The big themes to come out of Paris menswear fashion week 2015
ThemesFrom political statements to style taken from the streets,Elisabeta Tudor gives a run-down of Paris menswear fashion week
While the City of Light was still shaken up by the recent terror attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, designer Walter van Beirendonck last week presented his own version of "Je suis Charlie" by sending a model down the runway dressed in a transparent tank top with "Stop Terrorising Our World" emblazoned on the front. Bold statements are nothing new to the Belgian designer. In fact, the piece was inspired by a former collection of his for autumn-winter 2006 which also nodded to controversial social themes that are often part of Van Beirendonck's oeuvre.
Despite a tense atmosphere in Paris, the shows went on and several themes emerged from the autumn-winter 2015 menswear labels.
We are used to sportswear and street wear taking its toll on old luxury, but it seems this time it's the other way round. Hermès and Louis Vuitton - two of the oldest French fashion houses - reinvented urban symbols in a luxurious way for men. Véronique Nichanian's new Hermès menswear collection was all about urban-infused luxury. Pieces include a pair of shorn mink jogging pants, a cable knit embroidery on a soft leather jumper, a bomber jacket crafted from pinstriped fabrics, sporty contrasted side stripes on narrow suit trousers and acid coloured scarves.
Kim Jones proved at Vuitton that the cashmere rope jacquard is the new bandana print, adorning many Louis Vuitton looks, even needle-punched on desirable urban menswear. This bold statement was not just a simple embellishment, it was Jones' tribute to his mentor and favourite London designer and artist Christopher Nemeth, whose London-flavoured deconstructed style he aimed to celebrate. There were many beautifully adorned crew-neck sweaters, camel-brushed peacoats and blanket duffle coats.
Fine and dandy
It's impossible not to lose oneself in Haider Ackermann's enigmatic world. His rebellious, skinny dandies at Palais Galliera wore splendid soft velvets with impeccably tailored silhouettes set in motion through casual over-layering, sophisticated knotting and a laissez-faire attitude.
Dries Van Noten was just as sumptuous, but in his own way. His shows always have a soothing, ethereal atmosphere. And this time was no different: models walked the runway, accompanied by a cover of The Ronettes' Be My Baby as the soundtrack. Dressed in a range of sharp, double-layered outerwear embellished with rich adornments, models wore heavy woollen coats and jackets - bejewelled with Chinese Miao tribal motifs and adorned with grosgrain bands. Van Noten says this collection was meant primarily to embellish utilitarian menswear, "a study in replicating the position of horizontal stripes of workwear with more sartorial elements".
Highway to hell
Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy dived into the dark side with a fiery runway show. There was something devilish about his tailored yet dressy bad boys walking a red glittery runway - a red path, the highway to hell, perhaps, or maybe a nod to David Lynch's Lost Highway.
What was impressive this season was Tisci's will to mix and match his signature style (urban and masculine aesthetics) with elegant tailoring and a somewhat macabre twist in the voodoo-esque make-up. Tailored pinstriped costumes came with a sporty touch, sophisticated layering and opulent Latin American tapestry inspirations.
John Galliano has proved he's back on track with his debut Artisanal collection for Maison Margiela in London this month. The house has dropped its first name, taking its cue from Saint Laurent. The '70s inspired, slightly hippie or even pimp-flavoured silhouettes were eye-catching, yet kept the label's sophisticated understatement and deconstructed style. More of this, please.
Let the music play
Saint Laurent again promoted young musical talent at its fashion show, and Kenzo opted for the Philharmonie de Paris to showcase its collection, while Kris van Assche at Dior Homme included an orchestral performance.
Dior Homme offered an impeccably tailored men's wardrobe, full of poetry and accompanied by a traditional orchestral performance reinterpreting a track by French singer Koudlam.
"I wanted to bring formality into the world of the technical and utilitarian, to produce a techno-sartorial collection," says Van Assche, adding that he aims to embrace both sartorial and decorative elements and mix formalwear and workwear.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Kenzo showcased many desirable and practical waterproof nylon parkas, hooded coats in bright colour patterns, silver foil outfits and oversized pinstriped woollen overcoats embellished with utilitarian elements.
Lim and Leon have been a radical tour de force at Kenzo and they're not about to stop.
Hedi Slimane couldn't quite leave his Californian bad boys behind. One could still feel the Venice Beach vibe in his leather jackets and ultra-slim pants. But Slimane took a step towards Paris: first, with bejewelled berets, then Breton-stripe pullovers, without forgetting the show's original soundtrack - written and composed by La Femme's Marlon Magnée, Sacha Got, and Sam Lefèvre, with Clara Luciani singing. The Parisian cliché was evident, but Slimane gave it an edge: the raw, linear and geometric artwork of LA-based artist Oscar Tuazon inspired this season's sharp shapes and fits - goodbye sumptuous glam rock, hello chic understatement.
This collection is likely to be snapped up fast - with or without the odd beret.