PARIS MEN´S A/W´24
Paris Fashion Week Men’s Autumn/Winter 2024, the grand finale of the illustrious men’s fashion month, graced the French capital with a captivating lineup of sartorial splendour. The opening act featured Pharrell Williams‘ highly anticipated sophomore ready-to-wear show for Louis Vuitton—a homage to the American West and its iconic dress codes. As the fashion spectacle unfolded, the week continued to unfold its narrative, punctuated by significant moments.
Noteworthy was Givenchy’s unveiling of its first show post the departure of Matthew M Williams. The collection, entrusted to the capable hands of the in-house team, promised a seamless transition and an exploration of the maison’s evolving aesthetic. The Parisian stage also welcomed back British designer Grace Wales Bonner, who showcased her unique vision in a display of exquisite craftsmanship and cultural narratives.
´This week witnessed a sartorial spectacle, with runway shows capturing the essence of elegance and innovation. From Louis Vuitton’s cowboy-inspired odyssey to Givenchy’s eclectic blend of gentlemanliness, the fashion scene unfolded in a kaleidoscope of styles, each designer weaving a unique narrative into the fabric of Parisian haute couture.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
Adding an intimate touch to the fashion week, maestro Rick Owens hosted a show at his Parisian residence—a personal and immersive experience that underscored his avant-garde approach to design. Each event throughout the week, a carefully curated tapestry of creativity and innovation, reinforced Paris as the epicentre of menswear excellence.
As the curtains fell on this edition of Paris Fashion Week Men’s, the runways reverberated with a diverse range of influences, visions, and styles, cementing the city’s status as the ultimate destination for discerning fashion enthusiasts and industry luminaries alike.
In the opulent salons of Paris‘ Monnaie de Paris, Pierpaolo Piccioli wielded the transformative power of colour, a signature move for the maestro known for orchestrating entire collections in a singular hue. For his latest menswear-only showcase, Piccioli immersed the venue in a refreshing sky blue, gracing both benches and doors with this breezy palette.
This colour choice wasn’t arbitrary; instead, it served as a nuanced exploration of contemporary manhood, linking blue with its modern association, particularly after the birth of a child. Piccioli delved into the historical resonance of colour, revealing that traditionally, blue was tethered to femininity—a shift only occurring within this century. In this presentation, he sought to resignify blue – presenting it as a fluid entity, a concept that seamlessly extended to the garments themselves.
Archetypal menswear pieces, such as the traditional Italian suit, underwent a metamorphosis under Piccioli’s creative gaze. The silhouettes, which boasted softer lines and moments of embellishment reminiscent of the house’s haute couture collections, adorned the garments. This meticulous play with form and decoration added a contemporary layer to the timeless elegance inherent in Valentino‘s menswear, elevating it to a realm where tradition and innovation coalesce harmoniously. The Monnaie de Paris became a canvas for Piccioli’s chromatic symphony, where each brushstroke of sky blue redefined the narrative of menswear, encapsulating a mood that is both fluid and enduring.
In the realm of Hermès menswear, Véronique Nichanian weaves an enduring narrative of pleasure through clothing—a quest spanning over three decades. The latest menswear showcase unveiled a myriad of choices for the Hermès man in the upcoming winter, with a particular emphasis on outerwear that seamlessly marries visual and tactile delight.
Standout pieces included a luxurious shearling-lined leather parka and shorter leather peacoats adorned with a whimsical collage of utility pockets—aptly dubbed by Hermès as pockets that ‘slip and slide.’ The craftsmanship echoed Hermès’ commitment to playful elegance and practicality, a delicate balance Nichanian has mastered over the years.
A diverse array of knitwear took centre stage, some featuring painterly prints and presented in artful layers. Heritage checks, notably the Prince of Wales plaid, made a resounding statement, infusing the collection with a sense of timeless sophistication. True to Hermès’ seductive aesthetic, accessories played a pivotal role, with versions of the spacious Haut à Courroies carry-all crafted in smooth barénia and sombrero calfskin. A smaller, book-sized bag, complete with utility pockets and designed to be grasped in hand, added a touch of modern functionality.
