Paris arrives at the end of the men’s fashion calendar, and just because it’s Paris it is considered more creative, subtle and cool than merchy Milan, kooky London and everywhere else. The city also has a fervent rooting section. The same crotchety crowd that counts every faux pas in Milan becomes ecstatic in Paris. They cheer even when the show is late, the idea questionable, or the collection repetitive.
The result of this boost is that designers here take more risks, stick to their guns and act like divas all to the delight of an audience suffering from boredom, lack of focus and fear of missing the next big thing; problems only shock and awe can remedy.
Let’s take a look at two brilliant, diametrically opposed designers, each with extraordinary design liberté, who presented thier spring/summer 2015 collections within hours of each other on the first day of the Paris men’s shows: Christophe Lemaire and Walter Van Beirendonck.
Christophe Lemaire stands out because he does not change, at least not in any overt way. the four patch pocket jacket with matching pants that opened his show was pure, French zen.
Lemaire’s balloon pants cuffed tightly at the ankle were actually quite challenging, but due to ideal proportion, impeccable fabrics and restrained color, they looked effortless.
The short sleeve shirt jacket suit in the collection’s one print, a shadowy beige check cotton, was as easy as pajamas, but could legitimately be worn beyond bed, on the street, or at the beach.
There was a beige, peak lapel double-breasted suit in gabardine cool wool that hinted at the thirties but came off thoroughly modern with white sneakers.
And even a long tunic shirt in poplin with parka in cotton/linen twill escaped the folkwear trap.
Walter Van Beirendonck was equally good; a chameleon with an unmistakable signature. He’s continually injecting new ideas, but they’re entirely him. The more he changes, the more recognizable his style becomes. This season’s “Whambam” line up was bold, celebratory and eccentric.
Ornate, animal kingdom brocades for jackets, patchwork kimono coats, wide, canvas judo trousers and screen sunglasses spiked at the bottom to mimic a cannibal bone through the nose were rare fashion moments. RV