Paris Men's Fashion Week SS19: The tribes at Undercover and Y/Project's curious take on clothing


Text: Andrea Sim

Glenn Martens goes further down the rabbit hole and Jun Takahashi examines what separates us from them

Animals growling, classical scores, banging drums and Rasta tunes... the mixed-bag soundtrack of the Y/Project show couldn't have been more apt given the way creative director Glenn Martens blueprints a garment. Known for gelling unexpected elements and often exhibiting a deft hand at remixing the mundane, a medley of the hard and soft opened the show by way of thin fabric stretched over the thick, stiff plating or boning within, on coats, vests, and jackets. This was occasionally complemented by the scrupulous, fine ruching Martens layered in tulle over women's sweatshirts and denim in SS18. His now notable Y-front patchwork jeans showed up too, while a fresh iteration of denim saw false waistlines created have the crotch of the trousers intentionally sag, and jackets given double collars and plackets. His signature excess of fabric this season was pared-back, though palpable in the double dartings along the shoulder, arms and legs that were left to flap on shirts and trousers. The immediately covetable pieces came in the form of elaborate cut-and-sews, straddling the sentiment of repurposed garments with what looked like five, six, or seven jackets of married into one, while other interesting mash-ups included cobweb-like knit serving as an outer layer on jackets and trousers. While Martens has since proven that he's hardly a man in favour of treading middle ground, he's certainly managed stick his landing with grace yet again.  

As far as themes within a collection, Undercover's Jun Takahashi couldn't have been more explicit. His runway wasn't so much a runway but a show stage, with models filing on in groups of five or six — choreographed to circle the show space by weaving between the building's pillars in a manner of controlled disarray for about at least a minute. It gave those seated (like Kim Jones, who turned up for Takahashi despite his impending runway debut at Dior Homme) an excellent 360 view of the clothes, and floated his intention as clear as day: the idea of people as tribes where the like-minded band together. Whether it was due to Takahashi throwing a co-party later that night with his ami, Raf Simons — who has returned home to PMFW after three seasons in New York — or, an expression of his curiosity with subcultures, it manifested in the clothing and choice of music. Spanning eight troops in total with each parading to a tune vastly different from the last, Takahashi's messaging hit home immediately for some more than the others. The segment titled 'Bootleg Truth' saw a graphic nod to the Illuminati — supposedly banded to counter injustice — by way of a triangle intersecting an eye, while 'Vlads' (possibly in reference to Vlad the Imapler, the "real Dracula") were a posse of goths, hair drenched in gel and in black of course. The most visually impactful though, were a group sent out clutching poles and chains that clanked as they walked. The writing on the wall: the blind leading the blind. As of now, Takahashi hasn't officially spoken out about the drivers of his collection, and we can't help but feel that there's so much more to the story that remains untold.

All coverage from Paris Men's Fashion Week spring/summer 2019.


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