Best shows from PMFW FW18: Lanvin, Paul Smith, Dunhill London and Kenzo

Best shows from PMFW FW18: Lanvin, Paul Smith, Dunhill London and Kenzo

Paris Men’s Fashion Week

Text: Norman Tan

Lanvin shows us how to work our angles, Paul Smith uplifts with joyous colour, Dunhill London starts a new chapter, and Kenzo takes us to the movies

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 — plus a chat with Dunhill London's creative director, Mark Weston, about his bold new direction for the storied British brand.

Mark Weston

Simply click the 'Listen in browser' button below and listen to Norman provide his fresh take of all the runway action via his daily audio reviews.

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Designer: Lucas Ossendrijver
Synopsis: A menswear offering characterised by angular silhouettes created through the styling of informal sportswear with formal tailoring — that is to say, it was a hyper on trend, and thus, also very commercial. Which is not a bad thing. A grey window pane grey suit was belted with a parka-style gilet with contrast patch pockets; detachable hoods styled with mid-rise turtlenecks; asymmetric buttoned pullovers worn over forest camo shirting; oversized athletic biker jackets (inscribed with the word 'SOMEDAY' on the lower back) worn askew on tailored trousers; the heavy layering of a turtle neck base with a shirt, V-neck sweater and jacket, accessorized with an ID tag worn as a necklace; and accessories by way of knit bucket hats and rubber soled loafers. It was the experimental fusion of otherwise classic pieces that made it feel fresh and relevant. Maybe a contender for the Louis Vuitton menswear creative director? Just throwing it out there.

Designer: Paul Smith
Synopsis: On a rainy and dreary Paris day, Paul Smith's fall/winter 2018 collection was exactly what the doctor ordered, delivering a shot of joie de vivre via monochromatic bright ensembles and clever details. The show started with outerwear designed with split personalities: A black blazer with one half featuring pleat details and the other half crafted from a floral jacquard, and a notch lapel car coat with one half in green tartan and the other half in navy wool — the underlining of which was the brand's iconic bright rainbow stripes. Then came an explosion of colour by way of an intarsia sweater featuring a desert landscape (not dissimilar to the 'Endless Road' motif at Hermès the day prior) and the punch of an aquamarine full look consisting of a tailored coat worn over a suit worn over a pullover, before an ending of a bright tomato red double-breasted coat worn over a matching red suit layered over a bright orange knit — yet another 'cautionary colour' to join the neon yellows that we've been seeing all week.

Designer: Mark Weston
Synopsis: Is the Dunhill man ready for leather trousers? Designer Mark Weston surely thinks so. Available in black, camel, maroon, and navy — amongst other killer hues — the tailored leather trouser with centre creases and an extended tab closure at the waist (basically, cut like the other wool trousers offered on the runway) was the bedrock for the collection. It signaled a bold new chapter for the storied house; one that invites its customers to infuse their dapper wardrobes with copious amounts of attitude. Leather trousers — clearly having a moment having spotted them at Berluti, Paul Smith and now Dunhill London — were topped off with sartorial staples like blazers, woolen coats, and thick pinstriped shirts fastened with neckties. But the fun wasn't just on top. There was also a leather biker jacket with the Dunhill logo plastered on the chest; black mid-rise turtlenecks with a contrast white Dunhill logo on the collar; and cotton polo tops fastened with statement brass buttons to complete the rock vibe. The house may be turning 125 this year, but with this new design vision coupled with a healthy retail expansion plan (look out for new doors in Asia), the best is yet to come. 

Designer: Humberto Leon and Carol Lim
Synopsis: Closing out Paris Men's Fashion Week for fall/winter 2018, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon concocted a collection that — according to their show notes — was inspired by the movies and their strong protagonists. Which explains the live play entitled 'My Sister's Wedding' that was performed on the runway — at the start, during the intermission between the men's and women's collections, and at the end of the show. For the most part, the play (which was also projected on large screens above the show space for all to see) was without dialogue or subtitles. As such, it was rather difficult to understand what was happening — the actress playing Carol was getting married, the actor that played Humberto Leon bleached his hair, and somewhere in there the mother passed out. Whatever the narrative, it was too long and too distracting. It's only redemption came at the very end when the storyline gathered all the models into the centre of the runway for a dance scene under falling white confetti — that vignette, lit by spot lights, was poignant and beautiful. As for the clothes, the opening looks were the best: Red turtleneck under a yellow pullover under a grey vest; a cream cowboy shirt tucked into check trousers; and an azure blue turtleneck worn under a hooded navy sweater with cherry blossom embroidery. Other highlights include the oversized button cardigans made from patinated leather (great for louche layering) and that bucket hat, zip-up blouson and tailored trouser, all cut from a beige check print (very dorky chic). Womenswear? I'd recommend the black slips worn over white 'movie poster' tees, mismatched separates in those dusty pastels and cherry blossom prints, as well as those heavily sequined evening pieces.

Listen to all our audio reviews of the best menswear shows from Paris Men's Fashion Week fall/winter 2018.