The grand finale unfolded in a captivating array of eveningwear, showcasing a tailored jacket and coat crafted from calf hair leather. The pieces exhibited a narrow and elegant line, providing a sophisticated punctuation mark to the collection. Véronique Nichanian’s masterful curation of pleasure-infused garments at Hermès once again reaffirms the brand’s timeless allure and unwavering commitment to the artistry of menswear.
Jonathan Anderson embarked on an audacious journey for Loewe’s fall showcase, drawing inspiration from the works of Los Angeles based artist Richard Hawkins. The setting resembled a peculiar cathedral to masculinity, with buzzing ‘stained-glass window’ screens displaying images of Anderson’s celebrity devotees—Jamie Dornan, Josh O’Connor, Omar Apollo, and Manu Rios. Filming themselves on iPhones, they preened before reflections, surrounded by Hawkins’ intricate collages, capturing a spectrum of fixations – from Roman statuary and French decadence to contemporary celebrity culture, masculinity, and the male body; a recurring theme in Hawkins’ art. The show’s culmination featured a series of Hawkins paintings, dubbed the ‘altar’ by Anderson.
The essence of ‘collaged realness,’ as Anderson described it, permeated the collection, exuding irreverence and youthful spirit. Oversized leather cargo pants were paired with baseball sneakers, askew checkered shirts, and pieces adorned with saturated images from Hawkins’ oeuvre created a dynamic visual narrative. Elongated sweaters, sweatpants, and handbags served as canvases for Hawkins’ vivid works, while layered garments peeked beneath long overcoats, creating a playful illusion reminiscent of concealing a pile of laundry. Leather trenches with dropped tie waistlines and textured variations of the pussybow were elegant highlights, juxtaposed with fairisle knits.
A visual sleight-of-hand emerged in trousers seamlessly attached to socks, which, in turn, were connected to shoes—a deliberate statement about transparency and media influence. Anderson reflected on the modern collage of life, observing how it has become an incessant stream of algorithmic images—a concept akin to Hawkins’ works, which anticipated today’s visual culture consumption. The exploration delved into the evolving psychology of self-perception, validation, and iconography in contemporary society. Anderson’s vision embraced the uncertainty of the future with excitement, suggesting a compelling evolution in our collective understanding of self and society.
COMME DES GARÇONS
Rei Kawakubo’s latest menswear endeavor for Comme des Garçons Homme Plus embraced a compelling simplicity, steering away from the avant-garde silhouettes synonymous with the Japanese brand’s womenswear collections. Instead, the focus shifted towards an exploration of tailoring, albeit in Kawakubo’s idiosyncratic and improvisational style.
A predominantly neutral palette of white, cream, and ecru enveloped the collection, with Kawakubo cryptically noting that “white is symbolic of prayer” in her characteristic enigmatic press notes. Tailored jackets took centre stage, tightly nipped across the chest, featuring double lapels or artfully sliced sections. Trousers showcased generous volume, gracefully ballooning just above the ankles. The sartorial narrative unfolded with jackets paired with wide, elongated shorts or pleated kilts, lending a subtle nod to tradition with a contemporary twist.
Embellishments manifested as rows of meticulously stitched-on white buttons and glimpses of sequins, discreetly revealed beneath blazers and knits. The culmination of the runway presentation witnessed a playful flourish with headpieces created by Gary Card, fashioning inventive creations from wrapped garments sourced from Comme des Garçons’ ubiquitous ‘Play‘ line.
In this curated exploration of tailoring, Kawakubo showcased her mastery of form and function, infusing each piece with a quiet yet powerful elegance. The collection emerged as a thoughtful meditation on the interplay between tradition and innovation, elevating menswear with nuanced details and a touch of whimsy that remains inherent to the essence of Comme des Garçons Homme Plus.
For Kim Jones‘ latest Dior Men’s show, the invitation set the stage with a photograph of the legendary Soviet-born ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev. Captured by Jones’ uncle, a former ballet dancer and photographer, the image portrayed Nureyev’s iconic defection to the West during a 1961 trip to Paris. Jones compiled these captivating images into a book, left as a gift on attendees’ seats, creating a personal and historical link to the collection. Explaining the inspiration, Jones shared, “Nureyev is entwined with my personal history because of my uncle. I had been thinking about the relationship between the ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn and Monsieur Dior. The masculine interpretation of this involved thinking about her most famous dance partner, Nureyev.”
