The SS’20 shows proved menswear has evolved to be broadly experimental. So, with bursts of block colour, florals, accessories and intriguingly varied silhouettes, Paris was the perfect end to the season.
Showcasing the industry’s most revered fashion houses like Dior and Lanvin, alongside leading creative pioneers like Comme des Garçons, PFWM is undeniably fashion month's main event. From Karl Lagerfeld’s “Karl For Ever” memorial tribute at the Grand Palais, to Solange performing at Carol Lim and Humberto Leon’s last Kenzo show, the five-day finale of Paris naturally went viral.
In regards to the actual ready-to-wear: there was a recurring motif of escapism, channeling summer’s light mood of jetting away from reality, with the palette directly reflecting this. Mr Porter’s buying director Fiona Firth said that those tones are a key trend: “We saw a lot of soft, pastel colours, with a number of brands presenting elegant jacket and trouser looks in pale pinks and greens. Everything felt quite soft, even onto the lightweight, draped fabrics.”
“We saw a lot of soft, pastel colours, with a number of brands presenting elegant jacket and trouser looks in pale pinks and greens. ”
Blossoming talent Kim Jones’ Dior show was a dreamy display of pastels and vibrant hues, complemented by a sculpture spelling out DIOR in white stone, studded with crystal shards - crafted by artist Daniel Arsham. Menswear buyer at Selfridges, Jack Cassidy, says “hype is only just beginning, there was such a buzz around the show. Jones has such a loyal following and I’m sure this collection will be a huge hit with customers.”
Among established names, new additions are also exciting tier 1 retailers, as Browns’ menswear buyer Lee Goldup says: “Alyx’s was one of his best to date. But also, the pieces from Nanushka’s men’s collection were great, that brand is definitely one to watch.”
On the subject of hype, Virgil Abloh’s shows with Off-White and Louis Vuitton didn’t fall short of critique. The latter delved into themes of boyhood quite literally, with bold colour blocking and floral prints, and some looks featured kites worn as mid-layers. That might sound clunky and awkward, but the intrinsic designs successfully transferred those early years of nonchalance, when clothes serve a purpose and carefully curated appearances don’t exist.
The beauty of boyhood also infiltrated Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe with dungarees, pyjamas and pretty feathers sprouting from models’ ears, embodying the feeling of a “childlike dream state” (Anderson). Loose, youthful silhouettes were a prominent trend reflecting Loewe. “I think soft, unstructured jackets will prove popular for Spring, alongside shorts and trousers with added volume” Firth commented. And she is not alone with this perspective, Goldup notes that, “Boxer shorts, vests, mint green and oversized bags were everywhere in Paris.”
Among the buyers, it seems that the general consensus was colour. Cassidy also observed, “Paris was all about colour and print; from colour blocking at Jacquemus to graphic prints at Raf Simons.”
Whether experimenting with colours, wearing double denim or going all out seventies with Hedi Slimane’s Celine sequins and pointed collars, Paris men’s didn’t hold back. You don’t need to watch Vetements’ runway in a McDonalds to know that excessiveness permeated PFWM. Just as Cassidy summarises: “More is truly more for SS’20.”