PARIS — Paris men’s fashion is having a moment.
Buyers left on a high after a week that saw the debut collections from Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton and Kim Jones at Dior, with the rush of star power fueling other designers to up their game with a series of spectacularly staged shows.
“It was one of the most exciting men’s fashion weeks anywhere, ever,” said Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey and fashion director at Nordstrom.
And the momentum shows no signs of abating. On Monday, Simon Porte Jacquemus drew the fashion crowd to a beach near Marseille, France, for the launch of his first men’s collection. In September, Hedi Slimane will stage his first coed show for Céline, marking the house’s entry into men’s wear, while Kris Van Assche will follow with his debut for Berluti in January.
“The men’s wear landscape is changing and the last few days in Paris set the tone for a new direction,” said Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. “Change was in the Parisian air,” agreed Simon Longland of Harrods.
Vuitton’s rainbow runway, channeling messages of inclusiveness and diversity, resonated powerfully, serving as the focal point for the themes that pervaded throughout the collections.
Streetwear remained a dominant trend, with seemingly everyone showing sneakers in a bid to court Millennial consumers. Logos ebbed and flowed, with some designers scaling them back, and others — like Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino — going all out.
But there was a case to be made for tailoring as well, as witnessed by the Vuitton and Dior shows. “Tailoring made a welcome return in Paris, which served as a nice counterbalance to the distinct lack of it in Milan,” said Chris Kyvetos of Stylebop.com.
Here, a roundup of the Paris highlights from the retailers:
Justin Berkowitz, men’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s:
Favorite collections: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dries Van Noten, Ami and Issey Miyake.
Top Trends: Continuing from Milan and expanded upon in Paris, we are seeing so much neon, tie-dye and ombré. These references to Eighties colors felt freshest executed in a sporty manner or as a trim detail in outerwear or accessory.
White, off-white and stone, done in slightly more tailored silhouettes, act as a literal palette cleanser and wonderful counterbalance to the riot of color and print.
Classic men’s wear codes from both luxury houses and interpreted in new ways at streetwear brands. Tailoring is fluid or oversize.
Must-Have Item: Virgil Abloh’s new Louis Vuitton sneaker.
Best Venue: Crafting stunning experiences in outdoor settings was a major theme. Louis Vuitton’s long ombred runway was a bold statement on inclusivity in more ways than one. Rick Owens’ plumes of colored smoke packed a serious dramatic punch, and Kaws’ giant floral Dior teddy bear was a charming ode to the house’s founder and significant marker in transition.
Talent Scouting: Cmmn Swdn and Études both showed strong collections and are younger talents to watch on the Paris scene.
Chris Kyvetos, buying director, Stylebop.com:
Favorite Collections: Dior for delivering a pretty perfect package. It had the energy of those early Hedi Slimane shows. Y/Project felt like a really nice maturing of the brand without losing any of the elements that make it so special. Comme des Garçons Homme Plus for a constant education in tailoring and genuinely unique sportswear. Sacai had all the incredible tricks, but this collection had a greater sense of ease.
Top Trends: Tailoring made a welcome return in Paris, which served as a nice counter balance to the distinct lack of it in Milan. Salty green and pale pink seem to be dominant colors in so many showrooms. Neon was big on the runway, but these softer tones are what we’ll see more of at retail.
Must-Have Item: The desert boot at Dior.
Open to Buy: Paris budgets are definitely up, fueled by the growth of our men’s business, some new brands being added, and a couple of special projects with designers here.
Best Venue: Dior
Say Bye-Bye To: Plastisol logo prints.
Talent scouting: Ader Error from South Korea.
Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus:
Favorite Collections: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Amiri, Sacai and Dries Van Noten.
Top Trends: Technical fabrics and transparency, especially when done in elevated ways in sportswear as well as more constructed clothing; metallic and reflective items, and color. All the vivid color was refreshing and exciting. Botanicals and tie-dye were great ways that color was used to transform and excite the men’s wear we saw.
Best Venue: A tie between Virgil Abloh’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” takeover of the Palais Royal for Louis Vuitton and Kim Jones’ Dior debut set in the round, centered by the huge Kaws floral sculpture.
Talent Scouting: Saw a lot of refreshing collections and new lines…a lot of excitement in general here in Paris.
Lee Goldup, men’s wear buyer, Browns Fashion:
Favorite Collections: Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Alyx, Dior and Dries Van Noten.
Top Trends: Neon, tie-dye, outdoor, white (everything).
