Everything You Need To Know From The Paris Menswear Shows

Normcore peaks while machismo troughs.

The Menswear Fashion Week shows this season seemed to spread like wildfire around the world, creating havoc wherever they landed and leaving just as quickly as they’d arrived. We were thrilled by the courage shown by Raury (rapper, model and millennial) at the Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan last week after the Italian fashion house willingly dressed Melania Trump – and then belittled the subsequent upraor by releasing an ironic protest t-shirt. The spirit of the Paris shows was far less contemptuous, but not without its diva-ish moments (we’re looking at you, Demna), and we’re here to bring you everything you need to know from the past five days of fashion antics in the City of Light that rounded off the Spring 2018 menswear circuit. 

At a glance, it looked as though the creative directors of Balmain, Dior Homme and Thom Browne all exchanged notes before designing their collections, but despite the similarities (read: monochrome suiting that featured in all three collections), each came from a different perspective. After discovering that people have begun to think Olivier Rousteing is American, the French designer decided to create a collection that fused his new, global identity with that of his, and Balmain’s, roots: French with American. It was all fringing and Breton stripes, Baroque detailing and tough leathers. 

1) Balmain (image: Vogue.com) 2) Dior Homme (image: Vogue.com) 3) Thom Browne (image: Vogue.com)

Meanwhile, Kris Van Assche sent his Dior models down the grassy runway in riffs on the iconic New Look collection – which featured nipped waistlines and sharp silhouettes – to celebrate its 70th birthday. From a distance, Thom Browne’s Spring 2018 collection looked something like the costume department of a Tim Burton movie, with its towering stripes and offbeat tailoring. But, on closer inspection, it was a celebration of gender fluidity: Browne seems to be one of the few designers in the industry to be able to create skirts and dresses for men that actually work without looking like costumes. Pleat-hemmed blazer dresses, cropped caplets and button-down maxis in modest, uniform-style grays made up the looks that, fittingly, were unveiled the day after Paris celebrated Pride

1) Vetements (image: Businessoffashion.com) 2) Louis Vuitton (image: Wwd.com) 3) Birkenstock (image: @birkenstock on Instagram)

There are no-shows, and there are non-shows. Vetements’ seemed to be both. Rather than organizing a runway of models to display his latest collection, creative director Demna Gvasalia decided to photograph some of Zurich’s locals wearing it – in Zurich – and display print-outs of the results instead. While the show itself received a certain amount of criticism, the collection itself expanded on several themes that have become signatures of the house: a series of fluorescent sportswear pieces with near-forgotten label Umbro, hip-high, block-colored boots, high-necked, billowing dresses and references from goth and metal sub-cultures. 

After a hugely successful – and hugely surprising – collab with Supreme earlier this year, Louis Vuitton has continued to vie for attention from the upper echelons of Urban Outfitters’ clientele with a collection of streetwear-savvy pieces; namely bucket hats, fanny packs, slouchy suiting… oh, and the premiering of a brand new Drake song that acted as the soundtrack to the show. 

Perhaps it’s LV’s influence on the normcore-meets-hype beast style that has rebranded the once-faux pas Birkenstock as a must-have shoe; perhaps it was Christopher Kane’s collaboration with Crocs that gave the German health-shoe company ideas above its station – but whatever the reason, after over 200 years of business, Birkenstock decided to make its Paris Fashion Week debut. Okay, so it wasn’t a Karl Lagerfeld-level show at the Grand Palais, but the presentation was nonetheless a notable first, one that we are glad to see. It’s about time everyone admitted they own a pair, unironically. 

Cover image: Wwd.com