Paris Menswear Day Five: Loewe, Vuarnet and Hermès
All about breaking boundaries this Saturday in Paris in the menswear season; between clothes and accessories at Loewe; weekend and work chez Hermès; mountains and club at Vuarnet.
Loewe - Light unto the world
A good quarter of the looks in the latest menswear show of Loewe were illuminated from the inside, in the latest collection for the house by Jonathan Anderson, the freshest visionary in men’s fashion today.
Bands of bright white LEDs trimmed waistbands; peeked out of blazers; studded jumpsuits or decorated sweaters; and wandered in crazy patterns over flesh color tops made of hosiery.
“The idea of the light unto the world. Since we all lived in this illuminated existence. Something sort of spiritual,” explained Anderson after the show, staged in a giant in-door tennis court on the western outskirts of Paris.
Practically every look contained something unexpected – like the Flamenco bag that suddenly became a pair of hushpuppy style boots, or the woollen gloves, whose fingers grew to be tentacles scraping the floor.
“Breaking down boundaries; between clothes and accessories; androgyny; and having no limits,” commented the Northern Irish designer.
Presented amid a series of giant ribbons hung from slanted aluminum masks, like torn up flags, with the entire floor space covered in sand. Nothing was quite what it seemed, including a trio of rubber coats in day-glow colors that looked made of see-through rubber. These turned out to semi-transparent leather, almost glowing and featuring underwear visible beneath.
Warming to his boundary-free terrain, Anderson also sent out some top coats, intertwined with denim shorts and belts, for clever trompe l’oeil and zany tailing.
His other big idea – coats and tops grommeted with sink strainers.
“Well, we wake up every day with them. The first thing in the morning you stand over them in a shower! Plus, I like the idea of things not being too normal,” laughed Anderson, wearing a mask as he spoke to a score of editors.
Vuarnet - Active sports cool in the Alps
Vuarnet, the iconic French sunglass marque, has returned to fashion with some style, and sass and credible sustainability, helmed by Boramy Viguier. A designer known for his out-there shows and videos – one season presenting inside the Bourse de Paris, another doing Disney-meets -Game of Thrones warrior mashup videos.
But at Vuarnet, he concentrated on active sportswear – jumpsuits, boiler-suits, ski jackets, and race pants – though mingled in with some winter clubbing clobber.
Mostly made in black and white and profiting from Viguier’s graphic confidence and keen eye for the telling detail. The designer finished most looks with the famous V on a ski logo stenciled into every Vuarnet shades. They all look strong and credible, and made mostly in recycled materials.
“It’s about enjoying the grandeur of the mountains. An almost spiritual feeling and bringing something of that mood into the collection,” opined Viguier,
Vuarnet has been on an upward trajectory since being acquired by NEO Investment Partners. Vuarnet has also been a pioneer in sustainability since the company was born back in 1957. Named after the Los Angeles gold winning downhill champion Jean Vuarnet, the marque boasts natural designs that are 100% recyclable, a quality not frequently seen in eyewear, nor until recently in fashion.
All unveiled in the new, happening Dover Street Market in the Marais. A giant screen for the show video: retro spy thriller armchairs; Alpine school desks with candles; a great range of racy skier shades; funky cool ski gloves; and, in a generous touch, vials of Génépi, the French liqueur that has warmed many a skier on the final run of the day.
So a strong return to la mode by Vuarnet, helmed with exuberance by Boramy, trumpeted by a marvelous collection video shot in the Alpine fastness near Chambèry.
“I will be honest and say I was surprised they chose me. But they let me follow my visions. And the check cleared. Just joking!” laughed the enthusiastic Boramy.
Hermès - Street-fighting man chic
You know that the short triangle-shaped pant has won the trouser wars when a brand like Hermès sends out scores of them in its latest menswear show.
All the new pants cut with two-inch-plus turn-ups and paired with hefty boots – many in metallic-hued coopers and silver, whether Chelsea, pony or bovver boots. Street-fighting man chic.
A radical step for Hermès, and for its menswear designer Véronique Nichanian, who is always at her best when she takes a few risks.
Véronique also introduced a new Kelly man bag, a deeper version with attached side pockets. A trick she used in shearling tops and nylon sci-fi blouses. In a stylish presentation in the Mobilier National, done up with classical tapestries, hung beside virtual copies of the same tapestries shown on massive flat screens.
Working proportions smartly, Nichanian cut some great weekend jerkins in mustard calfskin, taiga green leather; black porosus crocodile. While her two-tone shearlings with contrasting hued interiors will spark a major trend
And all her Canadians, the French term for a four-pocket winter trapper coat, came with just the right amount of oversize, and shaggy lapels. Injecting some posh rock hipster glamour.
There was the odd redundant puffer – never a Hermès strength – and an odd padded trench, but overall this was a collection of highly coveted men clothes, by the classiest house in Paris from the designer still brave enough to exit her comfort zone after three decades in her job.
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