Elsewhere in Paris menswear: Paul Smith and Daniel Arsham
Paris will always love diversity, especially in fashion. Like in the last 48 hours when a UK knight staged relaxed tailoring in a Yankee cathedral and a rising American blended performance art with high-performance fabrics.
Paul Smith: Joe Jackson revival
Post-pandemic tailoring at Paul Smith, who played with multiple ideas on how men want to dress exiting the lockdown.
“I was focused on my enduring love of tailored fabrics and tailoring, like this short jacket I am wearing which is composed of tailored fabrics but made into a zipped, short jerkin,” Sir Paul Smith explained post-show.
Though known for his color, Smith surprised his audience with an opening quarter all in black, again using tailoring materials in unexpected way – notably corduroy puffers cut away at the sides.
“After Covid, people wanted to dress down. They now want to look better again but not in a traditional way,” fashion’s famous knight said post-show, inside the sacristy of the American Cathedral in Paris where he unveiled this fall/winter 2023/24 collection.
Sir Paul’s standout idea was a series of capes inspired by 200-year-old rugs he recently discovered in Italy. Part of a collection of a Milanese collector, which he plans to present in an art installation in his London flagship this spring.
“The carpets were always in slightly weird colors, as they were hand-dyed,” he winked, pointing to one cape on his mood board, a beautifully odd mix of abstraction and color blocking.
His silhouette varied from parallel to mega-oversized legs, while jackets were cut a few inches longer – 90s style. Lots of riffs on his own archive checks – redone in modern fabrics – and lots of pattern on pattern. Four-button detailing on cuffs and pants, again from the 90s. White sneakers and dark suits, Joe Jackson Is she really going out with him?-style.
“Revisiting some things that I have done in my very long, long, long, long, long career. And still standing, somehow,” said Smith, pulling his hands wide apart with huge cackle of laughter.
Daniel Arsham: Performance art plaster fashion
There is a vector where fashion meets fine art, which is where Daniel Arsham’s mode resides. Where clothes are more like objets d’art than mere garments.
Which is why the American designer staged his latest show inside one of Daniel Perrotin’s art galleries deep in the Marais, since this show was as much a work of performance art as a catwalk display.
Guests arriving were greeted by three statues on plinths - plaster-of-Paris giant jackets standing erect all in pristine white.
In a show that began with Daniel cracking apart one plaster jacket, before putting it on a lean young model already wearing plaster pants.
Entitled 'Objects IV Life Chapter 003', which Arsham defines as “a uniform for a creative life,” the collection included deep pocketed and padded denim jeans jackets; foul weather gear peacoats and deepest winter industrial puffers. Classy workwear with an arty touch. Functional yet with plenty of finesse, just like this show.
Arsham loves a new garment category. For example, a coverall twinset - meaning a shell shirt-jacket over drawstring over-pants.
Though the overriding memory will be his plaster-of-Paris performance, the sort of fashion one only really sees in Paris. Because here, they love fashion for the fine art it very occasionally becomes.
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