Paris Menswear: New Romance & Escapism
Humanist writings, beat poetry, outdoor lovers, melancholic escapists, and sensible dandies – this is Paris' Fall/Winter 2017 menswear season's response to a disturbing political climate and the frenziness of everyday life.
Christian Dada Menswear Fall Winter 2017 Fashion Show in Paris
With an emphasis on emotion, as well as glorification of nature, the outdoors, and the notion of time, a bunch of this season's menswear brands in Paris stood out for expressing the importance of taking things slow. In fact, Masanori Morikawa, the mastermind behind the brand Christian Dada, set the tone of the season with two simple statements printed on the sleeves of one of his "no future" tartan-flavored college boy outfits. The two statements in question, namely, "too fast to live" and "too young to die," expressed a willingness to go against today's frantic pace, as well as to prefer intuition and emotion to the demanding rationalism of the luxury industry.
Fusing both Eastern and Dadaistic aesthetics (hence the brand name "Christian Dada"), Morikawa's Fall/Winter 2017 collection took inspiration from the Japanese interpretation of the color blue, which, according to the designer, symbolises, "the wild, rebellious, destructive feelings of being a teenager" – a melancholic going-against-the-flow attitude which was personified with t-shirt drawings by London designer Charles Anastase.
Les Hommes Fall Winter 2017 Menswear Collection in Milan
Maison Margiela, for its part, was equally sensitive and melancholic about the current status quo and unveiled a menswear collection which paid a tribute to the peaceful protest of the Beat Generation and its constant willingness to work against prejudices and preconceptions by highlighting the value of spiritual quests and rejecting materialism. Celebrating intellectual individualism through the exploration of the unfinished garment, highlights of this season's menswear included casually tailored soft-shoulder costumes and patchworked outerwear pieces crafted from raw looking fabrics such as distressed tweeds, dry cottons, and upholstery velvets that were embellished with displaced topstitching, cord detailing, visible underlaying, and unfinished prints.
In the same romantic vein, the German label 22/4 set its focus on "the fluidity of transformation," according to founder and creative director Stéphanie Hahn, capturing "the movement of energy" inspired by choreographers Pina Bausch and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker that translated into soft tailoring with precise detailing. Appealing outfits, such as a grey wool west with a detachable fur hood worn over an ecru turtleneck and paired with satin linen pants as well as a belted duvet scarf, were therefore meant "to hold the line of elegance while embracing the transitions of a turbulent season," according to the designer.
Givenchy Fashion Show Menswear Collection Fall Winter 2017 in Paris
Riccardo Tisci's Fall/Winter 2017 menswear outing for Givenchy was equally personal and intimate, as Tisci used Western American references out of his childhood memories to reinterpret the brand's signature styles – think colorful geometric prints, horizontal stripes, stars, and embroidered check patterns – to design what he called a "a positive Givenchy collection" which looked towards a brighter future, with a foot set in the nostalgia of the past, as expressed through the show's setting in the Bibliothèque National de France (site Richelieu) where models hit the runway between ancient books in a serene atmosphere.
Finally, it was the brands from which you least expected a take on modern-day romanticism that totally nailed the trend. In a willingness to escape from everyday life by exploring the notion of nature, and therefore the various looks and shapes of luxurious outdoor clothing, brands such as Juun J, Sacai, and Boris Bidjan Saberi offered a refreshing and more dreamy take on utilitarian wear. While Juun J opted for a reinterpretation of the brand's best utilitarian looks from the past 10 years with street-flavored and military inspired outerwear, Sacai teamed up with The North Face and explored the "unreasoned gesture of a cut," which resided in breaking down archetypal outdoor flavored clothing and reassembling the patterns in looks that challenged conventions. Boris Bidjan Saberi finally impressed with a collection which escaped to the Great North and featured functional and utilitarian outfits that were punctuated by mountaineering-like straps, harnesses, and boots with crampons made for the modern-day explorers who are not afraid to move mountains and challenge themselves – and the world.