Paris is having a punk moment. Renegade spirit, plaid, studs, stylish anarchy: they’ve all taken to the catwalk this week.
The Louis Vuitton menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Paris, by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION
“There’s always something a little London hidden somewhere,” confessed Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones in his show notes, which outlined his conjoining of the movement with Africa and Frank Marshall’s portrait series of Botswana biker gangs. The result was modern, cool, and neat: it gave us punk 2.0 – something that was confirmed and compounded even further by Kris Van Assche at Dior who brought a layer of athletic influence for a wholly fresh take on what is always a favourite fashion reference.
The Dior menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Paris, by Régis Colin-Berthelier for NOWFASHION
“The echoes of bin liners, shiny black, DIY safety pins, and unfinished seams linger as a design inspiration,” pointed out a good fashion editor friend of mine, Tony Glenville, formerly editor at large at Vogue Australia and creative director at London College of Fashion. It’s true what he says.
The Ann Demeulemeester menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Paris, by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION
You could see whiffs of it at Ann Demeulemeester for an impassioned collection of punky knits, spliced hoodies, and draped flag shapes – feathers were tied at the neck, ribbons trailed in the wake of the models’ walk. At Junya Watanabe, there was a jazz-gangster hybrid, the models tattooed almost all over; at Valentino, even, there came its faithful Rockstud decoration but now moved from feet to bomber jackets and tailoring. Faith Connexion was explicit and direct for lots of shredded denim and graffiti slogans, check shirts in red and black, plenty of rebellious spirit spilling out everywhere. Haider Ackermann, too, you could clock it in the bold stripes, the tight trousers, and animal print creeper shoes. There was a distinct note of Ziggy Stardust, the ultimate rebel pin-up, going on here.
The Haider Ackermann menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Paris, by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION
And even when we weren’t being confronted with the overt punk ingredients such as rivets, sharp metal and tangled fluffy jumpers, leather jackets, tattoos, utility strapping (which came at Julien David), and confrontational footwear, we were seeing the tease of threads untethered, deconstruction at work. Or it was the sense of punk, its inherent rebellion and anti-authoritarian attitude. Take Demna Gvasalia, even, at Balenciaga for example. He is recalibrating the system, reworking Balenciaga into something exciting, young, and new, which one could consider as being suitably punk.
“It was an interval between the Seventies and the Eighties – as an antidote to hippie and before New Romantics, it was a sharp sorbet,” continued my friend. That sorbet certainly seems to taste good and Paris has been tucking into it nicely.
The Comme des Garçons menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Paris, by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION
Of course, the capital has always been home to the original enfant terribles, those thinking outside the box, from Comme des Garcons (who this season brought us transparent macs and grid-mesh vests, shorts and signature flamboyant wigs) to Jean Paul Gaultier and beyond. “No one takes it as seriously as Paris. It’s the end of the fashion circus. This is where we decide on the season,” added my friend. “This is the heart.” And that heart is beating to the tune of punk.