On the first day of the Paris menswear shows, designer Guillaume Henry produced a pallet cleansing collection for Carven. In only his second runway show for the line, the designer seriously pulled back on the embellishments, quirky prints, and idiosyncratic silhouettes.
This season Henry wanted to pay homage to the young men he would see on the street in the early morning who, just like the designer, were on their way to a long day of work. "They were all blue collar workers. Training to be bakers or butchers and I just found them to be really relaxed and super cool in their different functional uniforms. I found it very inspiring."
On the runway sometimes the working class references were rather pronounced. A group of tops and coats that featured harness-like bands of monochrome fabric closely echoed the reflective safety vest worn by road workers. A pristine white coat has an antiseptic clinical vibe to it, as did the three womenswear dresses Henry inserted into the show. And the thick soled sandals were clearly a designer take on footwear favored by those who spend hours on their feet.
The coolness of the collection grew in direct proportion to how subtly the designer was able to integrate the workwear soul into his designs. Yes, there was a proletarian air about a shirt with sleeves crafted with a central black band of color or a suit with knitted ribbed cuffed trousers. And does fashion get any more utilitarian then an elastic waistband?
But the designer was able to elevate these elements so that they were equal parts chic and contemporary.