Menswear reveals its two faces in Paris
Never has men's fashion been explored so thoroughly in all its different facets as at this January's Paris Fashion Week Men's for Fall/Winter 2020-21. Over the last few seasons, menswear has been trying to find its place, often oscillating between the traditional men's wardrobe and a streetwear attitude. For next winter, it seems to be heading towards a sort of in-between, settling on a wardrobe which is not always well-defined, but open to any number of possibilities, as shown by a range of designers on Saturday and Sunday as the French capital's men's fashion week drew to a close.
There was an army-jungle vibe at Sacai. The half-khaki, half-leopard-print outfits sped down the runway to the rhythm of disco hits. The collection was dominated by all-over looks in terms of colourways, prints and materials, and sought to reimagine suits and jackets.
Tailored jacket-and-trouser ensembles made out of sky-blue silk headscarves were topped off with a long, matching scarf, which hung lightly over the model's chest like a tie. For those looking for a sportier backpacker style, there were also puffy trousers paired with padded jackets, all in a khaki fabric decorated with the same bandana patterns as the shirts and scarves – the leitmotif of the collection.
The girls, who were wearing the Pre-Fall collection for 2020, sported big leather biker boots with thick lug soles, while the boys slipped on lace-up mountaineering shoes or leopard-print boots. Both genders wore the same necklaces, made of multiple signet rings linked together.
There were the usual hybrid clothes so dear to Japanese designer Chitose Abe, but they were constructed more subtly, more discreetly, with fabric inserts and appliqués on certain pieces. The sides of a white sweater were harmoniously blended into a black jumper in bouclée wool, while a fringed mini-poncho was integrated into a hand-knitted open jersey.
At Dunhill's show, guests were plunged into the depths of a foggy London night, as shadows danced on the walls in the pale glow of a lantern reflecting off wet tarmac. The silhouettes were slender and sombre, with a colour palette dominated by black, grey and navy blue, and shot through with flashes of red.
Certain pieces caught the light, particularly the satin jackets, the perfectos, the shiny leather pants and the petrol-blue trousers in eel skin. The whole wardrobe was very British, offering a contemporary take on couture, run through with a romantic vein and the odd reference to the 80s.
The Dunhill man wore mocassins with showy golden logo buckles and no socks. The models cheekily left their beautiful satin shirts peak out from beneath their jumpers or piled jackets and blousons over suits. Their necks were wrapped in fine scarves, knitted in silk yarn and left to hang down over their shoulders, as though they had knotted their ties on backwards.
"I wanted to keep a very clean image at the front and play with detail at the back," explained creative director Mark Weston, who was signing off on his fifth collection for the Richemont-owned brand. "The idea was to create a strong attitude, inspired by the Sex Pistols and the Blitz Club, the underground British movement that gathered around the new romantics in 1979 to 80," he continued.
Leather was also one of the key materials at Ludovic de Saint Sernin, where it featured in trousers, trenches and a long fur-lined coat, but also in asymmetrical tops which left models' shoulders bare, and opera gloves. The designer played with contrasts, between black and white, robust and delicate, covered and uncovered, and even masculine and feminine, notably proposing a pearl-encrusted bra for men.
"It's another very personal collection, entitled 'coeur brisé' [broken heart], where I have emphasised the duality between fragility and strength with very couture pieces in organza and sexy leather," explained the young designer, who is showing for the second time in the French capital this season. Strength could also be seen in the imposing coats knotted at the waist with a sparkling cord.
In contrast to these stronger looks, there were soft, flowing knitwear ensembles with trousers and tops, or lavender-hued shirts, as well as transparent organza topcoats and cobweb-like fishnet tops.
As for Acné Studios, the brand caused a stir on Sunday by totally separating their men's and womenswear runway shows, but holding them at the same. Two entrances had been set up, both opening into the same large room, which was bisected by a wall. At the top of the wall an enormous oval mirror tilted from one side to another from time to time, allowing one to see – albeit with difficulty – what was happening on the other side.
The idea was to evoke past, future and present, exploring the effect of time on clothes on the women's side, and imagining a wardrobe designed as a conversation with A.I. for the men.
Squeezed into white leggings or sporting faded green vinyl trousers, or ski-pant-like pieces in astronaut nylon, the men looked to be a touch more interesting than the women, in their long tailored dresses in velvet or frayed antique fabrics. Particularly noteworthy were the jackets that featured an original round opening high up at the front.
Pigalle, which showed off-calendar, invited the fashion world into its neighbourhood, to Rue Dupérré, in the heart of Pigalle, where it opened a sports ground nestled between two buildings in 2015. Now entirely renovated, it was here that the brand presented its new sporty "Basketball" collection on Sunday, the result of a collaboration with Nike, which was made up of sweaters, shorts, jackets and colourful trousers, as well as two models of Converse.
In a neighbouring building, designer Stéphane Ashpool unveiled his new mini-capsule "Hôtel Pigalle" with a musical show. Channelling a palette of blues, oranges and yellows, the collection included satin ensembles, pyjama-like suits and versions spangled with sequins, wrap coats with fur collars and a little jacket with long golden-yellow hair.
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