See the cutting edge menswear offerings from our top brands fresh off the runway at Paris Fashion Week.
For his fifth Fall/Winter collection at the creative helm of Loewe, Jonathan Anderson debuted the first ever runway presentation for the Spanish luxury house’s menswear line. Rooted in Anderson’s typical penchant for abstraction, the backdrop of the presentation was a vibrant fabric sculpture by the artist Franz Erhard Walther. Anderson, who has quadrupled the size of the Loewe menswear business since his appointment, sought to “...take basics, and make them fashionable…” this season. Knitwear featuring jacquard figures in contrasting colours or all over printed shirts are surefire ways to ignite the passion of Loewe’s loyal following. In keeping with the house’s roots in leather work, the collection featured several new leather offerings such as a larger version of the women’s puzzle bag, a vibrant leather fanny pack and most notably a curious pair of boots that extended from ankle to waist. When the inner edge of the strange piece of leather work was unzipped, it bore a resemblance to leather chaps and created a casing in which the voluminous trousers could billow and pool. The result was a silhouette that was simultaneously fetishistic and refined. This is a prime example of how Anderson blends playful abstract ideas with a dense understanding of garments and how they function together. The designer’s tenure at Loewe is hopefully still in his early stages so that we may see his creative vision evolve further as the scope and reach of the menswear continues to grow.
Junya Watanabe is finished with the youth obsession. In his Fall/Winter 2019 Menswear collection Watanabe (aged 58) pushes what he calls “silver swagger” and aims to give the older generations of men a chance to flourish. The collection carries-over the designer’s usual trademarks such as mixed material patchwork and a heavy influence from American workwear. The cast of male models, the average age of which is most likely 50, possess a certain quality when walking the runway that younger models do not; these mature men do not look like they are modelling but rather just walking. Watanabe’s lived-in aesthetic combined with the seasoned features of lived-in bodies make for an intriguing take on the state of fashion today.
“I am not a fashion designer.” words that may shock many of those uninitiated to the history of Yohji Yamamoto. Enemy of trends and master of cut, Yamamoto has always pushed his singular vision. The Fall/Winter 2019 menswear collection, presented in Paris on January 17th 2019, continues to proliferate Yamamoto’s manifesto as he maintains his attention to detail and monochromatic stoicism. This season is laced with an additional focus on duality and cohabitation within the modern world. The opening section of Yamamoto’s collection presents his usual style comprised of heavy looking garments all adorned with graphic elements while the closing portion of the show pulled heavily from military inspirations. The former representing Yamamoto’s vision of luxury while the latter is seen as the working class. The overall effect is one that raises many questions about the world. There are great contrasts in the lives humans now live across the globe but there are factors that still unite us just as within Yamamoto’s designs. Though we are all different we share more than one might expect. Yamamoto executes yet another masterful collection whose subtle commentary does not overshadow his genius as a tailor.
Few designers are able to combine street and fashion like Undercover’s Jun Takahashi. This season, Takahashi turned his all-seeing gaze to the works of Edgar Allan Poe and, once again, Stanley Kubrick. The combination of the two inspirations created a setting upon which Takahashi could create that was unbound by time. Models walked the runway wearing feathered masquerade masks, bowler hats, and technical footwear while carrying laser pointer canes. The sum of the aforementioned time travelling accessories was the perfect compliment to the singularity of the clothing presented. It could be described as a surrealist, at times even psychedelic, vision of Michaelangelo’s wardrobe who was another source of inspiration for the collection. Takahashi attempted to link the iconic artist whose career ended in disgrace to the violent, disturbed protagonist of A Clockwork Orange: Alex DeLarge. Portrayed by Malcolm McDowell, Alex’s likeness coated numerous pieces from the runway which are sure to attract the attention of Takahashi’s loyal cult following. In addition to the dense series of reference materials, Takahashi collaborated with Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli to create several co-branded pieces and cross-reference between the highly contrasting collections.
The ever entrancing work of Demna Gvasalia succeeds once again at enticing his disciples in the Vetements Fall/Winter 2019 runway collection. The Georgian designer demonstrates his eye for virality with his continued use of ironic graphic elements while still remaining composed. He blends influences from his youth with high-level social commentary to bring the past to the now and create an undeniably unique landscape. Amongst the more simple looks, Gvasalia demonstrates his skill as a technical designer through exaggerated tailoring and intriguing silhouettes. The setting for the fashion show is far more bizarre than the collection itself and appears to place the models within a zoo-like enclosure - perhaps a comment on the way in which we observe each other through the internet. The final looks of the show, exhibited models with hood extensions covering their face and their hands while holding cell phones - a somewhat heavy-handed commentary on our obsessions - though this is surely what Gvasalia had hoped for. There seems to be no sign of Gvasalia or Vetements disappearing in the near future.
Jonathan Anderson has never been one to hold back or compromise in his designs; this season is no exception. At a time when the geopolitical sector is more than rocky, Anderson has decided that there is no reason to follow the “rules” of fashion. Pairing mismatched shoes and off-kilter silhouettes with garish colours, Anderson pushes a vision of chaotic distortion. A distortion that he sees as parallel to the world’s state. The London native is surely dreading Brexit and in the meantime he is continuing to meet the expectations of fashion onlookers.
Fashion’s king of darkness Rick Owens has departed from his usual drabbery in place of a decidedly peacockish collection. Titled “Larry” and inspired by the design work of Larry Legasp for bands like KISS, the Fall/Winter 2019 collection harkens back to Owens’ time of self-discovery in his youth. Owens made several visual references to Legasp’s work, most notably the lightning bolt motif of KISS guitarist Ace Frehley’s jumpsuit and also experimented with vibrant colour. “We could use a bit of flamboyance” Owens said of the collection when speaking on the larger implications of the collection. He sees the hypersensitivity of our society as a holdback and shocks the sense through high gloss textures and high saturation colours to bring us back to the liberty we so desperately crave.
COMME DES GARÇONS HOMME PLUS
Rei Kawakubo has brought forth yet another iteration of her ever-evolving avant-garde vision. The Japanese designer presented an intense dark collection that makes reference to punk, glam, and goth rock subcultures. Through impeccable casting and a stark setting, she creates an environment that feels hostile - even alien. The elongated, narrow silhouettes that would appear to constrict flow behind the models and remind us of the craftsmanship at play. It is important to continue evolving in fashion; Ms. Kawakubo understands this better than most.