Gritty and groovy at Paris Menswear on Sunday
We know this was a purely digital menswear season in Paris, but it was nice to see a designer attempt to put on something close to a show.
In effect, the digital "show" of Sunday on the official calendar of the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Masculine was very much "The Horsepower Takeaway" from Denmark’s Henrik Vibskov. Henrik’s inspiration came from fire; his vision was about renewal, and the results was dark yet glorious. Blooming flower-prints suits in recycled polyester and organic cotton; erratic ink-dyed work shirts; and muddy prints that looked melted together. Unlike nearly every other designer in this five-day season that ends on Monday, Vibskov actually walked and talked the audience through his line-up, before the entire cast appeared before a giant brick wall at the Carlsberg Foundation – on which models perched on huge rocking chairs in a memorable finale.
Paris will always love a rookie, and the big calendar debut of the day was from KidSuper, by designer Colm Dillane. "People say the fashion world is filled with fakes and plastic people, well we proved them wrong. Thanks Paris," said a virtual Dillane at the end of his video, entitled "Everything’s Fake until it's Real." A proper performance piece with a cast composed of male dolls, marching stiffly on a tiny catwalk before a stony-eyed front row of dolls, including a very waxy Anna Wintour. A collection composed of rock star concert gear – with dressing gowns in a cool human chain print, graphic graffiti mural coats, and a great red suit embellished with giant mouths. Way too much maybe, but what a great step in Europe for KidSuper.
The big star of Sunday was Kolor, from the hipster Japanese designer Junichi Abe. he went for a slow-motion video of somersaulting models, shot in a concrete loft. Brilliant intercutting of tailoring and street style; style sampling at the max and coolly handled asymmetry. Few designers anywhere are kickier than Junichi, who backed up his ideas with some sensational Asian rock – "Smoke and Mirrors" by Kikgaku Moyo.
Yoshio Kubo set his performance in a classic Japanese timber villa. An ideal setting for his languid style – billowing silk shirts, layered trenches, soft military patch pocket shirts, with the phrase "Think Before Wear." Padded traditional kimono jackets, some wonderfully sleek haori jackets and uber-chill priestly redingotes worn with kasa hats made this a charismatic style statement.
The day opened with Auralee, and pretty boys and gals marching onto the disused industrial jetty of a city port, as a passenger plane landed before a bleak gray sky. The clothes were monocolor too: faded rose jumpsuits or worn-out Prussian gray dusters for guys and off-white linen pantsuits for the gals in this coed show.
Arthur Avellano called his video "Origins," and there was lots of flesh and skin and smooching to indicate what sort of origin he had in mind. Multiple latex jackets over floral shirts on boys and gals, most of whom spent their time dreamily looking into each other’s eyes. As a matter of fact, there was five times as much flesh as fabric in this showing.
Namacheko from Belgium set its statement on a sandy beach and lakeside, the better to show off his knits and the squiggly Aboriginal patterns which the two models painted on each other’s torsos. Quite what was the point was hard to discern.
Facetasm took us to an underground parking lot to shoot its assemblage arty sportswear, graphic tracksuits, faux football scarves and high-tech sneakers, before emerging into garden sunlight beneath Tokyo Tower and better illuminating its wares. On a good day, Facetasm’s Hiromichi Ochiai is a great designer, but this season he definitely does not merit a fashionable cigar for this effort.
Archie Alled-Martinez, an LVMH Young Graduate prize winner in 2018, produced a cheapo wee video with lots of crotch shots of a scrawny model who eventually strips off to his Y-fronts. And that’s about it.
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