Male, female styles mix with stars to cap Paris menswear
PARIS (AP) — Male and female styles mixed with US television and music stars at Paris Fashion Week on Sunday for the final installment of fall-winter menswear shows as the City of Light prepares to notch up a gear for Monday’s couture week. Here are the highlights:
LANVIN STAYS EDGY
Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams in a woolen coat and stylish calfskin shoes led the front row at the Palais de Tokyo morning show alongside “The OA” actor Patrick Gibson in a suede print Lanvin bomber jacket.
The storied, yet edgy house, has hoped for renewed direction since last year’s 10-year anniversary of men’s designer Lucas Ossendrijver and the new creative director Bouchra Jarrar.
Oversized, slouchy and elongated silhouettes defined the aesthetic — towing a fashion-forward line between shabby and chic.
Double-breasted jackets came alongside baggy pants and student-like check sweaters with scruffily long sleeves.
And there was more than a hint of irony in the air as models with blank expressions sported tight scarves with the word “NOTHING” written on.
Yet the fall-winter collection packed no huge surprises.
If Lanvin was looking for a creative overhaul, this was not it. As ever, the looks were among the most perfectly executed on the Paris Fashion Week calendar.
A golden brown coat sported delicate androgynous curved shoulders, and the merging of eclectic pieces in the same look was further proof of Ossendrijver’s fashion mastery.
KENZO CHANNELS HARSH ENVIRONMENTS
As if apologizing to the fashion press for forcing it to trek to a far-flung warehouse on the outskirts of Paris on a freezing Sunday night, Kenzo served up mulled cider.
Thawing fashionistas clutched their Kenzo paper cups and marveled at the fascinating atelier decor, as did U.S. singer and front-row attendee Kelela.
In the center of the in-the-round runway, the backstage of the show was exposed in full view — seamstresses, models getting dressed, rails of coat hangers and make-up artists buzzing around.
The theme was clear — rawness and exposure.
The creative collection merged men’s and women’s designs and channeled clothes that would be worn in harsh environments and raw conditions.
Two-piece hybrid skiing outfits — in raincoat yellow and winter blue — with hardy rubber boots opened the dizzying collection that comprised nearly 90 looks.
Despite the long length, there were plenty of reasons to not get bored.
Huge fluorescent bubbles jackets fused with multicolored blown-up Argyll check and were combined with beautifully incongruous tiger-print skirts.
To try to make sense of it all, the program notes coined it “Hawaiian meets arctic.”
But too many looks, at times, spoiled the broth.
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S STYLES MERGE
Paul Smith’s fashion show entitled “WO MAN” set the tone for his gender-fusing designs at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris’ chic Left Bank.
The British fashion icon’s decision to show both men’s and women’s styles together like Kenzo forms part of a much bigger trend at Paris Fashion Week.
Top houses like Givenchy have increasingly taken to merging men’s and women’s resort designs on the catwalk — celebrating androgyny and shunning sexual difference.
It’s as political a statement as fashion can get.
PAUL SMITH’S GENDER-FUSED CHECKS
Check, patterns and lashings of androgyny were the ingredients of the day from Smith.
The classical tailored gray jacket was worn by a female model, and men sported soft velvet suits in warm vivid shades of violet and blue.
Quirkiness peppered proceedings via eccentric contrasts — the bread-and-butter sartorial styles and trench coats mixed with quirky pointed snake skin boots, sneakers and loose sweaters with ethnic motifs.
Smith is one menswear designer totally unafraid of color.
Cerulean blue, vermillion, olive mixed with blacks and beiges — with gray, monochrome or check, also a key touchstone.
Stripes, checks and graffiti prints defined Agnes B.’s classical fall-winter show.
But the element that made the French designer’s display stand out was its virility (barring the inclusion of the odd female model in menswear) in a Fashion Week more and more defined by the androgynous aesthetic.
Men of different ages, ethnicities and body shapes sported varying facial hair — in a clear anti-fashion statement in which the designer seemed to scream “being normal is ok.”
Luxuriant marl gray overcoats mixed with masculine pattered foulards — while graffiti and pixelated prints on tops gave the collection a hint of aggression.
But no Agnes B. fashion display would be complete without the necessary fashion contradictions — seen here in the street versus the classical — sweatpants, caps, hoodies contrasted with chic black thick leather coats and suits in warm autumnal hues.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K