Paris Fashion Week: Day 3 Review

S/S17 is a season of mixing and matching in which designers create worlds both real and ideal for their collections.

BY Janie Cai | Jun 25, 2016 | Fashion

1 | Junya Watanabe MAN under COMME des GARÇONS

Designer: Junya Watanabe

The underbelly of the Cité de la Mode et du Design proved to be the ideal setting for Junya Watanabe's decisive casting. His models strongly embody the clothing and are avatars of his vision, thus this crew of scowling men who strode around the press-enclosed arena like steely fisticuff fighters just before a bout, was his collection’s motif made flesh and blood. This was perhaps Watanabe’s take on what the scruff of society, the youthful dissenters of the mainstream, would don to rule their world. Bare skin appeared emblazoned with tattoos, one model had the numerals 21 (or maybe 27? Gothic script across the landscape of a face is tough terrain) scrawled graphically across his face and more had inked legs and forearms, even necks, the real tattoos blending with the fresh ink, a gambit perhaps to ‘no scars, no story’. Here, Watanabe’s designs worked through a subtle subversion—the working stiffs of the city had their clothing appropriated and then bent to the cause. Windowpane checks and suiting fabric appeared as shorts suit with a sportive feel, while a sharp contrast of volumes—boxy jackets and skinny large-stripe jersey joggers paired with leather slip-ons—injected a street-sharpened touch to the overall ensemble, which was kept in check by a restrained palette. And while newsboy caps in dusty grey seemed to borrow its style reference from blue-collar labourers, the collection’s trilbys with their disproportionately short rims and boiler suits seemed a mocking taunt to the strict style codes of the business district. A perception abetted by the don't-fuck-with-me attitudes of the models chosen. 

There was also significant hybridisation in the attire. Sleeves especially found themselves the focal point of the clothing conversation in this collection. Jackets were overhauled and refitted, a classic bomber or suit jacket contradicted with heavy-duty leather sleeves, its ribbed shoulder a protective detail taken from biker jackets. This duality continued in the interior of the garments, which revealed a soft floral print lining when the models removed their coats. But even with the induction of paisley and floral prints as accents to the whole, the entire collection was a steadfast proponent of modern masculinity.

Must have: A camp collar short-sleeved shirt with a stunning black and white chrysanthemum-style print.

2 | Loewe

Designer: Jonathan Anderson

Each season, Anderson takes us on a trip of the imagination, where conceptual journey-based scenarios play out in which the clothing is informed and altered by the landscape. Past seasons have seen inter-galactic space anime and more recently, the strange, lunar-like landscape of a national park. This time, Anderson celebrated the creative skills he imagined would exist through ship-wrecked but sartorially-skilled nomads. The inspiration, according to the PR who brought us round, was based on the coast of Ibiza as captured at perennial dusk. The specially installed gloss-tiled floor of the presentation room reflecting the sunset like so many gilt waves. This interior was executed by M/MParis and its effect was carefully calculated to ensure that one entered a world of dream-like exoticism, a perfect setting for a collection that seemed constructed from almost primitive means, yet finished with painstakingly exquisite detail. 

For Loewe SS17, the question of clothing seemed to be whittled down to its very essence—trousers had raw finishes and tunic tops featured loose panelling that seemed to fall apart but was in reality carefully tied on in sections. In one instance, small ancient coin replicas were sewn onto the blouse top, like metallic sequins reflecting the light, proving that in this journey of the imagination, your essentials became your embellishments. Practicality and aestheticism were woven into the same cloth, which was reinterpreted in a seemingly simple approach. But with most of the collection, it was appearance versus reality. And the reality was that these pieces were of incredible detailing and construction. The principle was based on creativity through necessity—this imaginary world required a new set of aesthetic codes based on the limitation this shipwrecked situation had rendered (In other words, Anderson’s imaginary ship-wrecked crew had to ingeniously make do with whatever they had, a process which happened to result in some innovative designs). Hence the handwoven blue backpack and gold-dipped denims, along with wide-legged turn-cuff trousers (a carry-on style from his earlier season) and a cotton jacket with hand-sewn patches and stitching which borrowed directly from the Japanese boro style.