This powerful narrative set the tone for one of Jones’ most compelling presentations to date for Dior. The collection seamlessly transitioned between ready-to-wear and couture, showcasing the exceptional craftsmanship of the Dior atelier in the latter. Divided into two acts, the journey unfolded from the rehearsal room to the grand stage, symbolising the contrasts within the house of Dior and the dualities of Nureyev’s life in both reality and theatricality.
Throughout the show, echoes of the dance studio were brought to life with twisting turbans by Stephen Jones, reminiscent of those worn by Nureyev. Some models sported slicked-back hair held in place by thick black bands. A masculine take on ballet attire featured wide tailored shorts paired with white socks and ballet pumps, while lightweight zip-up ribbed knits with deep necklines evoked the elegance of ballet cardigans.
The tailoring showcased a delicate fluidity, drawing inspiration from archival pieces during Yves Saint Laurent’s tenure at Dior. The couture segment was a crescendo of theatricality, culminating in models elevated on a rotating platform like dancers in a music box. Jones’ couture expressions ranged from an extraordinary beaded white tabard with a pearl-studded collar to a kimono-style cape, reminiscent of Nureyev’s iconic attire, requiring an astounding ten months to complete by three skilled artisans. This collection masterfully fused the world of dance, history, and couture, creating a harmonious ballet of contrasts on the Dior runway.
In his latest collection, Paul Smith boldly exemplified the adage that ´understanding the rules is essential to breaking them.´ Throughout his illustrious career, the designer has seamlessly blended a profound appreciation for British tailoring with his signature playful and eclectic use of colour and print. This juxtaposition took centre stage in the collection, where quintessential elements of British style – including WW2 rider jackets, timeless overcoats, and padded gilets – coalesced with modernist-inspired hues, prints, and motifs.
The designer drew inspiration from Man Ray’s evocative ‘Rayograph‘ images, particularly the ‘Photogram‘ print, symbolising a rebellious departure from the conventional norms of its time. The colour palette, a rich spectrum of deep purples, navies, and browns, was invigorated with vibrant flashes of lime green and ochre. Smith’s iconic ‘Signature Stripe‘ motif adorned layered cardigans and knit sweaters, adding a distinctive touch to the ensemble.
This collection is a testament to Paul Smith’s ability to navigate the boundaries of tradition and innovation, creating a harmonious dialogue between the timeless elegance of British tailoring and his avant-garde approach to colour and pattern.
Junya Watanabe MAN presented a diverse ensemble in his latest collection, aptly named ‘Reconstructed Suiting.’ The designer’s brief commentary, “I wish for men of different generations to wear these suits,” hinted at a collection grounded in everyday life. Watanabe seamlessly played with quintessential elements of men’s style – from refined tailoring to denim jeans, striped shirts, and hoodies.
A pervasive sense of hybridity characterised the individual garments. Tailored jackets were transformed into coats with trench-inspired panels, while others incorporated overlays of chinos or jeans. Simplified coats, secured with a chest panel and paired with classic pinstripe pants, marked a shift toward a more straightforward aesthetic. Despite this reductionist approach, Watanabe’s signature patchwork techniques persisted throughout the collection.
True to his collaborative spirit, Watanabe reimagined iconic styles from brands like Brooks Brothers, Palace, and Carhartt. This reinterpretation showcased the Japanese designer’s disruptive vision, adding a distinct flair to established signatures. The collection exuded a modern versatility, inviting men of different generations to embrace its fusion of classic and contemporary elements.
HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKE
Homme Plissé Issey Miyake unveiled its latest collection – a collaborative venture with the versatile French artist and designer Ronan Bouroullec. Drawing inspiration from Bouroullec’s vibrant and abstract morning drawings, created with a Japanese felt-tip brush, the collection seamlessly integrated these colourful forms as embellishments on the brand’s signature pleated separates. The freewheeling and improvisational theme of the season captured the essence of Bouroullec‘s work.
