The fashion denouement of this season’s menswear commenced in Paris today. Tending to depart from the trends set in London, Florence and Milan, there’s always a current of rebellious conformity. Designers presented collections that were referential in their treatment, with a solid focus on the aesthetic created and perpetuated by music and its devotees. Rock gods stood next to teenage heartthrobs—and there was room for both.
Current fashion darlings, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli powered through the origins of rock with their Sixties-and-Seventies non-stop classic hits on Valentino FM. First it was Beatlemania with an homage to mod—slim-fitting suits and skinny ties dominated by camel, black and grey—before an unexpected turn to Woodstock and Willie Nelson with peyote-infused ponchos and tie dye.
Jackets and coats were square in construction with dropped yokes adorned with the brand’s iconic studded embellishment. It was ever-present as ornate decoration on monochrome coats, on the welt of penny loafers or as a subtle detail on the belts of trench coats. Camel wool that appeared dip-dyed in black was a clever trompe l’oeil executed in the weave of the fabric, while a pigeon blood patent leather trench coat was a seasonal must-have. The design duo then substituted the clean-cut for Kerouac, with a parade of loved-up tie dye and Navahorny ponchos that could double on the body or in the back of a pick-up.
A fashion blockbuster with no less than 80 looks, the presentation showed a more subdued range of Autumn-Winter wear than previous seasons. After considerable free rein with more colourful and exploratory collections form Chuiri and Piccioli, perhaps this is a more top-down decision from the Qatari holding company that acquired Valentino last year.
There was a silent elegance about Haider Ackermann’s collection although the fabrication screamed for attention. Black leather, muted metallics and extreme patterning managed to stay understated despite each look comprising three, four and five different textures at any given time. This type of execution isn’t easy to achieve, yet the Ackermann man was always restrained yet ready to party at a moment’s notice.
Olive crushed velvet glistened in trousers and matching coats, while Op-Art Bridget Riley jacquards dominated gilded dinner jackets and tuxedo pants. While muted there was luminance about it all, as if by following one of the Cleopatra-kohled models would lead to an underground club that only played New-Wave synth and served Jack Daniels neat.
Since he announced his departure from Christian Dior, all eyes were on Raf Simons for his first collection post the fashion megalith. Returning to his menswear roots, it was like the first day at high school for Simons.
Oversized collegiate V-neck pullovers, cardigans and puffer jackets gave the impression of models wearing an elder brother’s clothes, perhaps a metaphor for Simons’ tenure at Dior. Hems and necklines were torn and moth-eaten, giving a teen-slasher-flick-meets-grunge vibe to the collection. Looks were layered and proportions adulterated, which managed to never undermine Simons’ understanding of the human form and silhouette. Tempting sloth and leaning towards the trend of comfort dressing, Simons encapsulated teenage angst for an adults-only audience.
Click through the slideshow for highlights of Day 1 of Paris Fashion Week AW16 Collection