Paris Menswear: Day three with Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton and Issey Miyake
In a busy calendar on the third day of Paris Menswear Week, 10 of the 12 houses on the official calendar presented their collections online, without any live audiences. We waded through three of the best, where the key message was 'to thine own self be true.'
Rick Owens: Eco Disco Warriors on the Beach
Paris menswear could boast one live show Thursday by a major designer, albeit staged on the Lido beach in Venice, the lagoon city where Rick Owens lives half the year.
For what will likely be his final show there – since Owens hopes to return to Paris for a live show during women’s ready-to-wear week in the fall – the Californian-born designer distorted, destroyed and deconstructed with a good deal of abandon – all to tremendous effect. In a generous gesture, he even invited in local artist, Swampgod, to visit his factory nearby in the Veneto and rip up old stock that ended up being “deconstructions of my deconstructions,” explained Rick.
The designer also used multiple eco-materials – from biodegradable cotton waste cupro to FSC-certified viscose, which he admitted is a new moment of “contradictively trying to mix glam with responsibility and thoughtfulness.”
As a result, his gothic minimalist heroes have rarely looked more organic. Their jeans dragged along the stony sand of the Lido; their pagoda-shoulder sleeveless redingotes almost blowing away; their fishnet tops were riddled with holes.
Some folks often carp that the best place to wear Rick Owens collections is to a Rick Owens show, so demanding is his aesthetic, so cult-like his codes. However, one test of a true artist, which is what Rick is, is whether they can develop a strong, signature style. Using that acid test, there are few more distinctive designers in the world today. This collection like so much that Owens created could only have been created today.
Louis Vuitton: Amen Break by Virgil Abloh
The opening shot – a chap lying in black suit and mask with ceremonial samurai sword and Artful Dodger bashed top hat.
“The greatest samurai in the empire” apparently according to a narrator, he then takes a walk through a giant quarry meeting another natty ninja character. Both clad in black they end up in a mock silver birch forest. Every model in this wood carrying a bag – burnished yellow backpacks; orange boxy leather briefcases; striped old fashioned weekend cases, with no wheelies.
Their garb: telephone-box red sweaters proclaiming 'Vuitton Rocks'; green check suits, finished not with pants but samurai skirts; broadly piped track pants; Yves Klein-blue suits, finished with a fur hat on which was planted a Scottish Flag of St Andrew.
The house’s menswear designer Virgil Abloh, an architect and DJ whose design roots are in concept streetwear, is not a natural-born tailor. But this collection contained some very fine Dickensian style belted, double-breasted jackets; and split-seamed trousers.
In a word, a snappy commercial collection that advanced the fashion vernacular, though quite why one needed the video to last 17 minutes when one third of that should have been enough was puzzling. Given the title Amen Break, when one felt this flick need an intermission.
Perhaps, in this era of never ending digital fashion seasons, it’s about time Generation X, Y and Z designers had a look at the 1966 satirical fashion mockumentary, 'Who Are You Polly Maggoo?' Fashion, like life, is too important not to be taken lightly.
Entitled Human Ensemble, the Japanese house’s latest menswear collection was inspired by considering closely our bodily forms. And how, clever design can adapt to create clothes of distinction that are comfortable to wear.
Backed up by slide-guitar blues, the show video directed with style by Kazunali Tajima featured a smart early series called Body Arch. Made in 100% recycled polyester that looked like very high quality cardboard each piece gentle hugged the torso lovingly. Tunics, tops and chauffeurs jackets cut with Raglan sleeves and made with easy fits, all assured easy movement. Other Inlaid knits had the rich minimalism one associates with Miyake, whose clothes remain instantly recognizable .
Shot on atypical cast of models from bearded lumberjacks to doughty artists – some 30 friends of the house – many wearing David Hockney-shaped shades - this was gentle video for the brand’s gentlemanly creative clients.
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