Paris fashion week ends, with some surprises
Paris fashion week ended on Sunday, simultaneously closing the autumn
winter 2019 men’s catwalk season of the Big Four, being New York, London,
Milan and Paris.
It was a week of anticipation and debuts, with Hedi Slimane for Celine and
Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy showing men’s only collections for the
first time. There were first season debuts at Berluti and Rochas under
creative direction by Kris van Assche and Federico Curradi respectively.
And then there were the second outings by Kim Jones for Dior and Virgil
Abloh and Louis Vuitton.
It was also a week of surprises, some good, some less so, yet with plenty
of fashion ammo to see customers – and retailers – through until the end of
It was always going to be a definitive moment, or THE definitive moment of
the season: Celine’s first dedicated men’s wear collection. Satisfyingly,
and perhaps unexpectedly, it didn’t disappoint. The naysayers from
Slimane’s SS19 collection, widely critiqued as not being novel enough
following his tenure at Saint Laurent, witnessed a new dawn in Slimane’s
slickly cut tailoring. Tailoring which this season came alive in sumptuous
fabrics, looks that were equally louche, mod and smart, but most
importantly with a silhouette other than Skinny with a capital S.
Granted, Slimane is partial to a slim cut, but this season the focus lay
elsewhere. Multiple pleat trousers, cut or cuffed at the ankle, had a new
volume, as if Slimane had let all restrictions go and the rock and roll by
night look made way for something more sophisticated and collegiate.
Blazers breathed room, but never hulked out over shirts. Slimane would
never exaggerate a men’s shoulder to the point of absurd.
Outerwear was paramount, and seemingly no luxury spared when choosing
fabrics. Overcoats, double and single breasted, checked, speckled,
leathered or just in gloriously plain and luscious wools ruled most looks.
The skinny ties captured Slimane’s penchant for youth, as did the
sunglasses, but it was the shoes – posh military boots, tassled loafers and
monk shoes that kept it polished, without a sneaker in sight. With every
designer hopping on the streetwear wagon, this was the collection that will
spark a thousand high street copies next winter.
It’s official. The overcoat is the must-have item of AW19. Or at least a
coat by Rochas, which came in variants of sportive parkas to slouchy
gabardine and wool versions, long in length and an array of handsome
This was a formidable debut by Federico Curradi without needing to scream
fashion. Curradi instead offered ample sophistication that trumpeted the
quietude. Let’s hope it will filter down to the retailers, who need
something other than noisy streetwear to make men’s wear great again.
The house of Berluti began life as a luxury cobbler and has since become a
bonafide ready-to-wear label for men. But despite an eight month stretch
for incoming designer Kris van Assche to electrify the fashion world with
something stunning, this debut simply fell short.
Firstly, it felt disjointed, from the double breasted big shouldered
blazers worn with front zipped trousers, to the leather racing trousers,
featuring contrast panels with logos and all sorts of unnecessary details.
Plus they had elasticated ankles.
This was a styled collection, but one where the (new) codes of the house
have yet to be cemented. A slick leather aviator jacket worn over a suit;
an aubergine tailored jacket and trouser teamed with a striped pink
sweater, complete with matching bag and tassles pinned to the lapel. And
logo belts with capital B. Different strokes for different folks.
There were plenty of colour pops in red and pink, but nothing that set this
collection on fire. The pointy but square toed shoes in ombre leather were
beautifully executed, but, like the rest of van Assche’s propositions, will
not be to everybody’s taste.
Photo credit: Berluti AW19, Celine AW19