As editors, buyers, and the bloggers descended upon the City of Lights for the third segment of men’s collections a few things quickly became abundantly clear. Tropical prints were a huge hit among the style pack, both on and off the runway. Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, Balenciaga, and Birkenstock were the big winners of the week, all offering great pieces fans would scramble to wear, as Rei Kawakubo brought fun back to the runway with a glittery rainbow parade of male models, while Demna Gvasalia made his show a family affair and his Vetements presentation a neighborhood one. Birkenstock’s garden party was charming and featured a winding runway through lush greenery, and Rick Owens offered a winding runway of his own with an enormous set made to look like scaffolding over the Palais de Tokyo. Which supermodel made a return to the men’s shows and which designer made a men’s jacket from a rug? Read on for these moments and everything else that you may have missed during the Paris men’s runway shows
At the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show, Kawakubo gave her attendees a very good example of how to have fun with fashion. Perhaps it was a reaction to the somber news that permeates the news cycle and our Twitter feeds, Kawakubo sent out a series of youthful models who danced down the runway in sequin shorts and embellished jackets, underneath the glow of rainbow-colored lights. The heavy fringed hair and sometimes sparkly hair pieces from Julien D’ys were just as eye-catching as the clothes themselves.
Birkenstock—yes, Birkenstock—is having a moment. The 243-year-old German footwear companyhosted a charming garden party at the Tuileries’ Orangerie Ephémère, where over forty models meandered down a wooden runway through the garden’s rich greenery. As the runway show turned into a late-night picnic and party, guests rested on the brand's new line of beds.
Although it may technically be a menswear fashion week, plenty of labels invited the ladies to take a turn on their runway. Most notable among the men’s brands was Berluti, who sent British supermodel and fashion favorite Stella Tennant down their catwalk.
Thom Browne Takes Paris
Thom Browne is having quite the year. After opening a new store in Milan and a women’s store in New York, it was off to Paris, where Browne presented an ever-theatrical runway show, proving that you can be both a bride and a groom.
A Family Affair
When Gvasalia isn’t trolling the internet with his mundane (or genius, depending on which side you’re on) shoppers-cum-handbags, he is asking his male models to bring their young families along for his spring runway show for Balenciaga. Everyone loves a hot dad, apparently even Demna, and he began researching his spring collection’s by looking at pictures of young dads and their young children.
Sarah Burton presented her menswear collection for Alexander McQueen in Paris for the first time, and that was not the only way in which she aligned her men’s and women’s collections. Burton was inspired by paganism and make-do-and-mend, two ideas that were present in her Fall womenswear collections. Burton even borrowed a rug from her spring 2017 women’s show and transformed it into a coat for her men’s show.
Parking Lot Parties
For Spring 2018, Vetements offered up a ‘greatest hits’ of sorts. They invited press and friends to a parking lot near the Gare Saint-Lazare, where look book images of the new collection—snapped by Gvasalia himself—were blown up to full-length and displayed. Funnily, and clearly a commentary on fashion taking itself too seriously, the photos featured real people imitating ‘model’ poses in very quotidian places throughout Zurich.
The Best Set
Rick Owens staged his Spring 2018 men’s runway show at the Palais de Tokyo. Unlike most fashion shows that take place at the Palais, this time the Palais was made to look like it was under construction, with scaffolding covering the entire front of the museum. Models zigged and zagged across the top, along the sides and down the front of the Palais steps, in a collection that seemed to show the evolution of menswear from the beginning of time.
At the conclusion of Lanvin’s menswear show, models came darting out from all directions, dashing across the show space and miraculously not bumping into each other. While some felt like this was their daily commute, Lanvin’s creative director of men’s Lucas Ossendrijver said later that the chaos was meant to represent too much information, and how humans are constantly bombarded with it via their social apps, their emails, the constant pinging of something. This couldn’t be more poignant that during fashion week, as everyone who sits at the shows has barely processed it as they start to send their photos, live streams, and snaps out into the world.
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