Paris Menswear: Action-packed with uber-debuts and insider presentations
Fashion loves nothing more than a debut; and Paris is looking forward two enormous ones at Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior during what will surely be an action packed week of menswear. Though it also loves a return, in this case Raf Simons coming back to Paris.
Chez Vuitton, the hyperactive American star designer Virgil Abloh, of Ghanaian origin and a Chicago upbringing, will unveil his first collection for Louis Vuitton early afternoon Thursday. The advance word is that a key theme will be the Wizard of Oz. And expect the Scarecrow from the musical fantasy to make an appearance on the Vuitton catwalk.
In an incredibly busy week for Abloh, he will also stage his own line Off-White on Wednesday morning; and open a joint exhibition with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami entitled Technicolor 2 in the Gagosian Paris gallery just off the Champs-Elysées.
On Saturday, Abloh’s predecessor at Vuitton, Kim Jones will present his first ideas for Dior Homme late afternoon at the headquarters of the French state regiment, the Republican Guard. Dior insiders report that Jones has been working overdrive on this show. His most recent Instagram showed a photo of 'Christian Dior' stencilled on the façade, filed just before midnight on Monday, the caption reading “Good night.” Jones already unveiled one idea, dressing his old buddy David Beckham for the last month’s Royal Wedding in a morning suit. One suspects his runway ideas will be a good deal more avant-garde.
Though possibly the hottest ticket will be to see Raf Simons, who brings his eponymous label back to Paris after a three-season hiatus in New York. Simons will return in triumph, seeing as he just won the CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer for the second year running with his day job as creative director of Calvin Klein.
Abloh and Simons are not the only designers on double duty. Take Luke Meier of OAMC who will stage his own collection on Wednesday and then present his latest ideas for Jil Sander. The Hamburg-born but Milan-based label is jointly helmed by Luke and his wife Lucie.
Paris will be one of the longest running seasons in decades. The collections actually kick off in Paris Tuesday, on the evening of June 19 with the awkwardly named but much admired CMMN SWDN, the brand founded by Kanye West staffers, Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund. Paris ends with Kenzo on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. Though France’s season will run onto the following day, when Jacquemus presents his first ever menswear collection, albeit in Marseille on Monday, June 25.
A couple of years ago, Paris and Milan had almost equal numbers of catwalk shows. Now the French capital has almost twice as many. A total of 15 nationalities with 50 catwalk shows; and an enormous number of happening presentations.
Already on Tuesday evening, there is the much anticipated Ambush, by Yoon Ahn, the recently nominated accessories designer for Dior Homme, personally selected by Kim Jones. In an intriguing move, Ambush will be presented inside the Brancusi Studio below the Pompidou Center. And expect considerable interest in the presentation of Mackintosh 0003, the cool futurist collection for the UK rainwear brand designed by Kiko Kostadinov.
The season did lose a few important shows, from Berluti to Haider Ackermann. But the great modern masters like Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons, Maison Margiela (under John Galliano) and Rick Owens, and cool classics from Thom Browne and Hermès will all be present, testifying to Paris' role in menswear as very much the world’s pre-eminent runway season.
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