Best shows from PMFW SS18: Issey Miyake, Ami, Louis Vuitton, Yohji Yamamoto and Dries Van Noten
On day two of Paris Men's Fashion Week, organisers of the Issey Miyake show hands out cooling packs to deal with the heat; Dries van Noten makes his audience walk up seven flights of an industrial carpark to view the show; and editor-in-chief Norman Tan speaks to Buro 24/7 founder Miroslava Duma about the surfing-inspired Louis Vuitton collection.
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ISSEY MIYAKE: THROUGH THE DESERT
Designer: Yusuke Takahashi
All you need to know: When it comes to an Issey Miyake show, it always starts with a clean palate — forcing you to focus on the cut and silhouette — before the gradual introduction of colour and prints. This season, with the theme 'Through the desert', the show commenced with earth-tones and an unencumbered silhouette for a comfortable wardrobe that falls front and centre into the brand's minimal and relaxed philosophy. Case in point: Languid cowl neck tops in tobacco and generously proportioned trousers cut above the ankle.
Prints were first introduced by way of geometric patterns in black-and-white (which resembled leopard spots) on trousers and blazers, but the standout was definitely the gradations of geologic stratum created by marble printing using coloured glue, applied to soft-textured polyester long shirts in blues and browns. And then the colour of the season, peacock blue, ended the show on soft-shouldered knit blazers and this striking duster coat with a matching trouser. Favourite look? That stone grey jumpsuit with a billowing body and truncated trouser. Effortless and elegant.
AMI: BOWLED OVER
Designer: Alexandre Mattiussi
All you need to know: Let me just start by saying — I could wear everything. Every time I have the pleasure of watching a runway show by designer Alexandre Mattiussi, I'm already thinking about what I want to buy for next season. For spring/summer 2018, it's definitely that extra-long black leather belt with a contrast tan leather backing. But what was the main thrust of the show? The Ami Paris man is going bowling in Hawaii. Say what? Hear me out and you'll understand.
The show opened with verdant greens and citrus orange shades striped vertically down camp collar shirts, tucked into slim-cut trousers that stopped just above the ankle – to flash a white sock worn with sneakers or Teva-esque sandals. Massive kingpin vibes. Then came dark double-denim ensembles and almost pinstriped field jackets (loved the one in azure blue) all paired with matching knee-length shorts. So where was the Hawaiian reference? The closing few looks that sported hibiscus flowers on shorts, as well as a matching jacket and shorts set, in vivid pink fuschia to match the sand on the runway.
LOUIS VUITTON: ALOHA ACTIVEWEAR
Designer: Kim Jones
All you need to know: Played out to a unique track recorded by Drake and inspired by the spring/summer 2018 collection, Kim Jones transported us to Hawaii and beyond with an active menswear runway that fused sartorial tailoring with sportswear tropes (namely, extreme sports available in Hawaii such as diving, surfing, hiking and windsurfing). We saw this in the combination of skin-tight scuba tops — crafted from lambskin leather bonded with neoprene — tucked and belted into full pleated trousers; graphic Hawaiian aloha shirts overlaid with matching print organza worn with denim patchwork bucket hats and horn bead necklaces; and the introduction of 'Monogram Split' accessories — the iconic Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas, emphasised with a centre seam with one-half coated in a deep hue of ocean blue, applied to Keepalls and totes.
Favourite pieces: The new 'Monogram Outdoor' crossbody bag constructed from sports webbing, scuba zips, cording and hardware inspired by a climber's carabiner clips; that white wetsuit top with a black LV decal printed at the neck; and the closing light grey paper bag waist shorts, extended just beyond the knees.
YOHJI YAMAMOTO: GIVING GOOD FACE
Designer: Yohji Yamamoto
All you need to know: The genius that is Yohji Yamamoto consistently delivers on expertly layered and draped ensembles with a considered finesse. More so than other designers, his clothes invite personal experimentation and often translate into very different style interpretations compared to what was initially shown on the runway. With this in mind, instead of talking about the general look and feel of his spring/summer 2018 show (rarely does it divert from Yamamoto's stacked layering of black and generously cut suiting) let's talk standout exits.
Those harnessed backpacks, worn either on the front or back, constructed from the same fabric as the suits (especially the taupe ensemble with hand-drawn black swirls on a ruched double-breasted jacket); that black linen suit with vertical columns of English and Japanese text (including 'Give me one more chance' and 'callow'); that oversized blazer with red hand-painted brush strokes; the series of black suiting embellished with dangling metal chain detailing and zips (for a very welcome hard edge to all the drapery); and the flowing full-length kaftans in a deep sea blue and emerald green with somber, poetic dark face motifs. Simply fabulous.
DRIES VAN NOTEN: YOU BETTER WORK
Designer: Dries Van Noten
All you need to know: I've titled this show review 'You better work' because guests had to walk around in circles up seven flights of a car park to watch the show. Sure, they provided a battery-operated fan and had complementary snack and drink stations at every floor (like fashion week 'pit stops'), but it was 38 degrees in Paris, people. Finally, at the top, it was an enclosed filing room with floor-to-ceiling cabinets of work papers (which served as the backdrop for the runway) with no air-conditioning. Talk about working for a fashion show. Exasperated and profusely sweating guests ignored their seats and headed to the open windows (admittedly, with stunning views of Paris from the Marais) for a breath of fresh air.
When it came to the looks, I'm happy to announce that classic Dries is back. Gone were last season's sportswear-heavy collection (which felt rather derivative) and, in its place, oversized and elongated broken suits and blazers in pastel greens and blues; socks worn with leather sandals (yes, it's still a thing); and everyone's favourite, the creative mixing of print on print, including beautiful floral embroidery on the border of zip blousons and the chest of shirts. One of my favourite collections for the spring/summer 2018 menswear season to date. Well-worth the hike!