LFW Monday: Paul & Joe and Moncler Genius
The biggest shows, physically, in fashion these past years have been Moncler Genius, which invited 10,000 guests to the Olympia Monday evening. Paul & Joe, by contrast, had a poetic moment in an 18th century church for just 400 in the afternoon.
Paul & Joe
A touch of je ne sais quoi from Paul & Joe, in a stylish statement from the house’s founder and creative director Sophie Mechaly.
An honest example of entente cordiale, with tweed sourced from Harris in Scotland and from the last remaining indie French supplier of tweed bouclé in Castres, southwest France.
A girl next door casting in a collection presented inside St John’s Smith Square, a baroque church bombed in World War Two, restored in the sixties, and today noted for staging classical music concerts. A show backed up by a five-piece band playing a cunning meeting of lounge club jazz with hints of a Spaghetti Western.
Lots of slim A-Line looks, mixed up with elements of mariniere sailors’ sweaters. Rose-hued bouclé tweed suits worn with micro floral print tights; printed lamé frocks cinched at the waist, or prairie flower velvet jackets. Used to best effect in the men’s looks of this co-ed show.
“Nothing too exaggerated, I want to dress women, not just editorial pages. It’s my own wardrobe, with beautiful materials, fine finishing and a big mix of fabrics,” explained Mechaly, in a post-show interview on the church’s main rostrum.
Mechaly’s son Adrien created the menswear, dreaming up French boyfriend arm candy looks. Midnight blue velvet tuxedo suits, or dark pink houndstooth suits with giant fabric flower decorations blooming on lapels.
It all won prolonged applause for Mechaly, who took her bow with Adrien and three young kids.
“I wanted a location that had good acoustics, like a church. And, this place had a certain magic,” beamed Mechaly.
Moncler: The Art of Genius
For the latest iteration of Genius, Moncler took itself to London’s giant exhibition space Olympia, inviting 10,000 locals to a concert by Alicia Keys and to witness a half dozen collabs by the like of Pharrell Williams and Rick Owens.
As ever, it was something of a scrum to get into any designer space, except perhaps a soaring installation from Mercedes Benz which was a giant open live tableau. At its center, a 15-foot-high, two-tonne sculpture of a silvery Mercedes-Benz G Class sports wagon. Its wheels and main frame finished in matelassé silver, just like a Moncler puffer. Above the car, five silvery harpies flew about on hidden metal cords, like futurist angels giving their blessing to a collab’ entitled Mercedes-Benz, The Art of Imagination.
Marking the first linkup with an auto brand, and a far cry from the adjacent Williams installation. It featured his vision of glamping, where a group of festival goers under a crimson red psychedelic sky wandered around a rolling countryside, walking on freshly laid grass and remarkably life-like trees covered in Spanish Moss.
While Palm Angels went for a crazed trance party, where entrants were required to wear hooded white plastic lab coats as protection from the sea of white immersive foam continuously sprayed from the DJ booth and walls.
Other installations included an ice-walled digital catwalk from adidas Originals, faux recording studio from Roc Nation by Jay-Z and soundproof sleep pod by Rick Owens.
Celebrating a half decade of Moncler Genius, which has previously included contributions by Simone Rocha, Jonathan Anderson, Richard Quinn, Craig Green and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Moncler Genius is messy, noisy and swarming with fans, but at least it opens the doors to a new generation. People would never normally get within a mile of an actual fashion show. An exclusive Chanel couture in Paris it is not, but democratic and inclusive fashion it certainly is.
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