Paris is clearly gaining momentum as the leading menswear showcase and this season a number of top-tier designers decamped to the city for AW’19. The schedule featured the return of some big names: French favourites Vetements returned after showing at Couture last July, as did Raf Simons (following a number of years at New York). New debuts included J.W. Anderson and Loewe as well as Jil Sander who exited Milan.
But big players were not the only ones making their mark: a number of younger labels – many already familiar on the Parisian circuit – stood out among the growing number of influential names. In all, the schedule played host to 11 new catwalk shows since June, bringing the total number of participating labels to 56 – in London there were only 45 shows while Milan had 46. Here are ORDRE’s top picks.
GmbH’s Rare Earth
Urban Parisian nightclub Péripate was the backdrop for GmbH’s AW’19 show entitled ‘Rare Earth,’ which explored a theme of exodus and human migration into space. The Berlin-based label’s streetwear aesthetic was more refined here: tailored silk jacquard suiting battled industrial gritty sci-fi motifs or splodged with white and gold paint smears. Back harnesses offered a utilitarian edge echoed in metal toolbox accessories.
Sean Suen’s Ode to Ghost Town
Sean Suen’s childhood hometown of Fengdu (the ghost town of the title) was submerged under water after the Three Gorges Dam was built in 1994 and then rebuilt on a mountainside; this uncomplicated yet elegant collection is a reflection on that event. Suen sent out patchwork overcoats, puffer vests and thick mohair coats in mud green; details like frayed edges on comfortable trouser sets spoke to his city’s gradual vanishing while panel details on sleek blazers offered reassurance against the elements.
Sartorial Anarchy at Cmmn Swdn
Once again the husband and wife design duo behind Swedish label Cmmn Swdn delivered the brand’s raw take on classic cuts. Pre-owned garments are the focal point of a post-apocalyptic collection; dishevelled knits with unfinished silhouettes set a punk-tone picked up in textured fabrics like latex, crumpled viscose, crease effect denim, and cracked leather. It was not all anarchy, however: tailored blazers and suit trousers, sleek shirting and elegant overcoats in a palette of army greens, khakis and acid yellows balanced the lineup.
Cosy Cocooning at Hed Mayner
Appearing for the third time on the official Paris calendar, breakthrough Israeli designer Hed Mayner offered ease and comfort in voluminous disproportions this season. Fluid ponchos, loose unpolished cotton suits, flowing corduroy robes and flared macs in sandy Earth-tones, jostled with an all-white jumpsuit and cosy turtleneck knits. Mayner’s expert cocoon-like layering and careful constructions gave the lineup a sense of coherency.
Diving in Deep With Sankuanz
Sankuanz, helmed by Chinese designer Shangguan Zhe, explored a fictional storyline about excursions into the unknown: diving squad Drown 52 are his inspiration this season. Jackets, coats and trenches featured sailor collars and diving-suit details while black-and-white shapes across spandex tops, leather jackets and glossy wet-look tuxedos drew a likeness to killer whales. Metallic hardware on belts or boxy bags and blade-shaped jewellery including dagger-embellished gloves were other surprising details from this Xiamen-based maverick.