Must-Have Item: Raf Simons shiny top coat, Dries Van Noten multicolored macs, Dior chunky sneakers, Sacai x Nike sneakers.
Best Venue: Dior — wow, what a phenomenal venue. The floral installation was incredible and what a brilliant first show for Kim Jones.
Open to Buy: Our budgets are most definitely up. We had a great fall 2018 season and we’re committed to growing our offering for spring 2019.
Paris Takeaway: Paris was buzzing. There was a great vibe and the weather did not disappoint either. The highly anticipated shows of both Kim at Dior and Virgil at Louis Vuitton were the talk of season and were well worth the wait.
Kelly Wong, director of fashion, Lane Crawford:
Favorite Collections: Sacai, Kolor, OAMC and Thom Browne.
Top Trends: Sportswear, technical fabrics and relaxed silhouettes.
Must-Have Item: Cargo pants, camp shirt, lightweight parka/coat.
Best Venue: Maison Margiela, at the brand’s design studio. Staying true to the brand’s DNA, an exhibition of the first Men’s Artisanal collection.
Say Bye-Bye To: Distressed denim, big prints and excessively oversize shapes will become less common in favor of cleaner silhouettes and understated details.
Paris Takeaway: It’s an exciting season with new creative shuffles, injecting newness with the change in direction within brands that create excitement.
Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay and The Room:
Favorite Collections: Dries Van Noten, John Galliano for Margiela, Dior.
Top Trends: Neon, the novelty suit, wide-leg trousers, punchy beachy prints and the tech jacket.
Must-Have Item: Anything with a nod to the Eighties.
Best Venue: Enclosed by a miniature white picket fence, a perfectly cut astro turf lawn with an “Alice in Wonderland” proportioned doll house and garden gnomes came together to create the magical set inside the grand hall of the École des Beaux-Arts where Thom Browne presented his beautifully surreal men’s collection.
Say Bye-Bye to: I’m ready to say goodbye to logomania.
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Le Bon Marché:
Favorite collections: Thom Browne, Off-White, Louis Vuitton, Amiri and Dries Van Noten.
Top Trends: Urban, technical: mobility and functionality have invaded fashion. The technical side of products is being pushed to the fore. Clothing and accessories take on new meaning. The use of more technical materials, with inspiration coming from the outerwear trend and outdoor activities. Inspiration from nature: color palettes, or motifs inspired by earth or stones.
Coming from streetwear, oversize offers new proportions to men’s wear — a suit that’s slightly too big, or wide-leg trousers. The quality of fabric and materials and the way the clothing falls, as a whole gives an impression of nonchalance, a cool attitude. Men are relaxing and owning their look.
Logos and prints, also from streetwear inspire and add freedom to using “allover” and oversize embroidery.
Accessories: Bucket hats, small bags, ski or mountain biking glasses and sneakers.
Must-Have Item: Technical sneakers, between running and hiking boots. Contrasting materials and a focus on accenting technical details. Extra comfortable soles with lots of volume. Oversize shirts.
Say Bye-Bye To: Pants that are too slim — trousers are widening and materials are light and fluid.
Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:
Favorite Collections: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, The Row, Dries Van Noten and Hermès.
Top Trends: Shorts — from incredibly short to oversize and boxy; nylon rain jackets in an array of colors, fabrics and prints; bright florals and embellishment from ready-to-wear and accessories; bright, neon colors; logomania; utilitarian dressing — vests, cross bodies and belt bags with utility pockets, and summer sandals.
Must-Have Item: Dior saddle bag for men; the clear duffel and one of the utility harnesses from Louis Vuitton; from Valentino, the embellished track jackets and the sneakers with the feathers; any of the Pierre Hardy shoes from the Hermès show; the beaded finale coat from Alexander McQueen; the fuchsia nylon blazer at Dries Van Noten; cashmere sweatsuit from The Row in athletic gray.
Best Venue: Louis Vuitton at the Palais Royal.
Open to Buy: We are spending more than anticipated.
Say Bye-Bye To: Pants because clearly we will all be wearing shorts next season.
Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
Favorite Collections: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Thom Browne, Dries van Noten, Off-White and Alexander McQueen.
Top Trends: Luxe sport dominated the runways. From the half zip, the track suit, the Windbreaker, and the jogger in colors and prints. Denim in every finish and treatment. It is the season of color, print and pattern. Bold brights, rainbow and neon feel especially fresh. Artistic expression in water-color prints and patterns. The monochromatic suit in neon, bright pops of colors and neutrals. Vibrant florals. Sequins and shine. Major season for accessories. Sneakers: the runner and high tops look stronger than ever.
