Rocio ALONSO LOPEZ
Jan 19 2023
This week, Paris hosts the best of fashion. The second day of the men’s fashion shows offered a fireworks display of styles and universes. From Lemaire’s comfort chic to Walter Van Beirendonck’s friendly Martians and Louis-Gabriel Nouchi’s funny psychopaths, there was plenty to choose from on Wednesday.
At Lemaire, guests had been warned: “Bring gloves.” To face the icy cold in the large courtyard of the Jussieu faculty, which hosted the parade, something more was actually needed. Greeted with tea and coffee, a mini hot water bottle and a blanket, the audience warmed up as best they could, while the first models began to stride across this open space, swept by strong currents.
Is it a station concourse, a large plaza in a business district, or a university entrance? It doesn’t matter, it’s a place of life that comes to life before our eyes like a well-regulated ballet, to the soundtrack of city traffic. People passed each other, looked at each other, greeted each other. Some models were supported on a railing or a column. Sometimes they stopped to chat on a bench, when they weren’t running around the square.
Wrapped in protective coats, belted at the waist, or in puffer jackets layered over thick sweaters, clad in woolen or leather pants, the models passed to and fro in a ceaseless stream. The men greeted each other quickly, their sketchbooks tucked under their arms, while the women in woolen jackets and culottes clinked their heeled boots on the cobblestones. Many showed layered pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and jacket, all cut from the same lightweight silk.
Loose coats, anoraks, jackets with fur collars, sweaters tied around the neck over a large cardigan, wool coats… The collection designed by Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran gives priority to warm materials and comfortable cuts, favoring a certain fluency. One model even came out in her pajamas, while several opted for thick socks and slippers. This practicality is reflected in large shoulder bags, which we assume were full of notes. The palette was neutral and autumnal. Just a touch of red here and there, a blue-gray, and leafy green brightened up the ensemble.
In Walter Van Beirendonck, the aliens were made to wait for three quarters of an hour, but they finally landed on the red carpet of the Wagram Room. Fitted with rubber suction cups, planted like mushrooms on their heads, arms and torsos, incorporated into their smart tweed suits or monochrome ensembles of vinyl, red, black, green, etc.
This inflatable accessory is also available in transparent plastic. We saw it round and small, or spread out, taking over life jackets. It appears in the form of puffed pockets on the front of a jacket. Sometimes the entire jacket is made up of these mini buoys, equipped with their own nozzle and plug that inflate at will to set the desired volume. In other cases, a bubble wrap is used to make a waterproof jacket.
The marine theme also shines through in a series of brightly colored fishnets with crystals, which wrap around heads or torsos in bodysuits. The theme is repeated in fishnet stockings. The designer also used faux leather and skai to create baggy jackets and pants.
These strange characters came to earth as friends, as they proclaim in their knitwear with naive drawings of planets populated with animals. As always, Walter Van Beirendonck is a fervent anti-militarist in his slogans.
Total change of register in Louis-Gabriel Nouchi, who immersed us in a horror movie, with red light, faces splattered with blood, long latex gloves and shirts, torn T-shirts, as if lacerated with a box cutter, or devoured knitted sweaters. Not even the cellophane used to wrap the corpses is missing, seen on the fabric of a tight T-shirt.
Louis-Gabriel Nouchi was inspired by the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and his psychopathic hero, both golden boy and serial killer, to denounce his violence and “his toxic masculinity”. Once again, it was an opportunity for the designer to start a reflection by playing with the elements of the genre. As accessories, he proposes the unmistakable axes and chainsaws, but covered in recycled leather, thus remaining “unarmed”.
He alternated the silhouettes of businessmen focusing on the tailoring. The suits were revised in proportions and construction with marked shoulders, slightly displaced in the sleeve, for an eighties look. The jackets are cinched on one side for a draped effect. The bankers’ blue or black total looks, with long coats slit at the sides, gave way to a series of activewear garments with lycra leggings worn directly under flowing shirts or jackets.
The designer introduced leather this season by partnering with manufacturer Ecco Laser, which has developed a transparent, skin-like leather using a parchment-tanning method, cutting suits, T-shirts and long coats.
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