Titled ‘Immersed in the Wilds of Creativity,’ the collection sought to explore the translation of creative materials, specifically Bouroullec’s oeuvre, into the realm of clothing. The result was a liberating and expressive mood, with beautifully layered silhouettes that conveyed a sense of being wrapped or loosely twisted around the body. Artistic touches abounded, including models carrying cushions adorned with motifs reminiscent of Bouroullec’s distinctive work, adding an extra layer of creativity to the immersive experience.
In a grand setting adorned with towering velvet curtains and a sprawling monogrammed carpet, Mike Amiri unveiled his latest collection, presenting an homage to the allure of Hollywood epics. Drawing inspiration from the nostalgic glamour of his hometown, Los Angeles, the collection prominently featured luxurious tailoring. Elongated satin blazers, jacquard evening jackets, and loosely cut suiting with a relaxed, pyjama-style silhouette took cues from both Old Hollywood dress codes and the effortlessly chic glamour of the 1990´s. Reflecting the cinematic inspiration, the entire collection shimmered with crystals, adorning lapels as stacked brooches on jackets or delicately twinkling across undone shirts and stylish beanie hats.
In an intimate departure from his usual grandeur, Rick Owens opened the doors of his Parisian home on the prestigious Place du Palais Bourbon to present his latest menswear show, titled ‘Porterville‘ – a nod to the Californian city of his birth and upbringing. Within the vast concrete rooms, sparsely adorned with Owens’ signature monolithic furniture, the designer embraced this more personal setting, a stark contrast to his typical Palais de Tokyo forecourt showcases, as an expression of ‘respectful restraint’ in response to current global upheavals.
Fostering a sense of community, Owens featured Steven from Fecal Matter and Gena Marvin – known for their unconventional, otherworldly styles both off and on the runway. Collaborations with London-based designer Straytukay resulted in innovative inflatable footwear, while rubber-wear specialist Matisse Di Maggio contributed pieces crafted from recycled tires. Throughout the collection, a theme of envelopment and solace prevailed, with oversized shaggy forms gently encircling the body, suggesting a protective embrace. Luxurious knitted all-in-ones, fashioned from soft alpaca, cashmere, and merino, further conveyed a mood of comfort and refuge.
GRACE WALES BONNER
Grace Wales Bonner, the visionary British designer, once again delves into the rich tapestry of American collegiate style in her latest showcase, hosted in the exquisite Paris Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. At the heart of this season’s narrative is Howard University, a revered institution with a profound Black legacy in Washington DC – counting luminaries such as Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison among its esteemed alumni. The collection unfolds as a ‘celebration of [its] shining lineage,’ drawing inspiration from the vibrant imagery of homecoming festivities, marked by hip-hop performances, poetic readings, and international gatherings on the lush green campus.
In a fittingly poetic touch, the runway featured a live performance by the acclaimed musician Yasiin Bey. The garments themselves artfully blend the iconic college uniform – think Howard Crew-emblazoned sweaters, monogrammed varsity jackets, and baseball jackets – with moments of refined elegance and meticulous craftsmanship. Handcrafted crocheted mirrors, originating from India, embellish tailored pieces, while exquisite beads, pearls, and amethysts adorn jewellery and brooches, imparting a ceremonial air. A standout moment arrives in the form of a resplendent black tuxedo, perhaps evoking the dignified commencement ceremony, created in collaboration with Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard.
The theme of refinement seamlessly extends to Wales Bonner’s latest collaboration with Adidas Originals, introducing miniature handbags and crocodile-embossed leather iterations of the iconic Superstar sneaker. The designer’s ability to seamlessly weave together collegiate nostalgia, cultural celebration, and sartorial elegance reaffirms her status as a true visionary in the world of high fashion.
In the historic haute couture salon of Hôtel de Caraman on Paris‘ prestigious Avenue Georges, Givenchy unveiled its latest runway spectacle, marking the brand’s first show since the departure of American designer Matthew M Williams last year. The opulent setting, once the workplace of Hubert de Givenchy for an illustrious 36 years, set the stage for a traditional salon presentation. Seated around tables in the venue’s elegant white-walled rooms, guests immersed themselves in an atmosphere of refined sophistication, enhanced by the presence of delectable treats like madeleines, truffle sandwiches, and champagne.
