Paris Fashion Week: Menswear Illuminates the City of Light
The weekend provided no respite for Paris’ frenetic menswear shows, attracting huge crowds and celebrities Saturday to top collections across the City of Light including Hermes, Kenzo and Dior Homme.
Here are some key moments and tidbits from the runway:
Rising Stars Kendrick Lamar and Karlie Kloss Attend First Show
Along with Jay Z and Macklemore, he’s among the hottest property in American music right now, nominated for seven awards at next week’s Grammy’s in Los Angeles.
But platinum-selling Kendrick Lamar had never attended a runway collection before today’s Dior Homme display.
"I came out here just for today. I loved the show. It’s my first time at a fashion show and it’s a great experience," he told The Associated Press after the menswear fall-winter show, wearing a Dior Homme oatmeal cashmere and wool bomber.
Another rising star to attend her first show was 21-year-old top model Karlie Kloss, who looked radiant in a simple, white sleeveless dress.
Though the former ballerina has trodden her share of catwalks, surprisingly enough, this was the first collection she’d actually sat down to watch.
Kloss’ front row invitation by Dior - and seat next to Will Smith - is a clearly a sign of growing fame and perceived promotion from catwalk to the more prestigious "magazine model" realm, occupied by superstars such as Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen, who only rarely tread the boards.
Devil’s in the Detail at Dior
For Dior Homme, the devil was in the detail.
Designer Kris Van Assche worked subtle magic into the house’s bread-and-butter fitted suit.
Gray pinstripes were made to look slightly off-kilter, sporting lapels whose stripes were exactly parallel (not diagonal) to those on the jacket - a feat of fastidious production. One jacket sported different vertical segments of material, thinning out the silhouette of the model in a magic eye style.
Polka-dotted black Oxford shoes, meanwhile, gave the city-slicker an injection of zaniness, (along with blue jeans) and reappeared almost contagiously as white spots on several suits, ties and shirts to great effect.
Instead of limiting him, the strict Dior codes seemed to propel Van Assche: He produced a tighter, more subtle, thus more powerful statement.
Workwear and Dark Layers
Boy You Turn (My Wardrobe) Inside-Out
Kenzo’s ambitious cityscape decor, which featured a corrugated iron rooftop, clearly inspired their show.
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon used the codes of a steel worker’s uniform: A button down gray shirt with lapels and safety boots and reimagined the tops in beautiful browns and bright yellow and the footwear as platforms with white straps.
Spanner, nails and nuts cropped up as prints on sweaters.
But the show’s greatest strength lay in its creative inside-out wardrobe. Boxy sweaters featured the bottom part of a brown suit peeping out beneath. And in a great touch, suit cuffs protruded out like elongated wrist bands.
As ever, color-masters Lim and Leon offered up a masculine tonal rainbow palette in the final set of sweaters.
Sacai - one of Japan’s biggest selling brands - also produced an inside-out collection.
Inner seams appeared on the outside, normally unseen zigzag stitching became a decorative motif and inner leg lining appeared on top of pants as shorts.
Hermes’ Dark Layers
"Metamorphosis beneath the surface," said the program notes of Veronique Nichanian’s menswear collection for fashion powerhouse Hermes.
If the quote sounds slightly tenebrous, it translated as such in the 44 looks- with signature luxuriance - into dark tones and layers of fabrics and leathers that often shimmered as they moved.
Enviable sport lambskin, nubuck calfskin, shorn mink combined with hydro-rubberized lambskin often in silky black.
Was it to evoke the sticky texture of a metamorphosing cocoon?
Thought the show took no great risks (robust Hermes follows an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it formula) it brimmed with many highly saleable coats that cut a classy silhouette.
Nichanian knows how to dress men.