Show reviews: Highlights from PMFW fall/winter 2016 — Day 2

Show reviews: Highlights from PMFW fall/winter 2016 — Day 2

Paris men's fashion week

Text: Norman Tan Andrea Sim

Yusuke Takahashi placed the Issey Miyake man in the wilderness, Dries van Noten put on a parade of fine fabrics, and Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton went on a sartorial voyage from past to present

Inspiration: The wilderness. In particular, the show notes referenced the nomadic way of life and man's natural survival instincts to battle through wind, snow, ice and rain. In our mind, this translated to Bear Grylls abseiling down a cliff face wearing a bucket hat and multi-pocket gilet. But alas, for designer Yusuke Takahashi, this meant the simple lifestyles of Mongolia.

The collection: An eclectic offering that included crushed tulip caps — very à la Burberry spring 2015 — paired with voluminous full-length coats and knitwear in a newly-developed horse hair and wool blend dyed in vivid shades of Bordeaux and teal; sporty looks as exemplified by a pair of tightly-knit pants worn with a high-performance parka embroidered with colour-blocked horseshoe motifs (look 19); and a final section of urban work wear, such as separates layered with a dust-patterned print shirt (look 26) and the closing ultra-light suits made from wrinkle-free fabric.

Hot accessories: The flash of orange high-top leather sneakers and, blink and you'll miss it, that multi-coloured foldover clutch with a bright chemical-like swirl (look 20).

I spy: Messy hair flung up high in the air like you just don't care. An alchemy of stylised bed-hair and the anime characters from Dragon Ball-Z

The set: Part art installation, part fashion runway. The men's show was pushed back to 5.30pm (instead of the usual 2.30pm) so that guests could view the gravity-defying installation by Japanese artist Shinji Ohmaki. Obtusely entitled 'Liminal Air Space-Time', guests watched the installation dance above the runway in the glass house of Serre du Parc André Citroën backed by the Parisian sunset. Held up by gusts of wind blowing up from vents in the floor, we all thought that the installation was a sheet of metallic fabric. But, as it turns out, it was an extra-fine sheet of stainless steel designed to look, and move, like a rippling membrane. Mind blowing.

Inspiration: The black-and-white photograph of Louis Vuitton trunks stacked high to resemble the Eiffel Tower taken by French photographer and painter, Jacques-Henri Lartigue . "I was inspired by Paris — old and new," said Kim Jones. In other words, it was a dialogue between the 162 year history of the maison and the wardrobe of the modern man; a concept that he termed "future heritage".

The collection: A sartorial voyage from the Art Deco period to the present day. Old world pieces came in the form of black trench coats cinched by extra-long fur belts (left dangling at the rear, almost like a tail), knee-length fur coats worn with a beret (look 7: accessorised with an earring dangling from the left lobe), and classic suits in graphite grey and French navy (as a nod to the dandy style of Alexis Von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé). For the 21st century gent, it was a fusion of function and fashion with lightweight (and reversible) parkas in topiary evergreen and Damier shades of brown (look 19), graphic patterned shearlings (looks 32 & 35: think zig zags and crosses), and the crackled white-and-blue finish applied to utilitarian denim (look 11: achieved by the artisanal wax and indigo-painting technique of 'Rocketsu'). Favourite look? Look 36: The navy silk pyjamas with a white ribbon motif that spelled out the words "Volez, Voguez, Voyagez" — the name of the Louis Vuitton exhibition currently showing at the Grand Palais.

Accessories: The maison introduced a new Monogram Eclipse canvas (look 8) — characterised by the dark pairing of grey and black shadow tones — but we were drawn to the Monogram Illusion series of smooth leather bags and trunks (look 23: especially when worn strapped across the body) silkscreened with transparent Monogram motifs that shimmered in the light. A clever reference to the 'Liminal Air Space-Time' installation fluttering above.

Seated on the front-row: A veritable list of celebrities that included director-cum-actor Xavier Dolan, Michael B. Jordan, Lewis Hamilton, and Aussie actor Joel Edgerton.

The collection: Held at the Palais Garnier opera house, the opulence of the location was a cherry on top of designer Dries van Noten's rich textiles, as he pulled jacquard jackets (look 28) after velvet suitings (look 41) out of his melting pot of fabrics. And when it came to the embellishments, van Noten drew from the orient and tipped his design hat to the military — peacocks fronted wine velvet bombers and robes (looks 33 & 36) while crests and badges were generously appliquéd on coats (look 50) and mandarin collared jackets (look 24). Another running thread in the collection: The looping motif by American artist Wes Wilson embroidered down the front and sleeves of outerwear (looks 1 & 49) and wrap bottoms (look 51), whom van Noten commisioned for the custom graphic.

In spades: Not only with the fusion of fabrics, but also the layering. Turtlenecks peeked out under shirts topped off by double-breasted jackets (look 4) and those utilitarian wrap skirts (look 10) were deftly placed over fitted joggers. The clincher? The hefty — faux we hope — fur coat pared-back by the military shirt and cape strapped on that delivered dynamism in movement.  

Buro loves: The imperial silk-satin robe (look 43) and the pinstripe three-piecer in look 46, featuring a suit jacket, trousers and not a vest but one of the designer's FW16 wrap bottoms — attire to the modern day gentlemen's club (and after), sorted.

For all coverage of Paris Men's Fashion Week, click here

To revisit Milan men's fashion week, click here