Best shows from PMFW FW18: Sacai, Thom Browne, Dior Homme and Hermès
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 — including a backstage chat with Dior Homme artistic director, Kris van Assche.
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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SACAI: CARPET RIDE
Designer: Chitose Abe
Synopsis: Here's an address to remember — 11 Rue Béranger in the 3rd arrondissement. It's the same industrial car park used by Dries van Noten last season — when we had to scale seven floors in the heat of summer to reach his show (but it was worth it) — and although it's now a crisp seven degrees in Paris, the collective fashion media were pooped (bogged down with winter coats), after scaling the same building to reach the Sacai show. And what did we find on our seats when we finally reached them? Metallic foil blankets. We didn't need blankets to stay warm, we needed water to cool down! (I know, we're just a bunch of whingers.) When it came to the collection, Abe is sending the Sacai man on a carpet ride. Models stepped out in slouchy sweaters and exaggerated coats knitted from red and purple threads woven into an intricate tile design (complete with statement fringing); a black tee bearing the slogan 'Truth is more important now than ever' (a prerequisite fashion-dig at the Trump administration); then a procession of duffle coats assembled from mixed materials including cable knit patches, cream plaid, and camouflage (there were even shots of neon orange, which is clearly becoming a trend); before ending with green military parkas bearing Navajo knit collars (remember Diesel Black Gold from Milan just last week?) and denim ensembles. Wow. With such a diverse offering, there was definitely something for everyone.
THOM BROWNE: HAUTE HIBERNATION
Designer: Thom Browne
Synopsis: The École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts is a stunning building on the Left Bank — its courtyard lined with statues, its walls decorated with gold frescoes — blessed with an abundance of natural light flooding down from a grand glass dome. That is to say, the location for the Thom Browne show is already a winner. But Browne took it to the next level, planting silver birch trees into the runway, running a row of foldable camping beds (all with their own Thom Browne tri-colour striped sleeping bags) down the centre, and covering the entire space in fake snow. When the show started, two models wandered into the space and started sprinkling more fake snow around the runway — wearing cable knit hoodies, long quilted white skirts, and a white gilet over a puffer jacket, they looked like angels or fairies with their cheeks painted a bright rosy red. Then a collection emerged anchored in shades of grey, black and white; each ensemble a slight variation of the former (as is the Thom Browne way) and with models sporting long braided black pig tails under a long grey beanie. Highlights include: those quilted long coats with notch lapels; a white quilted cape cut short at the hip and trimmed with black mink; and those red double-breasted corduroy jackets with gold buttons. To close, the models unraveled the sleeping bags in the centre of the show space — revealing a motif of the iconic Thom Browne grey suit (complete with white shirt and black tie) appliquéd onto the front — and then zipped themselves in (with the help of the two 'angels') before heading off to sleep. Haute hibernation anyone?
DIOR HOMME: FOREVER YOUNG
Designer: Kris van Assche
Synopsis: 2018 marks the eleventh year that Kris Van Assche has helmed the menswear universe at Dior, and if you've been keeping track of his progress, you'll notice that he has a penchant for punk or rave-inspired collections. For fall/winter 2018, it was a familiar rehashing of his signature looks: The layering polo tops over long-sleeve tees; necklaces tied high under buttoned-up shirt collars; and ribbed bomber jackets paired with loose trousers. The show notes talked about the duality of youth and age — "With youth, the freedom to embody an ideal with reckless abandon. With age, a sense of looking from the outside in." — and this translated onto the runway (lined by two glass vitrines encasing glowing theme park lights) by way of sharply tailored suiting paired with canvas sneakers (their thick shoelaces bearing the brand's name and left intentionally untied) and a new motif, the spiked tattoo logo as a graphic rave totem, applied generously on blazers, tops and shirts. In retrospect, the first half of the show — with its black tailoring — was reminiscent of last season's spring 2018 collection that pushed the bar jacket with an all-over ribbon print; whilst the second half of the show — with its green mink collars on coats — resembled the fall 2017 collection that was marked by acid green and bright orange fur collars and coats. Was van Assche looking back as a way of moving forward? Or was this an intentional design linkage to previous work as a way to stay 'forever young' — the soundtrack and exegesis for his show? Listen to the audio review to hear Kris van Assche chat about his latest collection for Dior Homme.
HERMÈS: BAPTISM OF FIRE
Designer: Véronique Nichanian
Synopsis: It's an Hermès bonfire! Held in the courtyard of Hôtel de l'Artillerie, artistic director Véronique Nichanian sent her male models through a gauntlet of fire — a passage bordered by ten barrels of flaming wood; five barrels on each side — to start her fall/winter 2018 show. Spectacular. When the models emerged from the flames, they came bearing a new house print — the 'endless road' motif depicting a road disappearing into a mountainous horizon — emblazoned onto generously cut cashmere pullovers. The collection was grounded in a base of quartz, black and grey, but dialed up with punches of hot bubble gum pink used on shirts (peeking through the bottom of sweaters); rich cobalt on mid rise turtle necks and tapered trousers; and, what is now officially a trend, neon yellow on the trim of a cardigan (recap: we've seen this bright 'cautionary colour' at Louis Vuitton, Juun.J, Dior Homme, and now Hermès). Personal favourites include the two-tone quilted overshirt in tobacco and red worn over a raspberry turtle neck and tucked into black trousers; that brilliant ivory parka in reversed sheepskin; and, of course, that hooded and drawstring parka in a rich hazelnut crocodile. For the evening? Those blazers and trousers crafted from glimmering cotton jacquard, especially a very smart chrome green iteration with subtle polka dots.
Listen to all our audio reviews of the best menswear shows from Paris Men's Fashion Week fall/winter 2018.
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