Over the last few weeks we have seen menswear collections grace the streets of London, Milan and now Paris. The biannual event took place in a week following an assortment of shocking news stories but despite these events, Paris Fashion Week has embraced peace and love and continued to be a celebration of European culture in a time when change is upon us.
Paul Smith’s collection was a nostalgic throwback to London in the 70’s with a contemporary edge. A nod to these past and present experiences fed into the collection that brought 60’s tailoring up to date in the form of loose fitting trousers and jumpsuits under tailored suit jackets in a confident use of tropical coloured tartans, checks and stripes that spill out onto the runway itself. The collection saw diversity not only in the form of fashion but in the choice of multi-cultural young models, a representation of today’s society. A selection of more commercial garments included t-shirts and belts emblazoned with ‘peace’ slogans and motifs. On a day were news was dark, Paul Smith brought a bright, optimistic look to the future of a diverse and peaceful world.
Demna Gvasalia paid homage to Cristobal Balenciaga’s creative legacy in his debut collection by drawing inspiration from an archive discovery of an unfinished coat made by Cristobal himself. The collection, which had a religious undertone throughout, challenged body proportions in contrasting extremes from a tight and shrunken look to exaggerated box shapes and broad shoulders, as Gvasalia said “the idea of tailoring for me is interesting when it’s out of frame”. To please buyers the collection offered a less formal section which showcased baseball caps and varsity jackets, although still in keeping with the oversized elements. Gvasalia wanted to provoke a reaction of boundaries regarding people’s perception of menswear and to state his mission, “define and assert new men’s silhouettes through tailoring.”
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli drew inspiration from an exhibition entitled ‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’ which saw the collection theme around the idea of incompleteness with exposed stitching, unsewn hems and visible tacking. Colours were in subdued tones of black, khaki, stone and cream and included camouflage patterns, adding to a military and masculine aesthetic. Patches and panels were appliquéd onto garments as though the crafter had not yet decided where to place them, this also advertised the customisation element of the brand as monograms appeared on outerwear such as double breasted blazers and duster coats. The collection also saw the inclusion of an art-deco style roaring panther motif, adorned across the shoulder panels of varsity jackets and disguised into patterns. Valentino SS’17 was a superbly subtle acknowledgement to the craftsmanship of the atelier and crafter and a purely sophisticated menswear collection.
Pigalle menswear staged a lavish wedding ceremony in which Parisian guests were dressed in unstructured basketball infused tailoring. The colour palette included soft pastel tones of lavender, mint, yellow and white complimented by metallic and pearlescent accents. Guests drank champagne and enjoyed a live band at the Musée de Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, enhancing the romantic aesthetic. The collection was tied together by a dyed stripe of hair on the models and white pool sliders and trainers, adding to the streetwear look. For the collection’s grand finale, Stephane Ashpool emerged wearing a lilac suit jacket and embraced his beautiful girlfriend as a wonderful celebration of love.
Hérmes menswear offering came as a light spring collection with bursts of lemon yellow and blue in an otherwise subdued colour palette. Garments were simple and clean and confidently crafted in the most luxurious materials, such as the show opener lambskin cardigan to tie-dyed goatskin blousons and a wax cotton suit. Playing with lightness and colour Hérmes also included their own take on the camouflage pattern, consisting of the bold blue and yellow colouring that holds the collection together and gives it a fresh youthful look. The classic Hérmes Bolide bag also made an appearance for Spring/Summer’17 in an refreshed colour palette of canvas and lime calfskin. Complimented by the soothing sounds of ‘All you need is love’ the collection came together as an utterly wearable and desirable collection.