At this time of year, it's all about the guys. The men's collections wrapped up in Paris over the weekend, and, as with any fashion week, there were a mix of great, sellable, culturally insensitive and delightfully theatrical shows. Read on for all the highlights.
For Saint Laurent's spring 2016 men's collection, Hedi Slimane turned to California surf culture as a source of inspiration, pairing slim pants and beat-up sneakers with floral suit jackets, bombers, sweaters patterned with dinosaurs, fringed leather jackets and all manner of flannel shirts. (For the small group of women that walked the show: babydoll dresses, of course.) The result was a show that was strikingly true to life and immediately wearable, provided you're willing to shell out Saint Laurent-level bucks on a ragged flannel. Maybe digestibility doesn't push the boundaries of fashion that much, but it sure helps sales — which, as of February, have doubled in Slimane's first three years at the brand.
In his first menswear show for Balmain, Creative Director Olivier Rousteing took fans and editors on safari. There was every variation of baggy pant under the sun — some tailored with cargo pockets, others with drawstrings that looked more appropriate for the weekend and all paired with lace-up sandals. As for the jackets, there was something for everyone there, too: a classic model in a burnt sienna leather, embroidered blazers of the sort that Rousteing himself favors, strong Balmain shoulders, tiger stripes and pockets everywhere. All in all, the collection made perfect sense as the men's counterpart to what Rousteing has been cooking up on the women's side. The Kanye to his Kim.
Junya Watanabe Man
You know what they say: it's not fashion week if someone hasn't committed an act of gross cultural appropriation. This time around it was Junya Watanabe, with what some people are calling his "Rachel Dolezal collection." Think African influences, Masai-style necklaces, dreadlock wigs and very colonialist-looking safari outfits — styled, as The Cut pointed out, on an entirely white cast of models.
For spring, Virgil Abloh dubbed his collection "Blue Collar" — although, as he told Style.com, his aim was to present white collar clothes. Quite literally it had both, in an expertly styled presentation focused on long, lean layers, broken up occasionally with a jacket tied voluminously at the waist. Incredibly consistent and very cool, the collection also marks a moment at which Abloh (who, it should be pointed out, rose to fame as Kanye West's creative director) is aiming to transition away from streetwear and toward menswear. Oh, and the 1-855-OFF-WHTE number printed on some of Abloh's tees? Try calling it.
While the clothing content of Berluti's show at the Musée Picasso was pretty wonderful, with its refreshingly straightforward color palette of grass green, blue, yellow and red, what really got people's attention was its live installation — of rows and rows of male models reclining in lawn chairs, reading the newspaper in their boxers, socks and dress shoes. It's not hard to see why.