Following on from part one, here’s the second part of our guide to the need-to-know trends and must-buy pieces from the recent men’s spring/summer 2015 shows in Paris.
STRUCTURE, VOLUME AND FORM
This season marked the first men’s collection by Jonathan Anderson for Loewe. Deftly revitalising the Spanish brand with his own androgynous take on a ‘shared wardrobe’, classic staples such as shirts and jeans (boldly styled with a contrast turn-up white hem) were cut wide and free to suit both sexes, while fashion-forward pieces such as moto jackets and trench coats were reinterpreted in unbelievably soft and, at times, paper-thin, nappa or nubuck. Lasting impression? The exciting rebirth of a brand brought about by new house icons: magnified Loewe motifs appliquéd on totes and blankets, traditional tassels on bags replaced with statement leather knots and a new X-cross branded across luggage.
In keeping with the trend for volume and form, Korean brand Songzio, inspired by the configuration and shape of wood, sent out boxy shirts with large collar details and wide-pleated shorts anchored by leather gladiator-strap sandals (another recurring trend this season). An impressive and artful outing made even more commendable by the fine finishing on garments.
Yet, the pièce de résistance was Cifonelli’s inaugural ready-to-wear collection unveiled in the exclusive environs of the bespoke tailor’s rue Marbeuf atelier. In front of a select crowd of no more than 60 editors and buyers, 16 fully handcrafted looks were unveiled with the trademark ‘inimitable’ roped shoulder on blazers and jackets; it was structure and form in its finest incarnation, born out of graceful lines and impeccable craftsmanship. John Vizzone, head of style for Cifonelli and former senior vice-president of Ralph Lauren’s Purple and Black labels, drew inspiration from the tailor’s Italian roots to reveal svelte three-piece suits evocative of the cool grey in Portofino stones, while sportswear pieces by way of ice-white blazers and bright-blue trousers were reminiscent of a weekend escape to Capri. One to watch.
Three words: stripes, scribbles and script. Kris Van Assche paraded his most colourful and diverse collection to date for Dior Homme, sending out models in bold-stripe tops (layered under navy mohair suits and bright-yellow slickers for a subtle nautical theme), pullovers and denim jackets emblazoned with multi-coloured ‘scribbles’ (for want of a better term, but not for want of a better kinetic effect); and, poetically, shirts and suits embellished with prose handwritten by Christian Dior himself. (Pulled from an old archived letter that reads ‘In troubled times like ours, we must maintain traditions, which are our luxury and the flower of our civilisation’.) Clearly, it was Van Assche painting from a different palette; a signal that, maybe, the designer is beginning to infuse the masculine house of Dior with more of his own personal aesthetic (think: boyish, buoyant and bright looks from his eponymous label characterised by trousers and shorts slit at the knees).
Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy is a master of turning sportswear staples into covetable creations and this season proved to be no exception. But instead of animal motifs (remember the growling Rottweiler and then last season’s Bambi?) Tisci opted for broad stripes slathered in parallel lines across the chest on elongated polos, stripe accents on the pockets of hooded windbreakers, and as a large ‘X’ on the body of button-down collar shirts. However, it was his floral print — an inkblot-like explosion of Gypsophila flower across bombers, coats and parkas — that stole the show. It was still resolutely masculine and military, but made even more graphic with the restricted palette of blacks and whites.
Seasonal splurge: That black knee-length Macintosh from Givenchy intricately embroidered with white Gypsophila flower-inspired appliqué.
Investment piece: The double-breasted navy mohair suit that opened Dior Homme.
Sometimes, and only sometimes, more is more. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s new collection for Valentino started with classic polos and clean tailored trousers and trenches (simplicity belying fully hand-worked couture construction) but was quickly followed by an ‘all-in’ fusion of embroidered butterfly camouflage jackets, contrast floral prints in burgundy and camel on bermudas and coats, and a panoply of wild beasts strewn across silk suits and luxe pyjama bottoms. The kitchen sink has never looked so colourful.
Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent followed suit, ending Paris men’s fashion week with a full-blown party. Synchronised to the heady tune of ‘Bright blue day haze’ by the Mystic Braves, elaborate lights morphed and twisted in the background as waif-like rockers paraded Slimane’s vision of ‘Psych Rock’s New Rising’: patchwork ponchos lined with metallic thread paired with billowing scarves, bombers covered in exploding metallic stars worn with snakeskin boots, and a velvet blazer with floral embroidery topped with a wide-brimmed hat and anchored with pink metallic kicks. And every exit tied together with a pair of ridiculously skinny black jeans. Saturated with attitude, it was an exegesis on fashion — it’s not what you wear; it’s how you wear it.
Seasonal splurge: That rope-embroidered blouson from Saint Laurent.
Investment piece: The red-and-grey check suit from Valentino made from ‘non-crease’ wool and featuring, wait for it… camouflage lining.
To read part one of our Paris menswear report, click here.