Kim Jones for Dior Homme paid homage to friend and fashion icon Judy Blame, the forward-thinking British designer. He was an iconoclast and Jones drew copiously from this heritage. Due to the designer's passion for couture, the show was a parade of dandies wearing tailored moire silks with big cockades, precious wools both knitted and used for voluminous coats and dramatic opera gloves that completed every look. The accessories were the real protagonists: it's surprising how the first thing you could see during the show were the jewels (signature elements of Judy Blame's look) designed by Yoon Ahn and the bags that sometimes overshadowed the clothes – a good outcome considering that in today's fashion, gadgets are more catchy that the full look. Nevertheless, Kim Jones' collection was more soulful than usual and proposed a relaxed wide silhouette that, even if nostalgic, was appealing. The tiny venue was inside a gigantic tent built in the middle of Place de la Concorde. After the environmental protocol that LVMH released last year, it would’ve been interesting to read in the press release how and if this "building" had an impact to the environment, considering also that yesterday, Louis Vuitton's show took place nearby in another huge tent.
It's always interesting to observe how different cultures interpret others through their personal filter. This season, Junya Watanabe took the stereotypical Italian man and edited it à la Japonaise. The result was anthropologically interesting as the risk to create a tacky version was inevitably going to be very high, but Japanese's rigorous aesthetic was the measurement to not make the most frequent mistake about Italian men's style. In fact, the theme of the collection was "classic" but twisted à la Junya's way, his signature patchworks mixed Italian motorsports manufacturers (Pirelli, Brembo, Abarth, Moto Guzzi and Campagnolo) with tailoring excellences like Caruso. The final result was intriguing: the rétro mechanic overalls merged with the classic Italian staples. The attitude was conventionally Italian (maybe a bit too much) with confident guys wearing gold necklaces on top of turtleneck sweaters or keychains with famous Italian lucky charms, including horn-shaped pendants, usually not used as a symbol of elegance. The sarcastic mood made everything look not shabby.
The colour palette exploded at Berluti where designer Kris Van Assche started a conversation with the heritage of the over one-century old Maison. The dialogue is the tool to evolve the codes and turn them into desirable luxury clothes. The result was a colourful collection where double-breasted bold suits in green, electric blue, red, acid green and many other colours, were paired with roll necks rather than the usual suit-and-tie uniform. Considering that Berluti's tailoring and excellent craftsmanship are already well-known, it wasn't necessary to communicate it with manga looks that seemed a bit too excessive and the full patina leather suit with coordinated roll neck and shirt were, frankly, too much for a classic Maison. Van Assche gave the impression of being obsessed with finding a language to decode the Berluti's vocabulary for the young generation. Maybe, going back to the real heritage of the brand instead of attempting at becoming too extreme, would have been a better solution.
"Ylem is the origin of everything," explained Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, designers of the Berlin-based brand GmbH that rose to success very quickly since its beginning in 2016. "Actually is the matter that existed right after the big bang and from where everything originated. So we gave this title because we went back to our roots and put together all we did so far. In the process, we saw that there was still a lot to do so we pushed back everything more. Pattern cutting is my (Isik) speciality: we never had the time and the possibility to work with this even if it was my profession," explained the German-Turkish designer. “Now we are setting up so I could concentrate on this." Jackets and coats from the first part of the show were very structured like armours and one sleeve required 3 months of work. Halfway through the show, the contratenor Stevie Katona sang on the music composed ad hoc by Billy Johnny Bultheel, both friends of the designers. The second part of the show featured more GmbH's signature style pieces, including tight knitwear and high waisted double zippered trousers. Although the tailoring work was admirable, the whole collection looked a bit directionless. Their tailoring skills are interesting and they should have concentrated on that part without losing focus.
After the Orlando cycle ended with last December's show at the Wiener Staatsoper where Rei Kawakubo designed the costumes for the performance of the "Orlando" by Olga Neuwirth, for Comme des Garçons Homme, she decided to send a joyful message with a show entitled "Colour Resistance". The patchwork used defined every single item of the collection with old signature prints and new motifs, different fabrics and layers that delivered a harlequinesque look. The stratified silhouette was visually intriguing as the palette was impeccably focused, even though sometimes slightly excessive. Harlequin is culturally known as a mischievous, light-hearted and often romantic hero, so, in a way, he could be considered as a metaphor of how to resist and protect ourselves from this complicated world. Could the energy of colours make the world better?
Vetements closed the day with a show they defined fully sustainable. The venue was completely dark and the only lights present in the room were the guests' mobile phone flashlights. This could be considered a turning point for the brand founded by Demna and Guram Gvasalia, as last year Demna left and this was the first show without him. The #newvetements, as hashtagged in the press release, was almost the same as the old one. All their classic pieces were there: oversized shoulders for jackets and t-shirts, floral dresses, enlarged utility wear and badass attitude. So, essentially, nothing new. The only fun trick was the fake celebrities used as models that, in the darkness of the venue, mislead the audience making people startling when look-a-like Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell, Snoop Dogg and Sharon Stone appeared. The finale was illuminated and revealed the joke. So far, the absence of Demna is fully perceived as the energy felt in the past show wasn't there and the clothes felt repetitive, despite the hardcore music used as soundtrack. Talent cannot be easily replaced.