On the last day of Paris Fashion Week Men's for the spring/summer 2020 season it was all about dunhill, 1017 ALYX 9SM and Hedi Slimane's CELINE. While it is too early to say that dandyism is back, it seemed like tailoring will be making a bigger impact in menswear in the coming year. Without further ado, let's get into it.
For dunhill's spring/summer 2020 collection, creative director Mark Weston based the collection on the investigation of the intersection of different cultures. More specifically, how Japanese design has influenced the way the Brits approach casual dressing. With that in mind, he took the two pillars of dunhill—tailoring and leather—and melded them together to materialise his vision for spring/summer 2020.
"Classicism distorted became a defining theme for me this season. I wanted elegance and austerity disrupted by sensuality and provocation, with a feeling of fluidity and ease running through it all. At the same time, rigour is all important; in tailoring particularly, nothing should just be for the sake of it," says Weston. "Proportion, fabrication, construction and consideration have to be at such a high level for dunhill."
Think of it as an elevation of tailoring paired brilliantly with leather in unexpected ways. The silhouette was generous and relaxed, but yet still retained the shoulder line as well as the focus on the waist—both hallmarks of traditional tailoring. Double-breasted jackets were infused with the spirit of the kimono—enlarged, and wrapped around the waist—before being fastened to the right hip. The single-breasted versions were cut slouchier before being fastened at the waist, evoking the feeling of a robe. Leathers were transformed into shorts, and sometimes used as a layering piece worn over another pair over trousers as well as turned into a series of ponchos using quilted leather.
The reference to Japanese design came full circle with a collaboration with Japanese artist Kenta Cobayashi—known for his work that distorts and glitches—who reinterpreted dunhill’s Jermyn Street boutique as well as the house's logo as prints used in the collection.
While the reference to the time in Britain's fashion history is clear, Weston had a bigger goal in mind for the dunhill spring/summer 2020 collection. He adds that the collection "is not a pastiche; rather it is about how those cultures collide again, but on a global scale, today."
1017 ALYX 9SM
When you think of Alyx, a few things come to mind—technical wear, the chest rig, and the signature that put him on the map, the rollercoaster buckle. As a budding luxury fashion business, to already have signatures pieces that people consistently refer to, is an amazing feat. But like any good business model, the goal is scaling. And spring/summer 2020 is the season where we saw Alyx turn that corner by not only diversifying his product categories, but doing it well.
It started with tailoring. In an interview with Vogue, he said, "Tailoring is a really difficult thing to do as a young brand. Some of the construction we’re attempting to do is trying to find our own language. I think it’s a nice challenge to define what that is for us."
The series of suits that were sent down the runway, in brown, grey, purple and black were not second-rate. They were expertly tailored silhouettes with elongated panels added to the skirt of the jacket to present a new dimension. But as always, even at the collection's most tailored moments, there were hints of utilitarian functionality in them, with hammer hardware as well as zipped details. The tailored streak continued in the more tech-wear pieces, where Williams took a more streamlined approach.
The collection also featured a wide range of bags, jewellery, footwear that featured detachable Vibram soles on sneakers as well as a new sneaker collaboration with Nike. But the highlights of the collection were often not the most obvious. Take for example the leather pieces that were made in collaboration with ECCO Leather’s DriTan technology: the dye was injected into the leather via liquified carbon dioxide, using next to no water during the dyeing process. Cotton poplin was treated with resin to give it the look and feel of technical fabric, but lighter, more breathable and much more suited for the summer heat. Our favourite, was a collaboration with Mackintosh that resulted in a translucent rubberised cotton embossed with croc, that was turned into coats and trousers.
While Alyx is growing up, it never felt forced. But rather, an organic progression. This is one label to watch out for.
Hedi Slimane's tenure at CELINE is already defined by two things: putting on a great show, and impeccable tailoring. The CELINE spring/summer 2020 men's show was no different. It was one that started with him sending down a big, red curtained cube down the runway, before unveiling a model with a slim, diamante three-piece suit, sitting on a throne made of flashing light bulbs.
The collection was trademark Slimane—beautiful tailoring, teddy jackets and desirable outerwear—all done with strong references to '70s glam rock and roll. Slimane roped in fellow '70s enthusiast, artist David Kramer, as a guest collaborator for the spring/summer 2020 men's collection. The common thread of a subversive take on the rebellious attitude, had Slimane translating Kramer's signature self-deprecating slogans such as 'I Have Nostalgia For Things I Probably Have Never Known' and 'My Own Worst Enemy' onto bags and T-shirts.
But for his third menswear collection for the house, he was looking to dress the CELINE man in all facets of his life, and specifically for spring/summer 2020, took aim at casual wear. No, there were no sneakers, track pants and hoodies sent down the runway but, rather, unbuttoned double-breasted jackets, lightweight shirts, denim pieces and high-waisted flared trousers. The idea that Slimane was trying to convey was more metaphorical: a casual attitude to dressing, rather than a literal one.
On that account, Slimane has delivered on both fronts. And it is worth noting that the soundtrack of the show, 'Name Escape' provided by the art-rock band Bodega, was probably the best for this edition of Paris Fashion Week Men's. But the reason why Slimane catches a lot of flak, is that the clothes and the showmanship are fully analogue concepts that are hard to experience fully, unless done in real life. For example, a concert or an art exhibition is best experienced live and not seen through a screen. When you're at one of his shows, only then will you understand the mystic and power of Slimane's showmanship.
But unlike the slew of characters that Bodega frontman Ben Hozie sings about in the soundtrack—people whose names escape him—Slimane's will not. That is how iconic and fiercely he sticks to his guns; Slimane will always do Slimane. And in an era where it is slowly shifting to more conceptual clothing, it is nice to see someone working on his craft and perfecting it.
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