We’ll always have Paris: five top menswear trends from the catwalks

In the wake of the recent terror attacks on Parisian landmarks, the autumn/winter 2016 menswear shows were more than ever a celebration of youth culture, togetherness and diversity

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, 12:00am

November’s deadly terror attacks across the French capital have affected tourism and retailing, but the creativity of its fashion houses is undimmed. We picked out the top trends from Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

Back to school

The quest for youth was palpable in Paris, exemplified in the collections by Dior Homme, Valentino and Hermès. At Valentino, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli did what they do best: mix-matching a range of cultural references, memories and emblems – think boy scout vs. punk or classic vs. tribal, introduced with abstract statements such as “adventure as a self examination” and “into the wild”. Kris Van Assche at Dior Homme presented on a skater park set, his collection featuring outdoor and streetwear-inspired looks. At Hermès, Véronique Nichanian maintained that house’s reputation for craftsmanship, her standout looks including details such as shark fang prints on calfskin bolide bags, pullovers with eye-popping Steeplechase stripe prints, and multicoloured scarves with exotic prints.

Techno and the Love Parade

Glenn Martens, Y/Project’s creative director, took over the brand from Yohan Serfaty almost two years ago and this season followed his own intuition twhile respecting Serfaty’s legacy – think gender-bending elements, 90s pop and techno, a bit of Matrix, some white trash and a lot of party. Umit Benan, for his part, was in for another kind of adventure as he looked to East Asia. Benan paid homage to Tokyo, mixing and matching traditional Japanese garments and fits with this season’s trendy techno elements. Elsewhere, Maison Margiela’s men were on a mission to “find humanity and acknowledge the machine”, its show notes read. In other words, Margiela’s show conjured love in an industrial age, with a heavy techno, Love Parade-influenced beat accompanying a show full of interesting takes on outerwear, which came in deconstructed, stone-washed, cut and shredded styles.

Punk’s not dead

Rei Kawakubo’s protégé Gosha Rubchinskiy, and Haider Ackermann, tapped into the eccentric style of the 1970s and gave it a contemporary and sophisticated update. Ackermann infused his dandy-esque signature looks crafted from rich velvets, wools and silks with punk and rock’n’roll elements, managing to be both contemporary and nostalgic, sophisticated and sexy.

Cultural melting pot

Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh emphasised the multicultural. “Streetwear is my gateway to Paris,” said Abloh, of his line in men’s luxe outerwear and urban staples that came with deconstructed elements, eye-catching screen prints and hues. Rousteing had a similar take on mixing and matching. “It was all about mixing various cultures together, just like we do it in Paris; that’s what makes for the beauty of this city,” he said of his collection, which continued last season’s theme of youthful adventure. At Givenchy, Tisci presented elegant tailoring with Americana style references and rough and sensual edges.

Memory lane

Dries Van Noten created an utterly contemporary men’s collection with art nouveau detailing. Picking up on last season’s “iconoclast” theme, the Belgian designer deconstructed ceremonial uniforms and their flamboyant decorative elements with a psychedelic twist, contrasting robust fabrics with a regal attitude. Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones had the City of Light on his mind. “This season I was inspired by Paris – old and new,” said the designer, who embraced art deco decorative motifs while imbuing garments with a sense of practicality. Finally, Raf Simons’ first post-Dior collection was the talk of the season, and rightfully so. The designer has tapped into the many cultural codes of his generation for his latest menswear collection. “The impact of Twin Peaks on my generation is a considerable one,” said Simons, who called his collection a tribute to filmmaker David Lynch’s dark fantasies and to Angelo Bandalamenti – who composed the theme tune to the television series. Simons made an impression with shredded XXL knitwear, sweaters and coats and grunge-infused styling that channelled both TV shows such as Dawson’s Creek and Wes Craven’s horror movie heroes.