By: Colt Molson
As the Fashion Week presentations and parties in Paris (and elsewhere) have come to an end, we can now revel in the aesthetic bliss left by designers like Dior and Yohji Yamamoto. Whether you were left speechless by the notorious collaboration between Louis Vuitton and streetwear giants, Supreme, or confused by Thom Browne’s deconstructed suits, it’s safe to say 2017 is going to be a year to remember.
Just like those before it, and inevitably after, Paris Fashion Week had and will have some serious hits, and some serious misses. As I mused through collections and found my favorite looks, I learned something. I learned that Paris brought flair to its shows I hadn’t seen in some time. It revitalized and reinvented older styles, and built strong foundations moving forward. It was personal, it was inspiring, and it was a push in the right direction.
I’ve found a few looks that really proved that to me; looks that stood out and had me talking for days after, where I took the time to revisit and analyze them inside out.
LOUIS VUITTON X SUPREME
Okay, I know “you took the easy way out,” is in full effect. But seriously, in a year that has seen its fair share of extreme radicalism and marginalization, it’s a silver lining that Kim Jones chose to use his influence and vision from a time when people worked together; a refreshing change from recent divisiveness. This combination of branding between the fashion giants has happened in the past, in 2000, when Supreme bootlegged the monogram print for pieces in their own collection. Of course, LV issued a cease-and-desist and a recall of products, but here we are now. 17 years later, and the collaboration has brought us a mix of uptown yuppie combined with downtown local. The proof is in the pairing; from the silhouettes and flow of the garments, to the homage to street and art culture throughout the last few decades. Roomier pants, reminiscent of Supreme’s skate influence, mixed with luxurious jackets, loose fitting tops, and cropped sweaters made for a gorgeous duality of the two brands’ juxtaposition in history.
This look had me going “I could wear that, yeah, all of that,” while still considering that it’s so effortlessly distinct, it could work rolling backwoods in the park or headed out shopping amongst the seriously high spenders. The mix of denim and such a soft jacket, paired with baggier drop crotch trousers and small accents like a wallet chain and hat, makes for a durable every day outfit. It’s got a great mix of layers, and the textures play well, so you can remove the over coat or the denim, take away the hat or chain, or add one of the luggage pieces in and still have options. Something about these two brands just works well together. Whether you believe this is a nail in the coffin, or a beautiful friendship, it’s safe to say Louis Vuitton x Supreme has quite possibly made the biggest statement at PFW.
HarDior baby…it’s business on top and party on the bottom. This collection was one of my favorites. Kris Van Assche has played with the opportunity working for Dior gave him. Knowing the brand’s lineage, and his as well, he was able to pull from a melody of cultural influences; the refined and sleek business attire Dior has been so well known for, and a sharp raw edge taking inspiration from ravers, punks, new wave romantics, and even Jean Paul Gauthier, mixing them together, seamlessly (pun intended). There was not a single look I didn’t like in the show-it’s a bold statement, but Van Assche really nailed it. This show was the brink of a new era, again breaking the rules of tradition and rebuilding its foundation. The silhouettes were beautifully contorted; between the cropped raver pants, the low swinging chains, and the quarter length sleeves, we saw sharp, crisp lines, and encountered leathers and furs. It was graphically heavy, and no piece was spared; it graced the accessories, blazers, and knits. There were ties embellished with the line’s HarDior branding, pictures from realist artist, Dan Witz, and graphics of Christian Dior paying homage to the Sex Pistols. The brand isn’t just reinventing, it’s building an aesthetic suitable for gabbers, candy boys, and businessmen alike.
Choosing my favourite look would have been impossible, but I was really drawn to the Dan Witz print suit that showed up; it’s nothing short of extraordinary. A sharp modern cut blazer meets a sharp and skinny cropped pant, where both boast an in-your-face graphic motif centered on vigorous moshing. All of which is accented with a narrow HarDior tie, a murderous looking pair of leather gloves, and wallet chain. This glorious mix of hardcore and business wear perches itself on a pair of strappy, bondage ankle boots. Van Assche ensured Dior made an impact on the runway, and proved tailoring isn’t an old dog.
Ann Demeulemeester is something of a spectacle and the vision of Sebastien Meunier really proves that. This collection was a wonderful tale of an androgynous gothic pilgrimage. It had touches of lace, velvet, fur, and a fair share of white blouses and button-downs, all in various levels of sheer. It saw pairings of flowing pants and heavy jackets. It looked like l’avenir was the inspiration for this collection, but Meunier’s idea of the future seemed more reminiscent of the past. Silhouettes that looked like a mix of Shakespeare and ‘The Crow” proved to cast a heavy and eerie mysteriousness to the show. A combination of waistcoats, skinny trousers, laced chokers, and unstructured boots ran the runway. There was something so intriguing about this collection; the distinct palette of earthy tones, and bleak shades of grey and black built the perfect structure for the show. It was dark, it was pale, and it was a contradiction of the future, to the past.