For this season, an in-house team, awaiting the announcement of the new creative director, meticulously crafted the collection. The inspiration drew from the essence of ‘gentlemanliness,’ inspired by Mr. Givenchy himself and his distinctive dress codes. The collection artfully balanced the duality of his public and personal wardrobes, seamlessly intertwining sartorial formality with an off-duty sense of nonchalance, flamboyance, and seduction.
The runway showcased a diverse array of garments, ranging from cat-adorned vest tops and playful synthetic hair cascading from under tailored jackets to dramatic overcoats. The collection featured ladylike silk headscarves, reminiscent of an archival style, as well as louche, unbuttoned silk scarves and layers of meticulously crafted knitwear. Sculptural hats made a bold statement, adding an avant-garde touch to the ensemble. Tailoring, a Givenchy hallmark, took various forms – some with sliced sleeves and others reimagining classic eveningwear – predominantly adopting a double-breasted and narrow silhouette.
The show concluded without the customary final bow, leaving an air of anticipation for the upcoming season and the unveiling of the brand’s next creative leader. The legacy of Givenchy continues to evolve, capturing the spirit of its founder while embracing contemporary interpretations of sophistication and allure.
Lemaire’s latest presentation unfolded within the pristine, white-walled expanse of the brand’s headquarters in Paris’ picturesque Place des Vosges. The ambiance was carefully curated, with the audience indulging in warm herbal cocktails in the covered courtyard before the show – a comforting contrast to the day’s chilly, drizzly weather. The event exuded an intimate and exclusive aura, akin to a privileged glimpse into the serene inner sanctum of the Lemaire brand.
The collection, a testament to Lemaire’s commitment to evolving its signature aesthetic gradually, reflected discreet and uncomplicated elegance. This refined style was not only embodied in the meticulously designed garments, but also echoed by the impeccably chic staff, adorned in varying tones of Lemaire’s trademark ecru and off-white.
Christophe Lemaire, alongside Sarah-Linh Tran, the creative force behind the eponymous label, expressed that the timing felt right to invite individuals into this sacred creative space, encompassing the brand’s entire operation, including the atelier and workshop. The narrative of the collection unfolded as an ode to the solace found within the home, with enveloping, layered ensembles inspired by dance attire, delicately embracing the body like a second skin. Certain pieces ingeniously bridged the realms of domestic comfort and outdoor sophistication, featuring elegant ‘in-and-out pyjamas’ and outerwear evoking the proportions of a luxurious bathrobe. Each garment was a harmonious expression of Lemaire’s ongoing pursuit of refined simplicity and understated allure.
Pharrell Williams transported Louis Vuitton’s runway to the scenic Bois de Boulogne in Paris for his much-anticipated second ready-to-wear show. Building on the success of his debut last summer, and a subsequent pre-fall collection, this A/W 2024 showcase unfolded within a venue adorned with vast projections depicting the rugged landscapes of the United States. The invitation itself, a finely crafted LV-branded cowboy hat and an engraved harmonica, hinted at the thematic journey awaiting the audience.
Williams presented an homage to the quintessential American archetype—the cowboy—infused with the distinctive Parisian flair of Louis Vuitton. Titled ‘Paris to VA,’ referencing his home state of Virginia, the collection featured denim chaps, Western-style shirts embellished with frilled yolks and intricate pearl-and-sequin details. Workwear received a tailored twist, with reinterpretations of traditional double-kneed carpenter’s pants and a collaborative footwear line with Timberland. Completing the cowboy aesthetic were the requisite hats, while oversized gilded Louis Vuitton trunks were elegantly wheeled along the runway on wooden frontier carriages.
Before the show, Williams underscored the intention to offer a more expansive and inclusive vision of the cowboy trope. Recognising the historical contributions of Black and Native American cowboys, artists from the Dakota and Lakota nations collaborated on the collection. Notable pieces included a Dakota Flower motif-embroidered version of the iconic ‘Speedy‘ bag and ‘Keepalls‘ adorned with designs reminiscent of ‘parfleche,’ buffalo hides historically decorated by Native American communities. The culmination featured a performance by powwow group Native Voices of Resistance, dressed in designs by Dee Jay Two Bears of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as gentle snowfall transformed the projected desert into a serene winter landscape where Williams’ expansive and energetic vision for Louis Vuitton left the audience eagerly anticipating the next chapter in his creative odyssey.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Each Respective Designer