This season Paris wasn’t burning, but simmering in standard issue. While London and Milan were hard acts to follow, Paris turned out some simple and beautiful clothes, but nothing that pushed the boundaries as their British and Italian counterparts.
But there is a reservation about French design, or at least in menswear, and given the recent attacks, the city is still in mourning. Even Lanvin failed to impress, which was Lucas Ossendrijver’s tenth anniversary designing for the brand, but it seemed to be more of a revue than brand new.
But it wasn’t all bad news, with some great basics, and phenomenal detailing that you expect from the French.
Each Thom Browne show has its theatricality, and this season had a René Magritte surrealism with its bowler-hat masks and plush puppy dog briefcases. The collection that ensued recalled travelling clothes from early last century; a reworked pastiche of the golden era with an abandoned-at-the-train-station aesthetic apropos Paddington Bear.
Coats were trimmed in a range of embellishments, from shearling on sleeves and hems, to felt appliquéd to give the impression of wear and tear, to furs and embroidered Dachshund motifs. One of the most technically striking pieces was the trio of plaid coats made form fur and ribboning, a very haute couture technique worthy of Chanel. Overall the collection had a sense of longing and tristesse, but still retained the sense of humour and whimsy for which Thom Browne is known.
At any Paul Smith show, one is guaranteed of the two brand signatures: Stripes and explosive colour. Paul Smith’s Fall-Winter collection was everything to be expected, a melange of classic tailoring and swinging Sixties London.
Coats in green and red (and derivatives thereof) were the order of the day, while the silhouette of suits was slim on the hip, but generous in the leg. Modern pinstripes were a highlight, with sparse striping making statement suits.
One of this season’s stand-out colours, pigeon blood was present in several of the looks—in trousers, footwear, knitwear and a striking leather coat.
Since its launch only a matter of years ago, Ami has fast become a Paris Fashion Week must-see as it embodies all that is quintessentially French design.
The collection in particular showed the essence of Ami through relaxed, comfortable fits and quality manufacturing. As with other designers, camel was a strong point, but gunmetal and plum were a fresh counterpoint to winter dressing.
The checkerboard coats had a skater feel about them, as if that Ami man had given up kick flips for power dressing. The bomber jacket was a strong feature while puffer jackets had the designer treatment, with contrast pocketing and luminous fabrication.
Perhaps the most daring piece wasn’t the sparkling silver peacoat, but the baby blue crew neck sweater worn with the matching trousers—something that would garner the wrong kind of attention in the Parisian streets.
Click through the slideshow for highlights of Day 5 of Paris Fashion Week AW16 Collection
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