Prints came in the form of two vibrant Ouka Leele images—the Spanish alternative photographer famous for high-octane 80s digital prints, along with black and white academic studies of fossils. And Anderson’s soon-to-be highly-collectible bag charms evolved this season into an elephant, a monkey and a lion.

Must have: An aubergine cotton jacket, finished in boro style.

3 | Cerruti 1881

Designer: Jason Basmajian

Cerruti 1881 a breath of fresh air with its dreamy washes of teal and grey, light, loose layering and seemingly effortless curation. Creative director Jason Basmajian, seemed to be relaxing into his second season since his appointment at the label. Elements like coats, jackets, and even shoes, sported a dappled camouflage pattern of lulling grey-greens, inspired perhaps by the denuded surface of tree bark (if you’ve seen the painterly strokes on a Eucalyptus tree you would agree). This season asserted a distinct softness of form, suffusing the Cerruti man’s wardrobe with perfectly-timed freshness and lightness. From silken, unstructured suits, to paper-thin blousons and lightweight long coats that moved along with the body, a reoccurring detail emerged in safari jacket-style button flap pockets, which was seen on both shirt-style jackets (or jacket-style shirts depending on your preference) and done cargo-style on trousers.

Drawing on the expertise behind the label itself, more than half of the fabrics in the collection were created exclusively at the Lanificio Cerruti. And perhaps more excitingly, a new denim collection was introduced for SS17, which will take a permanent place in the brand's product offerings at a surprisingly accessible price-point. Expect classic blue denim alongside a washed grey, white and a slim-fit black denim, enough to get you sorted, if you so please.

Must Have? The beautifully tailored trousers, which came precisely cut just above the ankles and sporting a two-inch cuff finish.

4 | Berluti

Designer: Alessandro Sartori

Conspicuously absent from last evening’s presentation, Alessandro Sartori might not have been there to enjoy the pool party thrown by Berluti, but his last collection for the house was there for press and buyers to peruse before they made their way into the main arena to soak up an atmosphere of fun and games, the Berluti way of course. SS17's RTW collection for the label was housed in colourful wooden shacks that brought to mind the beachside Brighton changing rooms, and encouraged close inspection of easy, wearable pieces that wouldn’t look out of place in any international traveller’s wardrobe. Indeed, the clothes read like a must-have for the jet-set man fortunate enough to accommodate the expense. A Berluti piece has a hefty price-tag but put it down to the hours of work and development that goes into each piece, not to mention the exceedingly high quality of the materials used in the process. A linen-silk travel coat half-lined with luxurious silk, a denim work coat that had excited Japanese editors clustered round and knits fine enough to spoil you. Still, the sartorial reprieve was short and least you forget it, the main focus of the presentation were the shoes and accessories, not to mention the splendid objet d’arts. Two exquisite soccer tables, clad in hand-patinated leather in Berluti’s signature tobacco tone, stood under a tree, inviting guests to take their hand at a game. In a nearby field, Berluti football was underway with each model chasing the soccer ball clad in the latest styles of the maison’s new Fast Track sneaker hybrid, which combined the sports-style sole and form of a running show with an upper in the new vitello unico leather, one that was developed specially by the brand. And in a declaration of the dexterity and skills of its artisans, a workout station featured luxurious leather skipping ropes and hand-weights, decadent toys for serious gym rats, whilst another station displayed sets of leather frisbees and paddle racquets, all hand-made and hand-patinated of course. One thing’s for sure, the Berluti man knows how to have a good time, and looking good whilst doing so happens to be his forte.

Must have: With so many beautiful things on display the choice was hard but we’ll take the denim work-coat (wrestling it away from the Japanese editors) and perhaps one of the brightly coloured leather cuffs, which will an ideal accessory for your next poolside party.