On day five of Paris Fashion Week Men’s, almost every single facet of menswear has been explored, pored over and reimagined for the spring/summer 2020 season thus far. The second last day of Paris Fashion Week Men's showed how Chitose Abe of Sacai doubled down on her garment alchemy, while Jonathan Anderson of Loewe took on a spiritual escape into childhood. Last but not least, Véronique Nichanian of Hermès demonstrated depth in simplicity.
Often inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places. Like in the case of Sacai’s spring/summer 2020 collection, it was an iconic line from the irreverent cult film, The Big Lebowski: “the rug really tied the room together.” That quote might not seem like much, but to Abe, it was a reflection of her design ethos—taking elements of different garments, and remixing them. Where this collection differed from the rest, is the pieces that she chose to meld together. Instead of contrasting garments, Abe worked with similar items.
Think trousers of similar fabrics but with contrasting fits, fusing both adult and child-sized bomber jackets into one piece, and oversized T-shirts in suiting fabrics, worn over matching tailored suits with chiffon panelling. The collection included a new iteration of her sold-out collaboration, the Nike LDV/Daybreak, as well as another collaboration with Hawaiian shirt maker SUN SURF, featuring prints from surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku.
But perhaps the most intriguing element of fusion, was the decision to showcase the Sacai women’s resort collection together with the men’s. It was her way of showing how similar both worlds are in the Sacai universe. “The theme is more about the two items being merged together, and also being able to appeal to different types of people,” says Abe.
We think the collection was brilliant, with a dose of newness without trying too hard. And extremely covetable too. But in reference to another quote from the The Big Lebowski that made it into the collection: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
In its best moments, fashion, like art, is often a brilliant response to what is happening in the world. And there is no denying that the current state of the world that we live in, isn't great. Which was why for Loewe's spring/summer 2020 men's collection, Jonathan Anderson wanted to celebrate that longing for an escape into a child-like dream state. But the idea was not to turn a blind eye to the truth, but rather to “be aware of what’s going on in the world, but sometimes it’s good to dream.” Anderson added in an interview: “why should people not be in a fantasy-state? Maybe they’ll find something.”
The collection was paradoxical in a good way—pared down yet extremely nuanced. There were hardly much layering of different pieces in one look. What you'd find instead, are easy statement pieces in vivid colours, prints and textures. There was also a feeling of freedom, evident in the languid, billowy kaftans in luxurious suedes and cotton. Even the usually sturdy and stiff dungarees, were crafted out of boiled silk; Anderson's way of celebrating the wonderful drape of the fabric.
The knitwear and accessories were clear standouts, and our favourites were the elongated tank tops that resembled dresses, paired with oversized cardigans, and the debut of the much-teased about leather elephant phone cases.
A child’s dream might be simple and free, but they are no less beautiful than ours. The expertly made products that were sent down the runway, perfectly expressed that notion.
The great ones do the little things well, and there's no denying that Hermès is sitting right at the very top of the luxury sector. For the second season in a row, the Hermès menswear collection was presented at Mobilier National. This time, we got a chance to sit on one of the chairs that were brought out from their archives. Now, what was the correlation between Hermès and these chairs worthy of royalty? It was a reminder that great design doesn’t have to be flashy; pushing the idea of personal luxury. In other words, the spring/summer 2020 men's collection was about finding depth in simplicity.
For Véronique Nichanian, the collection started with the re-examining of the cut of a pair of trousers. For spring/summer 2020, she proposed a wider and softer silhouette. But the shape didn't fully define it—the cherry on top was a beautifully tapped waist with fully adjustable hardware. In an era where there's a constant tension between streetwear and tailored elegance, Nichanian is both student and master. She adopted the functionality of streetwear and a new approach to the styling of bags, with a lot of reversible ready-to-wear pieces and bumbags that were designed to sit better when worn across the body.
But it was her choice of fabrication and ingenious use of colours and light layering, that should put the rest of the industry on notice. Vibrant mint green, pink and mustard were perfectly balanced against more muted khakis, light greys and olive green. Anoraks were transformed into light shirting, while short-sleeved shirts crafted in beautiful suede. The highlight of the collection was definitely the transformation of the house's iconic silk scarfs into soft tailored blazers and shirts.
At Hermès, Nichanian proved that you don't have to radicalise your work to make a statement.
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