DA MAN - Style - - Report -

Menswear is a hot mar­ket right now, with more and more brands putting in greater amounts of money and en­ergy into their men’s of­fer­ings. And it wasn’t ex­actly hard to read a man’s thoughts when it came to wardrobe selec­tions— un­til the last sev­eral sea­sons, at least. Or per­haps, it’s menswear de­sign­ers and their un­think­able pieces that have prompted men­folk to ven­ture into hard-topre­dict cat­e­gories. Sim­ple col­lec­tions of suits, shirts and trousers in neu­tral shades have been re­placed by sporty suits, pat­terned shirts and col­or­ful trousers. In short, the "clas­sic" men’s look has be­come a field for ex­per­i­ments and boundary-push­ing pieces. In other words, the spring/sum­mer ’16 run­way shows in Paris dis­played ways to re­clas­sify what counts as— or what will count as— clas­sic men’s at­tire.

Of par­tic­u­lar note was Dior Homme, with cre­ative di­rec­tor Kris Van Ass­che at its helm. Af­ter clos­ing down his own la­bel to fo­cus more on his work for the French brand, he took on the chal­lenge of mak­ing the brand’s sig­na­ture tai­lor­ing more rel­e­vant. “There is an in­sis­tence on the ‘French­ness’ of Dior, both the man and the house, and what that sym­bol­izes. At the same time, the col­lec­tion could be seen as an ex­plo­ration of sportswear; from its tra­di­tional roots to its con­tem­po­rary in­car­na­tion,” he ex­plained. This com­bi­na­tion of French style with sportswear was im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent in multi-zipped trousers, MA-1 jack­ets and ny­lon parkas. Noth­ing looked ex­cep­tional, trend-wise, but the col­lec­tion summed up nicely what a man wants to wear these days: es­sen­tial pieces in newer sil­hou­ettes and more play­ful fab­rics.

Dream­ing up sim­i­lar bour­geois flairs was Véronique Nicha­nian from Her­mès—although, ob­vi­ously, this is noth­ing new for the brand. Her col­lec­tions rarely carry spe­cific themes, but al­ways turn out smart, sub­tle and sim­ple. These are clothes meant for men who would rather en­joy the lux­ury of such sar­to­rial mas­ter­pieces as op­posed to show­ing them off. As one of the long­est—serv­ing cre­ative di­rec­tors for menswear, Nicha­nian has an un­mis­tak­able grasp for sub­tle break­throughs and ef­fort­less el­e­gance like no other. This sea­son, she added elas­tic de­tail­ing on a blou­son, made a hoodie out of real leather and cut boxy T-shits from a smooth suede-like fab­ric. When put to­gether un­der well-thought- out styling di­rec­tion, the pieces cre­ated a strong wardrobe that will suit any mod­ern flâneur.

Now, Kris Van Ass­che de­signed with a French­man in mind while Véronique Nicha­nian ex­plored tech­ni­cal­ity for the sub­tle-yet-stylish bour­geois, and both of them con­sis­tently rolled out tra­di­tional pieces. Paul Smith, how­ever, ref­er­enced a dif­fer­ent kind of clas­si­cal look— that of mu­si­cians.

In a col­lec­tion that cel­e­brates in­di­vid­u­al­ity and bold char­ac­ters, he mas­ter­fully show­cased his ap­ti­tude for tai­lor­ing—from straight- cut suits to loose blaz­ers, dou­ble-breasted jack­ets with shoul­der pads, ex­tra-long suit jack­ets and even cropped jack­ets. He ex­plored shapes, col­ors and tex­tures, but he also delved into the per­son­al­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with these con­cepts, such as David Bowie, Led Zep­pelin and David Hock­ney.

A more cur­rent and lit­eral ref­er­ence to mu­si­cians, though, struck a loud chord at Saint Lau­rent. The au­da­cious and will­ful cre­ative di­rec­tor Hedi Sli­mane dubbed the col­lec­tion, “A Trib­ute to Con­tem­po­rary Cal­i­for­nian Surf Mu­sic Cul­ture,” a per­sonal homage to his home­town. How­ever, what filled the run­way was, quite fit­tingly to imag­ine, an amal­ga­ma­tion of tor­tured artists: patch­work-sewn leather jack­ets, smudgy white sneak­ers and mis­matched pat­terns in one en­sem­ble—in a phrase, rather kitschy items one would scrap to­gether when look­ing for items at a down­town thrift store. For those in­ured to Parisian styling that fa­vors “less is more” ap­proach, this col­lec­tion could be a cringe-wor­thy cat­walk sur­prise. But what Saint Lau­rent may have lacked in sim­plic­ity and uni­for­mity of pat­terns, it more than made up for in at­ti­tude; and rel­e­vantly, that is what the pre­vi­ously “clas­sic” brand is known for these days.

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