The power of today's communication and branding are tools that big Maisons like Louis Vuitton have mastered and the hype around the acclaimed monogram boosted by name of the designer, Virgil Abloh from Off-White, affected their men's line. Since Abloh started his master plan and developed the company’s sampling, he has turned the brand into a phenomenon that even LVMH can hardly control: entering the location was an obsequious moment, now it became a celebrity driven family and friend moment. But if the injection of youth in an almost 170-year old-brand could be positive for its energy, the lack of depth could result in turning the dream in a nightmare in a jiff. Kids get the message faster, but they also get excited easily for other things.The hype itself around the atmosphere made everything look cool, although it lacked a wow factors. Abloh defined surrealist (the venue was heavily Magritte-inspired as the set included a blue clouded sky wall and magnified tailors tools sculptures) the streetwear as it imitated formalwear. Abloh didn't merge the two styles, but he heavily went into tailoring as a symbol of a convention to be renewed. But the risk of being too normal is to become quite generic, despite the 'cool factor'. All of the coats, suits and jacket were perfectly tailored but they lacked in design. To find the right formula and convince new generations to embrace the "old" jacket and tie uniform is the biggest challenge of today's industry and Abloh could truly be one of the designers that could find the right language to make young kids understand. The second part of the show pushed more a reshuffling of the 'office uniforms', by sampling the shirts with strong patchworks and adding ruffles on jackets and coats (it looked a bit Comme Des Garçons). The show ended with a parade of blue clouded outfits that resembled a Magritte painting (but also Franco Moschino's work in the 80s and 90s).
At Rick Owens, the concept of art performance became the starting point for an analysis on his social and moral behaviour. This art form was expressed through his instinct and body, and was helpful to rethink his conduct that so far had been so diligently improved following the social stereotypes. It was after all a performance and he finally understood that the difference between spontaneity and acting is indeed hypocrisy. The designer considered the possibility to merge the two in order to get the best results, which translated into clothing. The layers and exaggerated shapes made everything spectacular. The silhouettes were contrastant: bulky with gigantic shoulders and spindly with very tight knitwear over translucent hooded vinyl coats. Owens was also inspired by graphics and the designs that Kansai Yamamoto produced in the seventies for David Bowie: the iconic striped balloon jumpsuit and the one-legged body leotard. The American designer knows how to make sharp and wearable tailoring and high clubbing platforms boots co-exist in order to create the hype of a kinky shows to talk about real clothes.
A romantic night owl artist is the main
inspiration behind Rochas's collection by Federico Curradi, who debuted on the
catwalk for the first time after two seasons of still presentations. The
mood was extremely relaxed and the Italian designer delivered a sophisticated
wardrobe for day and night. The inspiration was a friend artist who lives his
life completely upside down and the cathartic way he faces life gets
reflected in his style. Here, jackets, knitwear, coats and big boots define a
precious and laid back silhouette halfway between the poet maudit and the
gentleman. The marked shoulders with the fluidity of the construction were the
distinctive point of the whole collection. The overlook was gentle and elegant
but, considering the artistic approach the designer had, the collection needed
to be more alive and distressed.
Earlier today, Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy told another romantic man. "I was inspired by the exhibition i saw here in Paris at Musee des Art Decoratif "Modern Maharaja, a patron of the arts in the 30s", just ended" explained the designer backstage after the show. "It was about Yashwant Rao Holkar II, the Maharaja of Indore and his noble aesthetic. He was a wayfarer so he was an accurate customizer of his eastern wardrobe with western traditions". It was a style journey around the world, through the location where he travelled and presented in the cosy salons of their parisians headquarters. Sharp tailoring, formalwear and leisurewear were embellished with precious jewelry used as decoration or fastening which well hybridize the whole looks with a strong western imprinting for a sophisticated collection, pervaded by her strong British touch.
Daniel Ezralow's show concept and direction, the music selection and the performance, alongside the Homme Plissé collection, threw me back to the mid-nineties Japanese hard-boiled movies and anime like "Cowboy Bebop". Spike Spiegel, the protagonist, would have looked great with the printed overcoat or the trench with wide pleated shoulders from 132.5 lines still from the Miyake Design Studio. The only difference was the very joyful mood, a change compared to the dark look of the series. This could well be the brand succeeding in changing men's aesthetic thanks to the unique style launched by Issey-san, but the actual result is very nostalgic. If they pushed their research in fabrics and shapes in the right direction, it could turn out to be groundbreaking.
Dries Van Noten explored the glam in the club scene with an imaginary trip from the late Seventies of Studio 54 in New York to today's Berghain, the techno temple in Berlin. All the aesthetic extravaganzas were there: faux fur stoles, animal and flower prints, velvet trousers, ruffled shirts, leather pants, studs detail and boots both bikers and platforms. The Belgian designer is not new to playful shows where he translates a mainstream theme with his vision. It's easy to commit a faux pas and be too nostalgic, but Van Noten's talent gave him the tools to always look innovative and sophisticated. The range of characters he describes spanned from the pretty boy with a classic checked coat, a bijou broche and wedge heeled boots, to the raver with a chunky wool sweater, silk boxers, bare legs and biker boots. Never too excessive but never boring.