With six days packed full of brands big and small, Paris Fashion Week Men's started off strong for the spring/summer 2022 show season. The first day was a completely digital affair as scheduled brands opted for digital presentations.
Wales Bonner and Lanvin specifically, unveiled their spring/summer 2022 collections via short films that both featured beach-like settings as seen through nostalgic lenses. The beach for spring/summer? Anything but original. Yet at the same time, somewhat needed as we're—for the most part—closed off from other countries.
There's always a sense of nostalgia when it comes to Grace Wales Bonner's designs for her namesake label. And they're even more poignant when one realises that her raison d'être is to celebrate and tell the stories of the African diaspora—stories that may have been long forgotten if not researched and revived by Grace herself.
For spring/summer 2022, the British fashion designer took reference from '70s West African studio portraitures. While the era has been constantly apparent in the brand's aesthetics, this time around, they're pushed towards a different narrative as inspired by the works of photographers Malick Sidibé and Sanlé Sory. The idea was that, just like the Sidibé and Sory's photos, the collection represented a sense of freedom and individuality with hints of optimism.
Look and feel: True with every collection, Wales Bonner spring/summer 2022 had such a strong cultural viewpoint. Grace is adept at making '70s-inspired fashion feel contemporary but at the same time, you'd be able to picture them looking completely right at home back in the day.
Wales Bonner's shirting continued to be a strong representation of the brand—light fabrications with contrasting trims and patterns, as well as prints that were nods to African culture. At the same time, they're juxtaposed with sporty separates in the form of track jackets and sweatpants as well as off-beat tailoring.
Favourite looks: Look 2's easy-breezy look that consisted of a black shirt trimmed in crisp, gold stand collar and exaggerated cuffs, paired with flared track pants (a part of a continued collaboration with adidas) is one we can envision wearing on the weekends. And if you need any more convincing that short shorts are bound to be a trend for spring/summer 2022, look 12's brilliant coordinated option with a V-neck jumper adorned with stripes is one we'd definitely consider as a way to get in on the trend.
Favourite accessories: It's difficult to not notice the impending adidas collaboration that will greet us for spring/summer 2022. Look 5's vintage-looking sneaker option is one that instantly caught our eyes, as well as the final look's sneaker that's tied together with checkered laces.
Creative director Bruno Sialelli seemed to have found his rhythm at Lanvin. The autumn/winter 2021 collection's music video presentation—Sialelli quite literally remade 'Rich Girl' by Gwen Stefani featuring Eve—informed that of spring/summer 2022's. The yearn for an escape was captured in a The Beach-inspired cinematography that was complete with the era-defining soundtrack by British band All Saints.
And if you think that Sialelli's extent of the inspiration ended with just the visuals and music, you'd be mistaken. The Beach's coming-of-age narrative was translated into a somewhat sexually tinged 'music video'. But even more than that, the nostalgic elements extended into a spring/summer 2022 collection that recalled the height of glamour-ridden travels of the '70s.
Look and feel: Compared to when Sialelli first started out at Lanvin—he came from the menswear division of Loewe—the spring/summer 2022 collection felt more confident, without any post-Loewe drippings. There was a healthy selection of tailoring and more casual pieces as well as indisputably fashion-skewed pieces in the mix. It's a collection that's wearable enough for the conventional customer but with sufficient edge for the more adventurous.
Sialelli reinvented Lanvin's JL monogram that turned out somewhat Art Deco-esque. It's translated onto the more hybrid and technical pieces of the collection, as well as on a slew of accessories and bags. It looks like Lanvin will be planning for the reworked monogram to be part of future collections, and we could see it become part of a new identifiable signature.
Favourite looks: We're diving straight into look 32 with it's almost head-to-toe JL monogram fit that consisted of a gilet worn with matching trousers and topped with a scarf-hoodie-bib situation. It's quirky (reminds us of something that the late and great Alber Elbaz would have done for the brand) but also a look that could easily be pared down should the one feel like it. Conversely, the simplicity of look 39's offering of candy-coloured suiting—in different fabrications and treatments—would be pieces we'd lean into as well.
Favourite accessories: Still at look 39, those embellished and slightly platformed slippers would make for the perfect statement footwear of the season. They look to be available in a myriad of colours; no matter which you'd end up choosing, there's little doubt that they'll be getting you some attention.