This look was one that really showed viability to me; an oversized coat trimmed with fur flowing over a sheer shirt and silky smooth button up blouse. A lace collar made this look more feminine but the silhouette itself was very forward, and very androgynous. Slim fit trousers traveled between reverse laced, deconstructed boots and a layered top block. Everything flowed together and held enough composure to make it less of a costume to contemplate and more of a daring twist to a traditional outfit.
I love Vivienne Westwood, I love the Sex Pistols, and I loved the new Valentino show. Pierpaolo Piccioli met with the artist, punk, and graphic genius, Jamie Reid, for his newest menswear collection. Reminiscent of the anarchy and raw chaotic beauty of the 70’s punk movement and just in time to keep up with the twisted fragility of our current affairs, is Piccioli’s vision. It also stands for a reformation of tradition, placing classic menswear trends into a new perspective. With the help of Reid, Piccioli’s vision was met with optimism. The collection was rife with wider, roomier silhouettes in pants and paired against sneakers, carelessly stacked over the low top runner. The upper body was graced in leather and knits. Refined prep looks met with and battled against old punks. “Beauty is a birthright, reclaim your heritage” and “It seemed to be the end, until the next beginning,” were seen across the backs of jackets, and scrawled on sweaters. It was never more fitting to have such an optimistic ideology of punk. Valentino took to the core to convey an image of the future, promising to work against the darkness that seems to loom. Reid’s background in the fundamentals of punk’s aesthetic helped develop another one of the most talked about shows during the week.
With this look, it’s clear why. Again, we’re seeing the reconstructed definition of tailoring. A heavy knitted sweater sits layered between a thick collared shirt and a roomy blazer; straight cut pants folded over sneakers. The lines are wider, with the mix of inspiration from the streets coming in full force. The jacket was the main attraction; Reid’s “it seemed to be the end,” piece was slapped on the back like a reckless ransom note.
God Save The Runway.
It was an exaggerated and epic look into a roaring masterpiece of luxury. Balmain brought the spirit of extreme for its newest collection. A pre fall/winter show featured both men and women drenched in glamorous beads, excessively oversized shirts, and exotic patterns. It was a heavy metal militia of glitz and glam. Olivier Rousteing created an expansive and brilliant collection of garments that embodied the music they were inspired by. From glam rock to heavy metal, and notes of silhouettes similar to ones sported by his rapper friends, Rousteing captured the essence of the music. It was with an effortlessly beautiful juxtaposition that it simultaneously embodied the lavish indulgence of emotion from power ballads and rock stars. The looks were powerful and delicate in nature.
One that struck me as superior was something so classic made something of a strung out hedonistic fashion dream. The jacket was oversized-a cross between a leather motorcycle jacket and an MA1 bomber-and decorated throughout with chain details loosely stitched and carelessly falling from the hem. Underneath, hid a graphic heavy, distressed tee, an homage to rock and roll with Balmain’s signature twist. Sprayed on jet black denim was stacked on top of beautiful suede. Attached to the suede were leather and zippers, leading to a remarkable Chelsea boot. Paired with heavy knit ribbed gloves, without fingers of course, a dazzlingly heavy gold necklace trimmed in stone swung from a chain, and a sumptuous leather backpack completed the look. Rousteing made sure that his collection was big, bold, and beautiful; endless looks streaming down the catwalk full of luxurious garments fit for a king, or those with a king’s money and taste. It was frivolous and elegant. It was exactly what we’ve come to appreciate over the last few years with our favourite celebrities donning the marvellous creations Rousteing has had to offer. It’s a vision of genres melded together. Above all else, it was Balmain.
It’s safe to say from Balmain to Browne, the runways in Paris were cocoons bursting with transformation inside them. 2017 is just beginning, but we’ve already seen so much change, both good and bad, that every day seems like a new beginning. Paris proved as much for fashion. And like a metaphoric phoenix, it was caught burning down tradition and trend, rising into a new era of menswear.
What’s next for us? I couldn’t tell you, but I will be here waiting with you to find out.
Edited by: Rebecca Besnos
Starting from humble beginnings, Colt Molson became dedicated to the exploration of art. With his ever-racing mind, he always tries to look at its subtle nuances, from fashion, visual art, to music, there’s nothing he won’t uncover. With this focus, he quickly gained a taste for emerging talent and a unique perspective on how to evaluate it. He is currently writing for Vulkan Magazine and in the midst of working on his own creative projects.