If you want to be literal about the definition of a 'fashion show', there has to be clothes and some form of showmanship. At the halfway mark of Paris Fashion Week Men's, three luxury fashion houses have displayed a masterclass in both. Louis Vuitton literally shut down an entire block to host Virgil Abloh's spring/summer 2020 collection for the house; Issey Miyake brought us out for a walk in the famed Place des Vosges; and Amiri presented a collection that's worthy of entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
A designer is as good as the resources one has to work with. And when it comes to resources, few are able to match that of the LVMH Group. Case in point: for Louis Vuitton's spring/summer 2020 men's collection, Virgil Abloh turned the entire block of cobbled streets and cafes of Place Dauphine into a runway. It has been a full year since Abloh took over the reins of Louis Vuitton's men's universe, and it seemed like he's finally hit his stride and presented one of his best collections yet.
For the spring/summer 2020 collection, Abloh continued the theme of 'boyhood' that has been evident since his debut collection for Louis Vuitton. In an interview with Vogue, Abloh was quoted as saying: "I decided I’m not shifting gears every season—I saw that as a potential trap before I started. I stand for diversity and the idea that luxury can be something wider in this era. So I’m going to continue down that line, and continue this feeling of the whole freedom of being a child; still learning. I’m changing my pace drastically."
It's a concept that has been a reflection of his work at Louis Vuitton—a constant gardener who is always tweaking, not radicalising his core designs. The spring/summer 2020 collection featured staples like tailoring, the familiar mid-layer harness, streetwear and workwear elements, and 'accessomorphosis'—a melding of garments and leather goods—rendered in summer-ready soft pastels and wild florals.
While the core codes remained, what separated this particular show from the previous one, was Abloh's approach to them, harnessing the full prowess of the Louis Vuitton atelier for a more couture-skewed approach to the finishings. For example: floral embroideries were even more delicate and impressive this season, as seen on a lattice blouson in look 56. The overall silhouette and proportions were also much more considered. The tailoring felt more elevated and visually interesting; one of our favourite looks was a double-breasted jacket worn with asymmetrical trousers.
Where the collection felt freer were in the last few looks where the 'accessomorphosis' harness resembled structures, with multiple bags and a kite strapped onto each. While Abloh is a master of hype, this collection separated itself by going down a different route, where fashion pieces were more than objects of desire, but also sparked curiosity and fun.
Homme Plissé Issey Miyake
For Homme Plissé Issey Miyake's spring/summer 2020, the brand went for a literal approach. Homme Plissé Issey Miyake brought the whole fashion contingent down to Paris' Place des Vosges, a famed square garden to celebrate its 'A walk in the park' theme. How else would you celebrate the ease of putting on a pleated piece from the brand? For those not familiar with the brand, a pair of Homme Plissé Issey Miyake trousers is truly one of the best fashion items that money can buy—light, sturdy, crease-resistant and dries within minutes. It has a ton of stretch in it, yet is able to retain its original form.
The permutations of forms and colours that any Homme Plissé Issey Miyake piece can evolve into, is only limited by the design team's imagination. This season, models wearing the spring/summer 2020 pieces danced, ran, jumped, and somersaulted around the park; it almost seemed like they were trying to push the physical limits of the garments. We're glad to report that the spring/summer 2020 pieces definitely held up.
But more than just the amazing attributes of the collection, the spring/summer 2020 collection also saw the team weaving the pleated fabric into classic menswear staples like coats, parkas, cardigans, and our favourite, a trucker jacket. The new addition of designs such as the checked prints and trendy neon yellows and pinks were refreshing, and had us rethinking our wardrobe for the summer.
If you're not familiar with Amiri, it is time to get acquainted with the L.A.-based label. While both Louis Vuitton and Homme Plissé Issey Miyake put on a great show for their spring/summer 2020 collections, Amiri chose to dress the rockstars of this generation. Designer and founder Mike Amiri started his career dressing Axel Rose at the height of Guns N' Roses' career. But the rockstars and who can be rockstars have changed—they look more like Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and Drake—and while the attitude still remains, it has moved away from the grunge and distressed aesthetic as we knew it to be.
For its spring/summer 2020, it seemed like Amiri is finding that sweet spot; translating the idea of rock 'n' roll and expanding it into other genres. Case in point: this season Amiri sent out a collection that was a luxurious tribute to the bohemian styles of Woodstock. Think more Jimmy Hendrix as opposed to Nirvana. Black was no longer the de rigueur. Instead, the pieces were presented in a much lighter colour scheme—pastel greens, whites, purples and blues. Embroidery, exotic leathers and luxurious suedes were translated into tailored suit jackets with flared trousers, trench coats and blousons. While the outerwear were stunning, our favourite from the collection was the bandana-printed shirts; an instant statement piece that you wouldn't melt in.
Amiri might have mellowed out aesthetically, but it didn't lose the appeal that put it on the map.
Paris Fashion Week Men's SS20 Day 1: Heron Preston, Fumito Ganryu and CMMN SWDN
Paris Fashion Week Men's SS20 Day 2: Off-White, Y/Project, Raf Simons and Undercover
Paris Fashion Week Men’s SS20 Day 4: Berluti and JUUN.J
Paris Fashion Week Men's SS20 Day 4: Dior Men
Paris Fashion Week Men's SS20 Day 5: Sacai, Loewe and Hermès
Paris Fashion Week Men’s SS20 Day 6: dunhill, 1017 ALYX 9SM and CELINE