Best shows from PMFW FW18: Ami Paris, Issey Miyake Men, Louis Vuitton, Yohji Yamamoto and Dries Van Noten
Paris Men's Fashion Week
Reporting from the City of Lights, Buro's digital editorial director, Norman Tan, gives us the low-down on his favourite collections from Paris Men's Fashion Week. Simply click the 'Listen in browser' button below and listen to him provide his fresh take of all the runway action via his daily audio reviews.
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AMI PARIS: OF LOVE AND LOSS
Designer: Alexandre Mattiussi
Synopsis: Have I told you how much I love Ami? The runway was set up like a Paris rooftop at night — complete with slanted tiles, chimney turrets, and a warm glowing light emanating from an attic window. With the theme song from HBO's The Leftovers, the show started with a couple (both dressed in black Ami Paris coats and white sneakers) climbing out of the attic window and onto the roof; hand-in-hand they scan the horizon as they hop from one rooftop to another. Now, if you've watched The Leftovers, you'll know that it's a show about the Biblical rapture, and includes scenes of die-hard believers predicting the day of the Lord's return and then heading to the roof to be taken to heaven. But, every time they head to their roofs, they aren't raptured. It's a story of earnest hope and unflinching faith, tempered with loss. And it was this poetic and bittersweet mood that elevated the show from just another runway, to a riveting performance. True to form, Alexandre Mattiussi sent out collegiate hoodies layered under long coats, relaxed suiting paired with caps, and the clever mixing and matching of tailored check trousers with striped tops, and strong monochromatic looks — including a full camel exit complete with a car coat, exaggerated turtle neck, and tapered trousers. Colour accents? Judicious use of blood red on a peak lapel car coat; again on an Argyle knit sweater, as well as on a pinstriped shirt as a punch of colour under a black leather bomber with a shearling collar.
ISSEY MIYAKE MEN: WINTRY SKIES
Designer: Yusuke Takahashi
Synopsis: "Issey Miyake Men takes its inspiration from the richness of the sensations within urban life," explained the show notes. "Unconventional coordination with novel layer of colours and fabrics bring an unforeseen vigor, completing an accented unique style." Held in the basement of La Gaîté lyrique in the Marais, what ensued was a surprisingly sombre collection for a house that's famous for colour and pleats. The "sensations of urban life"... was designer Yusuke Takahashi referencing Paris in winter? After a shock red hooded parka that opened the show, it was a slew of grey ensembles featuring padded gillets and collarless blazers. Absent was the colour that the maison is famous for; this wintry offering was only punctuated with the occasional shots of pigments by way of a blue slicker, a mustard yellow sweater, that acid green shirt, and a bold pairing of cobalt blue trousers with a tangerine shirt tied at the navel. Stretch tape was stitched criss-crossed on the back of blazers and trousers — thereby ruching the fabric, for textural interest — but the real show stopper was this navy and grey striped robe coat, amorphous in proportions, held together at the waist with an obi-style belt. Gorg.
LOUIS VUITTON: DESERT SWAN SONG
Designer: Kim Jones
Synopsis: When news broke yesterday that this would be Kim Jones' last show for Louis Vuitton, the collective fashion media was in shock. "But his collections are selling so well," we mused, "so why would he leave?" Rumours are swirling that he will join his former LVMH compatriot, Marco Gobbetti (who recently left Céline to become Burberry's new chief executive) as the new creative director of the British house. But whatever the future holds, it's a landmark day, and collection, for Vuitton. The brand's official IG Stories leading up to the show teased and hinted at a desert inspired collection; dropping videos of graphic rock and mineral prints on athletic streetwear. And it was these prints — aerial photos of Kenya taken from a helicopter — that (literally) paved the way, lining the purpose-built circular runway in Palais Royal. From leggings to shirts, and parkas with heat-bonded seams, prints of Kenya's mountains and deserts painted Jones' last offering for the house in a palette of neutral earthy hues. This being Vuitton, Jones wanted to emphasise voyage: "It's about clothes that can change, about fabrics that can travel on the body — and transform." And this transformation could be seen in the transition from flankman-shorts worn over leggings (evoking the American rodeo) to shearling and intarsia mink (referencing Siberia) to neon yellow and hazmat orange (borrowed from the world of climbing). But in all honesty, I was just obsessing over the bags: A new Monogram Titanium with a metallic sheen trimmed with natural cowhide and bearing a new signature "LOUIS VUITTON" boldly embossed on the classic leather, and the Vuitton hard trunk scaled down to become a shoulder Messenger bag, worn across the body. Finally, a petite malle for men. Bravo! As a final hoorah, Kim Jones closed the show flanked by supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, both wearing semi-transparent LV Monogram trench coats. Standing ovation. Now, consider this: Two British supers wearing trench coats to end the show? Surely Jones is heading to Burberry.
YOHJI YAMAMOTO: BLACK AND BLUE
Designer: Yohji Yamamoto
Synopsis: Key words for this collection include: Hooded, layered, full-length, black and blue. And not just 'black and blue' in reference to the dark colour palette, which it definitely was, but also as a reference to being left 'black and blue' after a brawl. With models made up to look like they have blood-shot eyes and puffy red eye bags — as well as being instructed to stare each other down as they crossed paths on the runway, almost bumping shoulders — there was a fighting spirit, an underswell of agitation and angst, that propelled the collection. The pieces themselves were iconically Yohji — long, languid and heavily draped — but somehow, a little more disheveled than usual. Hemlines on outerwear were dynamically different exit to exit; double-breasted blazers were crafted from contrasting fabrications; and white lab coats featuring black appliqué resembled a jumbled jig saw of discarded cut offs from a tailor's workshop. Combine this with John Lennon's seminal track, Imagine, that closed the show — stepped out in tune by a procession of long-haired models wearing full-black 'formal' wear (comprising of coats, vests and blazers fastened with cloth-covered buttons) — it proved to be a larger statement by the Japanese designer about the state of unrest in the world today. As Lennon sings: "Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." We can only hope and pray.
DRIES VAN NOTEN: BROAD SHOULDERS
Designer: Dries van Noten
Synopsis: The reason why designers, buyers and media alike love Dries van Noten is because he eschews the limelight and controversy, giving room for his creations to speak for themselves. Some call him the "designer's designer", whilst others tag him "a cerebral designer", but at the end of the day, they're all just synonyms for "a talented designer." As an avid gardener, Dries finds solace and inspiration from nature; which explains his predilection for florals, print and colour. For fall/winter 2018, this penchant for natural beauty finds its expression in water marbling — wild, experimental and vibrant — applied to billowing trenches, coats, parkas and blousons that closed the show en masse. While the finale made for a spectacular Instagram moment — especially since all the models congregated on the elevated platform above the audience — lest we forget the other highlights from the show: That denim jacket with circular studs tracing the seams of the garment; ochre plaid shirting and check trousers anchored with snakeskin boots; those crossbody bags slung over boxy suiting; those broderie anglaise outerwear pieces in white; and, of course, coats bearing broad collars splayed across the shoulder in shaved black shearling or large crochet lapels. Take my money.
Listen to all our audio reviews of the best menswear shows from Paris Men's Fashion Week fall/winter 2018.
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