Paris Fashion Week outfits for men reveal designers prepared to take a stand

Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia couldn’t resist a statement as Donald Trump is sworn in as US president and others such as Lanvin, Lemaire, Kenzo and Junya Watanabe reflected on the rat race and environmental issues

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 January, 2017, 6:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 January, 2017, 6:31pm

The men’s autumn/winter 2017 collections for Paris Fashion Week displayed a new eclecticism featuring social and political statements.

Balenciaga’s artistic director Demna Gvasalia unveiled a corporate-casual menswear collection that reinterpreted Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ campaign logo on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Reflecting fear of the future and rejection of fast-paced societies, other brands such as Lanvin and Christian Dada printed statements such as ‘Nothing’, as seen on the scarf of Lanvin’s opening outfit, or ‘too fast to live” and ‘too young to die’, as on the sleeves of Masanori Morikawa’s ‘no future’ tartan college boy looks.

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Closing the Paris men’s fashion week on an intellectual note, Carol Lim and Umberto Leon, the designer-duo behind Kenzo, aimed at environmental causes with nature-related prints – think Arctic glaciers, Hawaiian florals and aurora borealis dégradés – on heavily layered, matelassed and cocooned men’s silhouettes.

Labels such as Lemaire, Berluti, Balmain and Ami stood out for expressing the importance of taking things slowly through optimistic, romance-infused informal menswear that boasted elegant and easy-fitted silhouettes and intricate embroideries. A rustic colour palette included flashes of blue and pink.

The design team of Maison Margiela unveiled a collection paying tribute to the Beat Generation. Tailored soft-shoulder costumes and patchworked outerwear pieces were crafted from distressed tweeds, dry cottons and upholstery velvets that were embellished with displaced topstitching, cord detailing and unfinished prints.

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Riccardo Tisci’s outing for Givenchy was equally personal and intimate. Tisci used Western American references from his childhood to reinterpret the brand’s signature styles – colourful geometric prints, horizontal stripes, stars and embroidered check patterns – and to design what he called “a positive Givenchy collection”.

High fashion brands such as Juun J, Sacai, and Boris Bidjan Saberi, as well as Yosuke Aizawa’s White Mountaineering and Yohji Yamamato’s Y-3 offered a new take on functional outdoor clothing. Juun J opted for a reinterpretation of the brand’s best utilitarian looks from the past 10 years with street-flavoured and military inspired pieces, while Sacai explored the “unreasoned gesture of a cut”.

Yohji Yamamato focused on constructing military-infused outdoor silhouettes that brought an adventurous flair to urban outerwear. Boris Bidjan Saberi had his audience escape to the Great North with futuristic outdoor clothing in natural and hi-tech fabrics. Saberi’s take on outerwear had mountaineering-like straps, harnesses, and boots with crampons.

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Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones joined with Supreme to feature the uber-cool logo of the New York skater label on his leather goods and accessories, with red bum bags, messenger bags, and clutches, and his ready-to-wear was inspired by activewear. Junya Watanabe teamed up with The North Face to tap into the current sportswear obsession. Nineties-tinged urban workwear made a nod to other icons of that decade such as Levi’s, chosen by Watanabe for his denim designs.

Celebrating youth culture, and marking his 10th anniversary with Dior Homme, artistic director Kris Van Assche drew on the hardcore rave and punk cultures of the late 80s and 90s. A statement, namely ‘HARDIOR’, was emblazoned on an urban wardrobe of neatly tailored suitings and wide and oversize pants, tops and jackets in pinstripe and flashes of bright colour.

Dries Van Noten collaborated with textile companies by printing their logos on patches for slouchy yet sophisticated pieces. The Belgian designer surprised by dropping his richly textured and decorated menswear archetype in favour of street-cred looks with hard edges and strong lines.