvin’s turbulent recent months – in November last year the house’s artistic director Alber Elbas was ousted, with Lucas Ossendrijver taking over the reigns – the house’s AW ’16 show was one of its finest for a long time. This was a strong collection of coats – notable double-breasted long pieces with controlled volumes. The wearability of this collection was a strong contrast to Lanvin’s recent seasons of overly designed pieces that were draped on slim, undernourished models.
Whilst the stage-like runway grabbed all the attention at the London collection, the Paul Smith show in Paris was all about the clothes. Once more, the wearability factor was clear as the models looked as though they had actually just stepped out of a Paul Smith store post-shopping spree. Whilst double-breasted coats, sharp suits and tailored pieces that flirted between the line of coats and jackets gave a formality to the collection, fine cardigans in paisley and zip-up knit tracksuit tops came from deep within Mr. Smith’s ‘archive.’
Thom Browne’s show was all about ageing. Models came out in threes, wearing the same look in different states of wear and tear; starting from the most battered and finishing with the most pristine outfits. Standout pieces included a fading navy coat with checked ridges as well as a grey coat with repaired panels of cable knit. For Browne, decay is equivalent with perfection: ‘Often what ages is the most beautiful’. Accessories included bowler hats worn on faces and bags in the shape of dogs simply added to the bizarre nature of the show.
L-R: A powerful message of regeneration at Thom Browne Fall 2016 where coats transformed from a distressed semi stitched version to a cleaner alternative demonstrating the return of gentlemen to the period of Depression.
Marking twenty years of his own label, and the first since quitting Dior, Simons’ show was inspired by his keen interest in “nightmares” and “horror movies”. Using “Twin Peaks” and Cindy Sherman’s “Untiltied Horrors” as references, Simons created a maze like atmosphere of intrigue, mystery; unnerving and eery. Schoolboys in heavily oversized and decayed sweaters were sent down the runway with their sleeves dangling below their knees – all paired with buttoned-up white shirts and slim-fit three-quarter length pleated pants for extra contrast. High lace-up boots with various coloured stripes added another varsity dimension, whilst a simple oversized wool coat echoed Bender from the Breakfast club.
This collection was a huge step away from last season’s athletic-chic vibe and its abundance of silk baseball jackets. Suits, suits and more suits flooded the runway – some with three buttons, but casually styled without shirts and ties. With a muted palette of ‘Paris grey’ and dull browns and blues, the plethora of tailoring was easy on the eye. ‘What I like about that brown is it’s a horrible brown, but it’s really good as well’ said creative director Kim Jones. And it wouldn’t be a Louis Vuitton show without a statement piece: this season’s grey- or black-on-black LV monogram called ‘Eclipse’ with a leather zip will undoubtedly be a big hit amongst buyers.
Avoc was all about gender-neutral pieces, but it was the rubber political masks featuring the likes of Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and George W. Bush that garnered the Instagram likes. Off White’s Virgil Abloh demonstrated that he’s not a fan of waste by using the same cloth for his coats jackets and pants. And Gosha Ruchinskey’s show titled ‘Save and Survive’ was rammed full of young buyers, illustrating that his clothing is now both wearable and affordable.
Ones to watch
Although returning only for its second season, New York’s AW ’16 collections did more than enough to put its stamp in global fashion. Highlights included Joseph Abboud’s return from his 15-year hiatus, the undeniably impressive streetwear parade exhibited by attendees and appearances from New York Giants’ Victor Cruz and German model Johannes Huebl. Despite being overshadowed by the women’s collections season after season for over a decade, there were strong indications this February that the menswear collections will be able to stand on their own in no time.
David Hart’s collection kicked off on the first day with a bang. Unequivocally inspired by jazz greats such as Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, the collection was full of retro polos, windowpane trousers, blazers and instruments used as accessories – to really hit home the musical theme all models acted as quartets. Most noteworthy, was the use of an all-black male modelling class – a feat that should undoubtedly be applauded.
Although this collection was ‘inspired by the sea’ but ‘designed in the city’, the clothes on display seemed more apt for a man ready to brace the ocean waves. Nautica’s AW pieces were typically elegant, featuring the house’s signature cable-knit sweaters in luxe cashmere and plenty of mohair and merino turtlenecks (a persistent trend throughout men’s fashion month). Indeed there was some sportswear thrown into the mix, but this was more a collection of wearable knits and pieces for a man of the sea.
For the first time in 15 years a Joseph Abboud collection donned the runway. Labelled as the ‘American Savile Row’, this Abboud collection was a hybrid of American sportswear and British tailoring. Distressed wools and tweeds provided an element of British heritage, whilst sixties flares and large American flags that draped over the models made sure that the U.S theme was still resonant – Abboud even chose to display brogues by Wisconson-based shoemaker Allen Edmonds and briefcases by Rawlings from St. Louis.
This season’s collection was part of CK’s creative director Italo Zucchelli’s ‘trinity of metal’s’ vision that he unveiled last month in Milan. Focusing on red carpet dressing, the key pieces in this show were the tinfoil-like pants matched with all black, and impeccably tailored, tuxedos and outerwear. Zucchelli created this special eveningwear capsule with the aim of encouraging other designers to follow suit – unsurprisingly we hope that his wish is realised.
This was more of a multimedia experience than a runway show. The guest audience were taken on a sensory experience at Varvatos’ Bowery store, with a most of the showspace boarded up and painted with the question: ‘Rock is Dead?’ Masked men – and some mannequins – modelled the collection, with plenty of coated denim, three-piece velvet suits and shearling and fur everywhere. Coffins and political messages (with Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton masks) were also sprinkled throughout. Ending with an all-white room with a model donning a zebra-print coat, the words ‘Long Live Rock’ appeared behind him. Rock ‘n’ Roll is very much alive and kicking.
For the second consecutive season, the appearance of the marmite accessory, the Vape, was on display at General Idea. Last season they were dished amongst VIP front-rowers, but this time they made it onto the runway. Luxury streetwear line Public School took its show to the people and set up its runway outside the venue. With part of the showspace extended outside, onlookers and bloggers were given an up-close Fashion 101. Men’s accessory specialist, Uri Minkoff, expanded his range from pure accessories to a full read-to-wear collection. This accessibly-priced line was a mix of Scandinavian fit with Japanese detail. Highlights included unstructured raincoats and casual tuxedo trousers.
One’s to watch
Images Coutesy of: Vogue Runway, WWD, Fashionising, ecgadget, Wonderland, Shawn Brackbill