PARIS (AFP): Menswear is where the party is happening in fashion at the moment, and the latest Paris Fashion Week was one of the most flamboyant ever.
As labels see unprecedented growth in the men’s sector, labels were keen to splash out on attention-grabbing events in the week that ended Sunday.
It was also a season of sunny colours and plenty of skin on show, balanced by the continued influence of military styles.
– After parties for all –
Pharrell Williams set the tone on opening night with his debut show for Louis Vuitton, laying the oldest bridge in Paris in golden carpet and turning it into a celeb-stuffed open-air club.
His new song “JOY (Unspeakable)”, sung by a huge gospel choir, soundtracked the catwalk show before he invited the crowd to stay for a performance by rap superstar Jay-Z.
Inevitably, the fashionistas were more interested in recording their presence for Instagram than dancing, even after Jay-Z begged them to put their phones away for at least one song, but it was a spectacular night that showcased the blurring lines between fashion, music and other branches of culture.
It was not the only party this week.
Nigo took over another bridge for Japanese label Kenzo and then brought everyone to a party on the roof of the Quai Branly Museum.
French label Ami had actor Vincent Cassel on the catwalk and then held a garden party where everyone could join him on the dance floor.
Guests for young star Marine Serre’s show were told they had a ticket to a catwalk show and a disco in one: “Fifteen minutes for a show is way too short,” said the designer.
Some preferred to keep things more traditional, with Dior designer Kim Jones telling AFP that his austere show had “a simple message: it’s all about the clothes.”
– Sunny colours –
Technically, these were the autumn-winter collections, but the fashion business moves too fast these days, so many of the styles were beach-ready.
Hermes made short shorts a signature look and went away from its usual palette with breezy “mineral” colours.
Williams’s show for Louis Vuitton was all about bright yellows and sunsets in keeping with his “Happy” vibes.
There were bright yellow bags at Loewe, and a range of sunny items — parkas, jackets and gilets — at Givenchy.
Issey Miyake was full of seaside pastels and shades of orange, while Dior went with lemon and lime shirts and bright colourful hats in homage to the founder’s love of gardening.
– Nudity –
Plunging necklines, short-shorts and bottoms peeking out — it was a menswear week with plenty of skin on show.
Tiny shorts were the signature look at the Hermes show Saturday. “Guys have nice legs too,” creative director Veronique Nichanian told AFP.
Things were particularly spicy at young French label Egonlab: they had suit jackets with a square neckline revealing the whole chest and very low waist trousers that offered a shot of the bottom.
Hotly tipped newcomer Burc Akyol took the craze for transparent outfits closer to full nudity, and showed off plenty of leg himself in his signature high-slitted baggy trousers.
“I’ve always found that people who hide the body in their design are in body denial,” he told AFP.
– Military –
Contrasting with those styles were many military-inspired outfits.
“It’s a natural direction to go for men’s tailoring as military tailoring is so well thought-out and fits so well and has this idea of strength and elegance within it,” said Givenchy designer Matthew Williams.
Marine Serre made her logo into a camouflage effect on her denim.
Sacai achieved a similar effect with green vegetal motifs, and putting its male and female models in chunky shoes.
At Louis Vuitton, Williams nicknamed one of his styles “damoflage” — a military-style and pixelated version of the label’s famous Damier motif.