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Even though it’s true that women are the big consumers when it comes to fashion, men are slowly but persistently taking over the industry. Visiting past Men’s Fashion Week in Paris showed a rising interest in menswear from buyers, editors, celebrities and press around the globe. It’s pretty much like attending women’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Week, with much less fuss and more focus on clothes themselves.
Apart from French-based luxury fashion houses there are many other, smaller brands that come to present in Paris from all across the world. There was a big presence of designers with Asian origin which shows a big development in design in that part of the world as well as the interest in their style of design in the western world.
My fashion week started with the presentation of French-based label Y Project, designed by their new head designer Glenn Martens. The collection was a great introduction into Fashion Week and what was ahead of us. It showed a strong design point which was a kind of mix of classic elegance and more carefree street wear. A difficult mix if you ask me. The cuts were sharp and the color pallet dark. There was a presence of some of the labels earlier pieces translated into a new contemporary look. The collection is very straight forward, asymmetrical, with great lengths and high collars. The women’s looks took the inspiration even further and completed the story perfectly.
Espace Commines was the venue for my next show by John Lawrence Sullivan. A very wearable collection with a winter palette of burgundy, electric blue, some shinning grey and the mandatory black. A collection for the modern man, a gentleman that isn’t afraid to stand out. Could I see these pieces on the streets of Paris? Yes, I definitely could. I could see the loosely tailored suits, metallic shirts and intriguing capes walking down the rue Saint Honore any day. It was the easiness of the cuts and the interesting use of textiles that made me remember this collection.
Following John Lawrence Sullivan was the highly anticipated Walter Van Bierendonck presentation. First seeing this designer at Fashion Week back in 2012, he really made an impact on me with his colorful designs. He didn’t disappoint even this time. With a strong political content the collection was full of graphic patterns in vivid colors, army like tailoring, wide silhouettes as well as very tight pants that obviously draw from women’s clothes. I guess there was always a presence of gender mixing and political awareness in Van Bierendonck’s collections, this season even more obvious.
Another collection that made an impact but for completely different reasons was the runway presentation of Boris Bidjan Siberi. Espace Vendome was full of fashion lovers that have a thing for dark and sporty, the fashion crowd was perfectly in tune with the collection. We saw many details from sportswear, like those big backpacks, perfect for the jungle called the cosmopolitan city. The man wearing this collection is a bit mysterious, loves to be active as well as keeping his own style. I loved the big coats, all the leather and massive scarfs that could as well been blankets.
Next on the schedule was the Julius presentation, one of my favorite shows this season. It started with a dark basement and deep loud music accompanied by strobe lights. This really gives a meaning to the word show against the word presentation. The collection had a lot of volume just as its soundtrack and light design. It wasn’t a classic show and it wasn’t a classic collection, not by far. The style reminded me of Rick Owens a few seasons ago, it was a bit gothic, almost vampire like. There was a lot of asymmetry, layering, big puffed coats, high collars that looked like cocoons, shiny fabrics and play between slim and loose tailoring. It was futuristic but at the same time contemporary.
The last show for this set goes to Danish designer Henrik Vibskov, one of my favorites. The runway design was keeping us all in expectation and once the Vibskov’s crew came to lift the big scene of long stripes it was obvious we’re going to have a great visual presentation. The collection was just as exciting as the scenography. A lot of 3D design, inspiration from folk culture and volumes as big as air balloons. Finally some patterns. As a whole the collection gave a free spirited almost gypsy vibe, which was the result of mixing prints, patterns, silhouettes and different styles. Not for a man used to wearing suits, that’s for sure.
First part of Men’s Fashion Week presentations of autumn/winter 2014 collections showed us that menswear can be just as inspiring and brave as womenswear. It was full of great designs and exciting runway presentations. What was to come, concluded the event with wanting some male essence in my wardrobe as well.