Shows presented on Day 4 of Paris Men’s Fashion Week: SS2013
- BILL TORNADE
- MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA
- BERNHARD WILLHELM
- DIOR HOMME
- DAMIR DOMA
- AMI ALEXANDRE MATTIUSSI
Welcome to the jungle. A blast of monkey screech was the first sound you heard on the Kenzosoundtrack; the first sight, a group of parkour acrobats who flipped and rolled from the Maison du Judo’s high balcony here, there, and everywhere through the candy-colored space. “The term jungle is hand in hand with the term Kenzo,” Humberto Leon explained. The original Kenzo Jungle Jap store, opened in Paris in 1970, is a brand touchstone. Going back into the wild—Leon and his partner, Carol Lim, recently made a trek into the jungles of Thailand and Indonesia—was their way of bringing the brand back to itself.
The result felt more fully realized as an entity unto itself—and as a complement to the women’s collection—than the debut show last season. It’s no surprise that Leon and Lim, finely calibrated as they are to the new and the next, touched on the fabrics of the season (cotton canvas, silk) as well as its new shapes (boxy bermuda shorts, wider trousers). Leon merely shrugged that you’d need the breathability they offered hacking your way through the jungle. But the jungle is inspiration, not destination. You wouldn’t wear the abstracted animal prints the duo debuted (tiger stripe, leopard) to attract a big cat. Big game on the city streets, maybe. Between those pants, those prints, the trendy tailoring, and the signature sweatshirts (embroidered tiger-face front, har-har tiger-tail back), there was enough spirited sportswear to do plenty of attracting, which, in turn, should bring Kenzo back into the conversation, and the Jungle Jap spirit to a new generation. You have to imagine that’s just what Kenzo’s owners at LVMH were hoping for. (Review by Matthew Schneier, Style.com)
Kris Van Assche is entering his blue period at Dior. His Spring show was an extended meditation on navy. Following a Fall season of olive—that is to say, army—green, you began to sense a theme.
But if there was a military discipline to the metal buttons that closed blazers, and a naval nod in the striped sweaters whose stripes turned out to be, on closer inspection, ropes, the full collection went beyond mere thematic tricks. Van Assche, in his methodical way, set out to present what he called “a complete wardrobe.”
That’s a heady aspiration, though what was shown had more depth than breadth. Van Assche is skilled at turning an idea over and over, tweaking it: showing a blazer, then shearing its sleeves, then removing its back. Finally, all becomes completely clear, as if by the sheer force of his attention. But the concept became flesh—well, cloth—when Van Assche rendered a few jackets and coats in nylon mesh, the better to show the construction inside (a gesture that recalled his Spring 2012 collection, which he modeled on toiles as an homage to his atelier).
Under the laser of his focus, everything unnecessary falls away. Even the parts in the models’ hair seemed spit shined into submission. If rigor comes at some cost to charm, it’s a bargain you imagine the designer would approve. These are clothes to be worn—or maybe enlisted in. (Review by Matthew Schneier, Style.com)
Inspired by David Lynch’s Wild at Heart, Mihara Yasuhiro got his motor running and headed out on the highway. The snakeskin jacket that outlaw Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) wears in the film provided the key texture in the form of reptile “scales” bonded and melted onto T-shirts, shorts, and chinos. It’s part of Mihara’s genius as a designer that he is so able to transform the most banal piece of clothing with this sort of technical flourish. So one of the strongest outfits in the show was one of the simplest: “snakeskin” chinos paired with a reptile-textured, batik-ed mandala shirt and blue python loafers.
Sailor’s greaser style dictated the look of the models. Mihara took on other contemporary outlaw archetypes—the cowboy, the biker, the juvenile delinquent—for more inspiration in the actual clothes. That red jacket, for instance, could have belonged to James Dean, the original rebel without a cause. And the insignia of a biker club was a running motif across shirts and tees. But where he might once have given the clothes a little wear and tear to heighten the story he was telling, here Mihara allowed a new polish into items like a linen trench with black leather biker detailing, or a baseball-biker jacket hybrid.
Mihara’s shows always have the added benefit of introducing his audience in Paris to some inspiring new example of contemporary Japanese culture. Today’s collaborator was the artist Jun Inoue, who was responsible for the ab-ex combination of graffiti and shodo, traditional Japanese calligraphy, that decorated outfits at the end of the show. He also furiously painted a backdrop that seeped and drizzled as the show went on. Jun customized the finale as well, so when the models made it onto the catwalk, they too were artfully splattered. When he took his bow with Mihara, he was drenched in sweat and paint, a salutary reminder that, as these heat-wave-riven men’s fashion weeks draw to a close, genius is indeed one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. (Review by Tim Blanks, Style.com)
Véronique Nichanian is a weather vane. Her shows are a way to track menswear trends from the margins to the mainstream—by which, we mean the men who have money to spend but don’t want to scare the horses with what they buy. Except, those men have clearly spread their wings. The collection Nichanian showed for Hermès today had a subtle edge, grounded in tech fabrics, and a slim, young feel that mirrored the general appetite for fresh flesh that the season has paraded. Canvas was the foundation fabric, but technical treatments meant it could look smooth and synthetic in a coat or as light and crumpled as linen in a jacket.
Speaking of canvas, Nichanian injected a subtle sailing subtext (perhaps as mindful of next year’s America’s Cup as Kim Jones was at Louis Vuitton the other day) with windbreakers, parkas, and a raincoat in “spinnaker canvas.” And she picked up on the season’s athletic undercurrent with baseball shirts, a suede-front sweatshirt, and T-shirts cut from the most luxurious materials in the company repertoire (chiffon crocodile, anyone?). Not quite throwaway, but this is as casual as croc is ever going to get. Conspicuously absent, however: the overload of shorts we’ve been seeing almost everywhere else.
Her use of color, on the other hand, was right in line. She either popped some hot shades, like an acidic absinthe green, citron, and pimento red, or she ran one cool tone top to toe. Examples of that were the Prussian blue suit and matching coat that opened the show or the midnight blue tux that closed it, with a poplin shirt in matching indigo. That utterly effortless-looking luxury is Nichanian’s own contribution to the current fashion conversation. (Review by Tim Blanks, Style.com)