The Art of Craftsmanship and Contemplation

If there is one indisputable trend this season, it's the tailoring reboot. And that means one thing: it's Pierre Mahéo's moment. With his brand Officine Générale, the Parisian designer has always had a clear agenda: to make timeless casual chic clothes meant to really be worn. 

 

His suits are immediately recognizable and include tapered trousers, fitted modish three-button blazers. Pierre Mahéo de facto owes his commercial success to concentrating on gorgeous textiles — the brand regularly works with Loro Piana — rather than on trends. This season was no exception. 

 

A selection of big coats, navy blue and grey suits for the boys and of silk palazzos, louche double-breasted jackets, and architectural knitted dresses for the girls were on the menu. On the casual side were tan shearling coats and corduroy suits that had a distinct Wes Anderson flavor, which made complete sense for a designer who is just as quirky and unyielding in his creative vision as the director. 

Earlier that day, Sebastien Meunier's menswear offering for Ann Demeulemeester was equally cinematographic — or let's rather say, theatrical. Young ephebes and nymphs with baroque traits were clothed in palpably soft, skin-embracing fabrics as they walked to the gentle rhythm of Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

 

There was a dream-like, thoughtful touch to Meunier's latest collection for the Antwerp-based designer brand — one that revealed his precise sense of craftsmanship in Ann Demeulemeester's romantic signature style. The butter-soft silks, cloudy knits, raw shearlings, and moiré velvets that Meunier used to crafts his men's outfits from came in soft pastels and earthy hues, which emphasized the collection's ethereal touch. 

 

In contrast to the dreamy romanticism evoked by Sebastien Meunier, the fashion shows that followed, more precisely those of the Korean designer Juun J and the Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro, forced us to contemplate reality. These two collections brought a more pragmatic and functional touch to today's shows. While Mihara Yasuhiro offered an ingenious mix of work and streetwear influenced by normcore, Juun J opted for over-protective leather garments that came with a dystopian feel. 

 

After almost a whole week of running from one show to another, the JM Weston presentation was a welcome moment of calm and contemplation. The Parisian shoe brand, under the creative supervision of Olivier Saillard — former director of the Musée Galliera — held an intimate event at its iconic rue Saint Honoré store, especially revamped for the occasion. 

 

Rather than presenting yet another new shoe collection, Saillard chose to introduce the new Weston Vintage concept: having noticed Weston clients tend to keep their shoes for decades, in some cases even handing them down from one generation to the next, the Creative Director had the idea of recovering as many vintage pairs as possible, completely remaking their interior and their soles and, in more used pairs, revamping them by adding cutouts, pompoms, patinas or painted effects. 

 

"It was a bit like going back to working in a museum. What works for vintage clothing sometimes doesn't when it comes to shoes, which is why we transformed the oldest ones to make them into something new, rendering them unique," explained a relaxed Olivier Saillard, clad in hazelnut trousers, sweater and hat, standing next to a young pianist wearing a top hat, white tie and tails, playing old school ragtime. 

 

A collection of 27 pairs of shoes — most of them repurposed from classic Oxfords, Derbies and loafers — then made its appearance, nonchalantly worn by models of both sexes and simultaneously narrated by Saillard himself in a sort of ready-made poetry reading. On sale from this week at the Saint Honoré and Champs-Elysées stores in Paris, and in Tokyo's Aoyama location, these vintage shoes aren't just a charming time bubble or a retelling of the Weston history; they also prove that unbound creativity and quality artisanship can be the perfect tools to make truly sustainable fashion and, most importantly, an antidote to today's out of control consumerism. 

 

It's precisely this antidote that Olivier Rousteing attempted to find, or at least it was what his latest menswear offering for Balmain suggested. In this sense, Rousteing's collection — probably the most introspective and less extravagant one so far — celebrated modern-day nomads who share a deep connection with nature and the multifaceted beauty of our planet earth. The designer looked at his own identity in order to find inspiration — Ethiopian, Somalian and French — and offered his own take on heritage, race and the feeling of belonging to a wider world, one that knows no borders. "The clear need for all of us to focus on that natural beauty was made even more evident to me," the designer stated in his official show statement. "This is a tiny and beautiful planet belonging to all."

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