Show reviews: Highlights from PMFW fall/winter 2016 — Day 1
Paris men's fashion week
VALENTINO: UNEXPECTED CONTRASTS
Inspiration: Adventure as a form of self-examination and, most notably, as told through the words of American writer and outdoor enthusiast, Jon Krakauer — "The core of man's spirit comes from new experiences."
Soundtrack: The existential anthem, How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths, with its searing chorus: "I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does."
The collection: Prima facie, a seemingly disconnected offering of unexpected contrasts — the chic opening full-black looks featuring sumptuous double-cashmere Couture blazers; the ostentation of a wolf fur stole worn beneath a military trench (look 40); the weathered feel of burnished brown leather jackets (looks 44 and 45); and the tribal vibe of geometric Navajo patterns emblazoned across billowing ponchos (looks 49, 56 and 70) and a shearling intarsia jacket (look 75). But, when considered in the context of the collection's inspiration and soundtrack, it was clear that designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were presenting a wardrobe for the man on a journey of discovery; both literally and figuratively. Hence the creative license to design anachronistically. The fil rouge? Denim by way of five-pocket jeans and studded trucker jackets.
Favourite looks: It was easily the black embellished foursome of a beaded double-breasted blazer (look 17), beaded knee-length overcoat (look 18); beaded zip-up blouson (look 19), and a beaded wide-collar jacket (look 20) — all referencing the Pearly Kings for a masculine edge.
I spy: Neck scarfs worn with scarf rings and layered with long pendant necklaces. A styling tip to try at home.
LEMAIRE: FUNCTIONALITY AND FUSION
Location and set: The historic Ecole de Médecine replete with Ionic columns served as Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran's FW16 show stage, where models exited through a stairway draped in the design duo's offering — low-key, stripped-down, and as always, the building blocks of a wardrobe.
The collection: Hybrids. This time, the designers proffered a collection not simply distinguished in its individualistic design details — like the staggered pleating on trousers for spring/summer — but, made headway in establishing their own paradigm of menswear. The pieces in question: A denim jacket with contrasting stitching (look 29) constructed to resemble a vest layered over the outerwear itself, and a button-down chalk white turtleneck (look 30) — all styled in the signature Lemaire tone-on-tone and monochrome colour scheme.
Try it now: Lemaire and Tran really championed the significance of outerwear this fall/winter 2016. With an article of clothing like the shirt-jacket that markets itself (it's a shirt and a jacket in one for crying out loud) central to the collection, the designers did away with the archytepal first layer in many an ensemble (looks 11, 23 & 26).
Buro loves: The elegance of the skinny scarf, the tool to engineering the perfect suit-jacket-sans-shirt ensemble (looks 13 & 27).
RAF SIMONS: OVERSIZED AND UNDERSIZED
The collection: Supersized in all aspects — V-necks plunged deeper, shoulder dartings sloped downwards, and hemlines demonstrated the power of gravity. It's no surprise that designer Raf Simons' fall/winter 2016 collection was titled 'Nightmares and Dreams' — the recent former creative director of Dior has an appetite for exploring the macabre. Between the sunken cheeks and vacant stares of the models and the destroyed 'moth-eaten' knits, Simons also demonstrated lampshading in good taste.
Leitmotif: Giving new meaning to the oversized jumper and as a first for the puffer jacket and checked detective trench (looks 8, 9 & 13), the hefty uppers hung over stovepipes cut high. A trend rife amongst the reality TV unmentionables (did we say Kardashians?), here's lampshading for a whole new purpose: Challenging the core of reputable tailoring and questioning the need for overt masculinity — not the rationalisation of a beyond leggy display.
I spy: Skinny scarfs that unlike the ones at Lemaire, were styled off-centre in varying lengths (looks 5 & 33), presenting an alternative to the rakish ascot.
In contast: To the entire supersized offering, the second to final look ricocheted to the opposite end of the spectrum: A shrunken and destroyed jumper was styled snugly over a button down shirt, worn by the only model in the line-up with a chin-grazing bob (look 37). If fall/winter 2016 was Simons' two cents worth on the trending topic of gender fluidity, trust the designer to execute his monologue like none before himself.
For all coverage of Paris Men's Fashion Week, click here.
To revisit Milan men's fashion week, click here.