Paris Day Three: Gardening at Louis Vuitton and Then Meeting at Vetements

The third collection of Virgil Abloh at the helm of Louis Vuitton menswear was a walk in the routine stroll of the Place Dauphine, near the Pont Neuf and a few steps away from the Louis Vuitton headquarters. The square is a beautiful example of a quiet Parisian neighborhood and it was completely closed for the show. The everyday life mood was a replica of the Parisian original with the same cafés (but just for the audience, and all monogrammed) and relaxed feeling. This is Abloh’s metaphor: a wish for everybody to disconnect for a while, keep their chins up from their mobile phone screens, look to real life, slow down and smell the roses. 

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

The flowers, indeed, were the starting point of the collection and the concept was disseminated through different methods of adornment. Not just in the prints of different coloured blooms, the gardening itself completed the mood. This sense of freedom pervaded the collection from the silhouettes, soft and deconstructed, to the pastel palette rooted in the colours of gardens: from jessamine yellow to sage and moss green, forget-me-not and stormy blue, grey, dark pink, orange, black and white. The flowers themselves appeared on the clothes both in form of prints on silk and plastic or as beautiful embroideries that, from far away, looked like paint drips and stains but closer revealed exquisite handmade works. It seems that Abloh is tuning in to the house’s luxury codes as the collection looked more sophisticated than the previous ones, even if there are still some elemental parts (the last looks with models wearing architectural shapes crafted from various bags and real flowers decorations) that should be avoided in order to create a more mature feeling for the collection. This time it didn’t need any styling tricks.

Rochas Spring/Summer 2020 menswear presentation in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of PR.

In the morning, Italian designer Federico Curradi presented his second collection at Rochas where he stressed the concept of a man that has an artistic vision, let’s call him a Parisian flaneur that roams around the streets of his city enjoying all the beauty that surrounds him. The freedom of his lifestyle is reflected in the wardrobe: easy, soft and deconstructed, inspired by the comfort of the sportswear without being too sporty. All the essential pieces of the masculine look were in the collection, but there was also a light and refined femininity that makes Curradi’s work so special.

Homme Plissé Issey Miyake Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

The collaboration between Japanese designer Issey Miyake and American choreographer and dancer Daniel Ezralow continues in the aim of decoding more and more the Homme Plissé Issey Miyake DNA through the performance. The title was “Breathe,” and the open-air location was another clue. Homme Plissé has been created to free the men from their rigid attire and give them a deconstructed but beautiful look. This time, the action was like a walk in the park where the models, dancing, expressed themselves through classic free time activities. The collection was made with the traditional instant classics of the men’s wardrobe but with a pleated twist. The formula looked a bit outdated, but the overall result is good for these kinds of garments and gives back much more emotion than the Issey Miyake Homme shows.

Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Rick Owens went back to his Mexican roots (he was raised in California by an Anglo father and native Mexican mother) to give also a political message against the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. In this collection Owens, did different collaborations. The first one is with the United Farm Workers Association that allowed the designer to use their logo for t-shirts and overshirts that will be sold on the brand’s online store, and the proceeds will keep helping the workers. Other collaborations were with the artist Thomas Houseago (who created the sculpture in the fountain of Palais de Tokyo), Veja (the most environmentally friendly sneaker brand), and Champions (the sport brand here turned into togas, loincloths, and briefs). The collection, powerful as usual, showed the sharp-shoulder tailored silhouette covered with bright sequins, finely cut blazers with spiky shoulders and worn on jumpsuits or full zipped high waisted cargo pants. Owens masterly delivered a show full of glam, but if observed at its full depth, it was also a show with beautiful and exciting products.

Yohji Yamamoto Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

The relaxed silhouette is one of the signature signs of the Japanese designer of Yohji Yamamoto and so is the black palette that often pervades the majority of his looks. Just a few of the designs interrupted the dark parade on display during the show. The workwear left the rigidity of its functional protection to become soft, then evolved in a slouchy beautiful tailoring with images of women that remolded the Japanese imagery of ghosts through pale skin and solemn facial expressions. The colourful three outfit break, (still marking the rebellious soul of the designer with one t-shirt emblazoned with the words “mother f***”) led into the second part where velvet details bore heraldic emblems in micro and macro size.  

VETEMENTS Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

The direct line between Vetements’ designer Demna Gvasalia and his audience was also clear in today’s show. The environment of the location looked like a teenager’s Saturday afternoon: the invitation was a condom and the location the McDonald’s restaurant on the Champs-Élysées. The crowd outside was packed with 15-year-old girls and boys, but the entrance was locked down. The show was harsh with a beating electronic music and models walking fast and pissed off. As always, Gvasalia went beyond a seasonal collection delivering messages through different stereotypes of human beings: policemen, global mind fuck, rave suits, and fashion forever and more. The signature deformed silhouettes came in the form of bulging uniforms, elongated suits, and extended dresses and t-shirts. The language is always the same and so is the style of clothes, but the irreverent energy that the Vetements’ show exploded is still unique and engaging, revealing the secret of success of the brand. At least as long as there will be an audience for this aesthetic. It’s like fast food: in the beginning is addictingly tasty, then it sickens.