Big names and established houses were Paris Fashion Week’s Day-Four hosts, but it wasn’t particularly memorable, alas.
Playing it safe and phoning it in seemed to be the order of the day, no matter the extremes. Anyone familiar with Parisian street style would understand that the real peacocks are the imports—the fashion cognoscenti there to show off, and perhaps this was the French equivalent of rebellion through conformity.
But that’s not to say it’s bad fashion, just something we’ve seen before.
Of all the Slimane successors, Kris Van Assche was the most worthy, and each season it bears repeating. The revised Dior Homme brand values are ever present; almost as if Hedi is there whispering in the wings. But Van Assche gives it his own touch with his design savoir-faire honed in Antwerp.
A black-and-red theme dominated the staging, which also comprised the collection. Rich burgundy was the statement colour for coats, knitwear, gloves and accessories, which shouldered its way for attention through each look. Cuts were customary slim with high-drop waists and narrow arm holes, which are not only Dior, but the quintessence of French.
Trousers alternated between wide-legged and narrow cut shy of the ankle and varied in texture and fabric. While this season lacked the spectacle of last (How can you beat a single-row-seated orchestra runway?!), it was an old-faithful presentation of elegant, well-made menswear.
Hot off the heels of the most successful H&M collection ever, Olivier Rousteing served a self-referential collection of Balmain proportions.
All the brand hallmarks were there: quilting—in motorcycle boots and cummerbunds, military detail—in brass buttons on double-breasted reefer jackets and overcoats, Eighties shoulder construction—across the board; but it all seemed a parody of itself.
Sometimes collaborations can do an obscure brand wonders, but for brands rescued from obscurity, it’s hit and miss. While the fabrication is surely exceptional, this collection seemed a little off key.
Jackets with sophisticated construction started on a high note from the shoulders but ended sourly at the hem, collars appeared off-centre and teal satin trousers had hurried finishing through the waistband and on the fly.
Fashion moves quickly, but this collection seemed rushed—even the normally Photoshopped-beyond-perfection runway images were an afterthought. Sure the brand’s devotees’ hunger will be sated, but some people will consume anything no matter the taste.
The lure of Hermès is knowing it’s Hermès. No need for labels or embellishment, the fabrication speaks for itself.
While we will never see the left of fashion at the French house – it would never take with their older, more conservative clientele – we can always expect to see interpretations of its extreme right. While a parka might appear a parka and a knit a knit, there’s no telling how it’s given its Hermès-ness through its manufacture.
While basic, leather jackets and coats conveyed their tactility by sight, and blazers had a Japanese-style utilitarian aesthetic with petits-mains finishing. Sure Hermès won’t start any ready-to-wear design trends soon, but its homage to classics suggests the permanency of the almost 180-year-old fashion brand.
Click through the slideshow for highlights of Day 4 of Paris Fashion Week AW16 Collection
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