Must-Have Item: This season it is all about luxe sport and athletic influences. The half-zip jacket in novelty colors and prints, and the full track suit. The sneaker continues to be the “it” item this season. It was on every runway and there are more options this season that ever before.
Best Venue: Virgil Abloh’s debut collection for Louis Vuitton was incredibly moving. It was symbolic on so many levels. The sentiment and feeling echoed that everyone is welcome, any race, color or nationality. It really hit home with what is going on in the world today.
Paris Takeaway: It has been a very exciting and dynamic Paris Fashion Week. The collections brought a new energy and spirit to men’s fashion with two stellar debut collections from Kim Jones at Dior and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton. The men’s wear landscape is changing and the last few days in Paris set the tone for a new direction.
Jeffrey Kalinsky, vice president, designer fashion director, Nordstrom, and president and founder, Jeffrey:
Favorite Collections: Dior, Dries Van Noten and Valentino.
Top Trends: My favorite trend was that there were lots of colors and lots of prints, there were a lot of florals, too. Logomania continues, and I love this period of logomania.
Must-Have Item: The sneakers at Dior.
Best Venue: I loved the Dior venue, the idea of being outside but covered and what they did with it.
Open to Buy: For us, there’s so much energy in the men’s business right now. Men are buying more and more. It’s the most exciting area in fashion right now. Our budgets are up.
Say Bye-Bye To: I’m not the biggest Eighties fan, but I didn’t see very much of that. There’s nothing I feel I don’t want to see again.
Paris Takeaway: It was one of the most exciting men’s fashion weeks anywhere, ever.
Talent Scouting: Y/Project is something we’re going to carry [for men]. We’ve been watching them for a long time now. I’m quite excited to see what Jacquemus will do.
Alix Morabito, fashion director at Galeries Lafayette:
Favorite Collections: Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton for his color prism, his work in subverting accessories and their functions. Dries Van Noten for the collaboration with Verner Panton and the more sporty silhouette. OAMC for elegance, precision and quality of details in the clothing. And Junya for taking us to childhood with a young boy scout who, like Peter Pan, didn’t want to grow up.
Top Trends: Definitive colors, youth — at times nostalgic.
Must-Have Item: Short-sleeved shirts, vests with pockets, which are something between accessories and rtw. Bermuda shorts, transparent pieces.
Best Venue: The Louis Vuitton catwalk at the Palais Royal, Junya’s tent.
Talent Scouting: Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Uniforme Paris .
Karen Vernet, director of men’s fashion at Printemps
Favorite Collections: Raf Simons, Maison Margiela, Balmain and Y/Project.
Top Trends: Sleeveless tops (knitwear, jersey, leathers); men’s jewelry.
Must-Have Item: Raf Simons deconstructed coat, Dior embroidered shirt, Ambush jewelry and GmbH vinyl pants.
Best Venue: Balmain at the French foreign ministry Quai d’Orsay.
Say Bye-Bye To: Logomania.
Talent Scouting: Nice improvement in Ambush’s collection, Namacheko, GmbH, Boramy Viguier.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion at La Rinascente:
Favorite Collections: Louis Vuitton with Virgil Abloh’s debut, Dior with Kim Jones’ debut, Acne Studios, Alexander McQueen and OAMC.
Must-Have Item: A resort shirt, a wide pant both in a sartorial and denim version, tech-light Bermuda and short-shorts, a [double-breasted] suit in relaxed proportions and an extra-light long printed parka.
Top Trends: Extremely light tech fabrics, outerwear that is long and light, anoraks paired with tech shorts, resort shirts, relaxed tailoring, wide pants, strong colors — like orange and fuchsia paired with beige neutrals or navy blue. Full-color dressing is still present.
Best Venue: Dior at the Garde Républicaine, with the giant flower sculpture by Kaws. Louis Vuitton’s rainbow runway at the Palais Royal gardens was also show-stopping.
Talent Scouting: New brands for us to have are Heron Preston and Alyx, which just had their first show and collaborated with Kim Jones on some of the Dior new accessories details. White Mountaineering delivered another strong collection and we are looking at it, as well as Ambush, which is gathering quite some attention in social media.
Emmanuel de Bayser, co-owner of The Corner:
Favorite Collections: Dries Van Noten, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Loewe.
Top Trends: Oversize sportswear and tailoring, neon colors and patterns, and collaborations.
Must-Have Item: Deconstructed cotton jacket, neon jersey piece and cross-body small bags.
