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Thread: PARIS FASHION WEEK MENíS S/S 20 - Reviewed

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    Default PARIS FASHION WEEK MENíS S/S 20 - Reviewed

    By Eugene Rabkin

    Part 1

    "The theme of the first two days in Paris was this – some great designers are sick of what’s going on in menswear these days. By that I mean the invasion of streetwear and mere product at the highest echelons of fashion. Needless to say I wholeheartedly agree. It’s not that I am against streetwear; anything can be done well, and I’ve grown to love and wear brands like Neighborhood myself. But so much of it has been so utterly boring as of late, crowding out design in favor of merch. Do I care if your stupid hoodie has a Balenciaga or a Gucci or a Givenchy logo on it? It’s the same stupid hoodie, and you are lame for wearing it. The more young kids I see looking like sponsored Formula 1 cars, the less I like men’s fashion today. But, of course there are, and there will always be, exceptions, that look that much better juxtaposed against the background of sartorial blandness.

    I am forever optimistic about youth – I came to fashion from youth culture and it’s the backbone of everything I do – but these days optimism is getting harder to muster. I don’t want to be the middle-aged guy who admonishes the young and says his generation was better. I don’t want to be someone who shrugs his shoulders every time someone asks him which young designers he likes. But I am not going to lower my standards just because seemingly everyone else has. We live in a culture that is largely insipid and vacuous, and contemporary fashion reflects that. Jun Takahashi of Undercover turns fifty this year, yet he produces work so dynamic and so relevant, that no young designer comes even close. Nitzer Ebb once asked in a song, “Where is the youth?” Perhaps it’s in the middle age.

    My first two shows were equivalent of a cri de coeur against the status quo described above. The notes for the first show I attended, TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist, began thus, “I take a step back and look around – very little resonates or speaks to my heart. In questioning the creative progression of a new generation I acknowledge that I am someone who purely likes clothes and expresses myself through the act of ‘dressing.’” Amen. What do you when you feel like that? Often, you feel nostalgic. Our culture constantly asks us to move on, and in doing so automatically assumes that everything new is good, but why? If moving on does not feel like progress, why shouldn’t one stick to things that have affected them profoundly in their formative years? I could see Miyashita taking this line of thought; his collections are always deeply personal, inward-turning. With this show, he turned yet again to the culture of the ‘80s and the ‘90s, and went even further, to his childhood. Hence, you saw the Mickey Mouse on the back of tailored jackets and shirts, and firemen and policemen hats, the symbols of two professions many boys want to be when they grow up, before they realize that this world is largely held together by duct tape and lies.

    Miyashita is the last hippie in fashion – he does what he wants, sometimes with little consideration for pragmatism. It’s a deliberate choice and an enviable one, because so many designers work under creativity-sucking constraints. And it results in clothes that are often found hard to incorporate into a wardrobe, but, boy, are they a sartorial treasure to behold."

    Full article here.



    Part 2

    "Wednesday morning I stopped by the Visvim showroom, where Hiroki Nakamura presented his new collection. And while his esthetic couldn’t be further from that of Boris Bidjan Saberi, Nakamura’s philosophy hews close. It’s all about making the best clothes possible with the techniques available. Unlike Saberi, who hunkers down in his atelier in Barcelona, Nakamura travels the world looking for the best traditional artisanal makers. Again, these clothes need to be examined up close to truly appreciate what goes into them. Nakamura is his best PR person (and, needs to be noted, his own best model) in a sense that he does not need PR – all you have to do is to see how his eyes light up when he tells you that the canvas for the sneakers was developed by an Italian company that has the last 18th Century German handloom that allows the canvas to have a certain type of grain you can scarcely get elsewhere, rough and refined at the same time. There were also fantastic object-dyed nylon parkas and hand-painted t-shirt, kimonos done in European suiting fabrics, and denim that felt bulletproof.

    From Visvim I went to the Rick Owens show, in which the designer paid homage to his Mexican roots. It was an elegant middle finger to the Trump’s obsession with building the Southern border wall. Owens collaborated with the United Farm Workers association, whose founder Cesar Chavez became a hero of the worker movement by unionizing the disenfranchised, heavily Mexican farm workers in California in 1965. The t-shirts and sweatshirts with the UFW logo will be released on Owens’s website, with proceeds going to the union. Another part of the collection was based on the work of the sculptor Thomas Houseago, whose art has fascinated Owens for a while now. It was a lucky coincidence that Houseago is having an exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art here next to Palais De Tokyo, and one of his enormous sculptures was put in the courtyard as part of the exhibit. It couldn’t have been better planned if Owens wanted to. As for the silhouettes and details, Owens continued in the glam rock direction, and look after look it was brilliant, from the platform boots with plexiglass heels to laced pants and jumpsuits.

    At Yohji Yamamoto later that day the clothes were brilliant as always. The fabrics flowed like water, the prints were lovely (except that one coat with a couple of sentences on the back in Russian – may I suggest, as a Russian native speaker, that you pull that coat out of production), the wide, elongated Yamamoto silhouette in full effect. But I would like to see Yamamoto try a different way of presenting, instead of stuffing as all in a small room and subjecting us to slow guitar strumming for fifteen minutes. I know it sounds like a first world problem, but honestly, I think Yamamoto’s men’s shows are a rare occasion where the presentation actually detracts from the beauty of the clothes."

    Full article here.



    Part 3

    "Nothing in fashion is constant, but knowing that Chitose Abe at Sacai will present a great collection comes pretty close. So it was this time, regardless of the fact that the collection came from the most unlikeliest of inspirations, The Dude from the film “Big Lebowski.” The line “that rug really tied the room together” was taken as the motto for the collection that took Abe’s signature hybridization approach into a new direction of tying two familiar pieces into a new garment. Wait, that does sound familiar! That’s what Abe has been doing from the start, but the fact that one never gets tired of it, because the same idea continuously takes new shapes, bespeaks her formidable talent. There was a lot of play on proportion this time – a small sized denim jacket or an MA-1 joined together with an oversized one, creating a new type of garment. Different jackets and coats were fused together or joined with belts. On the other side of the collection, Abe worked with two-dimensional patterns that come to life on the body. There was a bit less ornamentation this time, which really allowed us to concentrate on the shapes of the garments and the overall silhouette.

    The Sacai show also served as the preview for the new Nike sneakers Abe designed, with the double sole and the double tongue and the double swoosh logo, this time in all black. A word about sneakers, an unusual departure for the critic who has exactly one pair in his closet. Fashion people love sneakers, and at the shows they love sporting the ones from the latest collab. The problem is there are so many fashion people that you quickly get tired of looking at the same shoes on everyone’s feet. Fashion people don’t like that, and quickly move on. And I find it quite sad that even good design becomes victim to the hamster wheel cycle of collabs. Aren’t these the same people who supposedly care about sustainability? (See part 1)

    At Thom Browne later that day I had quite the opposite reaction to that at Sacai. Here was another designer who has built his own aesthetic language. And though I will never get tired of Browne’s masterful sartoria, his themes are starting to look stagnant. Again we saw male models tortured by essentially 19th century women’s clothing – corsets and undercarriages – and the kind of high heels that most progressive women have dispensed with by now. The fact that the torture was conducted to a remix of Depeche Mode’s song “My Secret Garden,” didn’t make the show better even for this diehard DM fan. Again there were pastels and nautical elements and American sports references. I think it’s time Browne has found a new theme, and when he will, I am sure it will be brilliant all over again. Oh, yeah, there was also a ballet dancer in a tailored tutu, if that’s your thing."

    Full article here.
    Last edited by Ahimsa; 06-25-2019 at 01:00 PM.

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