Best Venue: Vuitton’s impressive runway in the Palais Royal, which was grandiose and intimate.
Talent Scouting: Nothing really new and revolutionary, just known designers changing brands and re-creating a new universe for the brand.
Simon Longland, general merchandise manager for men’s wear and sports at Harrods:
Favorite Collections: Dior was my favorite show of Paris, and the season. There were very high expectations, and the show delivered. Kim bought a new lease of life to the house with an elegant softer silhouette. A new era for the Dior man has begun, beautifully.
I also loved Virgil’s new era of Louis Vuitton. Full of new generational injections, the collection was punchy, bold and marked an exciting change for the brand. The collection felt like the wardrobe of many.
Top Trends: Block color and total-print styling was a feature within many collections this season from Alexander McQueen with iconic slim tailoring, Dior with ice-cream hued relaxed suiting and subtle striped separates, Dries Van Noten with the psychedelic looks and finally at Louis Vuitton with an entirely white-washed opening series. Bucket hats cropped up in London and Milan, but they have landed in Paris with a bang.
Must-Have Item: The most influential pieces will be those that are beautifully hybrids: a sartorial garment worked in a technical fabric or a piece whose roots come from sportswear but worked in a luxury fabric and finishes.
Paris Takeaway: This season, more so than ever, spoke to the young — the generations that are buying, Instagramming and social shopping, can make new brands and propel the established; Paris set out to seduce them. Change was in the Parisian air. There was a definite and positive energy across the week.
Best Venue: It is a tie between Louis Vuitton’s Palais Royal gardens, and the juxtaposed rainbow runway and Dior’s spheric setting with the crazy but beautiful Kaws floral installation of Monsieur Dior.
Fiona Firth, buying director at Mr Porter:
Favorite Collections: My favorite collections were Dries Van Noten, Acne, Sacai, AMI, Officine Generale and Amiri.
Top Trends: Color, color, color! Also a lot of florals and graphic prints on the runway. We also saw the return of denim this season and much looser trouser silhouettes.
Must-Have Items: Pleated trousers from Officine Generale, graphic printed shirts from Dries Van Noted, colored knitwear from Amiri and shorts from AMI.
Best Venue: AMI and Officine Generale had the best show venues.
Jack Cassidy, men’s wear buying manager at Selfridges:
Favorite Collections: Walter Van Beirendonck, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Undercover, Balmain and Louis Vuitton.
Top Trends: Neon continues to be everywhere as does color generally, it’s shaping up to be a very bold season. Tailoring was very prominent across most of the shows, which in the age of streetwear and a sportier aesthetic is exciting as it feels relevant to wear a tailored jacket but with a fashion spin or point of difference.
Must-Have Items: Collaboration sneakers were prominent and my favorite was Sacai’s Nike collab.
Talent Scouting: L.A.-based Reese Cooper is a talent we have championed since his first season and we are very excited to launch the collection exclusively in London this July. He does not show on schedule but has a showroom in Paris. Spring was a very confident and developed collection.
Best Venue: Louis Vuitton. Virgil’s use of color created a palpable energy and new beginning that will not soon be forgotten.
Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s for Barneys New York:
Favorite Collections: Junya Watanabe and Officine Générale offered great fresh options for today’s guy who wants something classic with a twist. Both Maison Margiela and Dior delivered over-the-top pieces and an atmosphere of excitement rarely seen on a men’s catwalk.
Top Trends: Destroyed, acid wash denim prevails as a fabric trend complete in Eighties silhouettes. This is by far the strongest season for amazing prints from motifs to marbleized effects, truly something for everyone. The colors of the season are really beautiful and will inspire men to touch on the colors they don’t have in shades of rose to pinks, sky blue to cobalt and turquoise to teal. There is a nice return to tailoring but with a decidedly Eighties silhouette; the low button stance of the two-button double-breasted.
Must-Have Item: The belt/hip bag is clearly the strongest accessory in every collection. Like the new smaller portfolio, these smaller bags are replacing briefcases and backpacks in some cases, in favor of smaller and smaller bags needed since men are carrying less and less as they become dependent solely on mobile devices and less paper.
Best Venue: Sir Paul Smith chose to show at the Elysée Montmartre, located at the foot of the Butte Montmartre, and since its creation in 1807, a hot spot for a night out in Paris. David Bowie, among other greats performed there. The legendary auditorium saw the creation of the French cancan and its majestic and atypical architecture was partly created by Gustave Eiffel.
Talent Scouting: Jil Sander and Martin Grant.