Paris was still gripped by ongoing pension strikes but the men’s fall 2020 collections did not stand still. From the “dreamy cloudscape” of Louis Vuitton to a reimagined Japanese restaurant for Doublet, via Ami’s Parisian scenery and Craig Green’s pristine white box, brands endeavored to take their audiences away despite constant gridlock and interrupted public transports.
“The public transportation strike has severely affected how we move around this city. It has greatly inhibited the amount of shows and showrooms I’m able to attend, forcing uncomfortable choices,” said Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
Nonetheless, the new suit and glamour emerged among the standout trends in the French capital, while sustainability and fluidity opened new creative vistas across the board. Buyers lauded the efforts of heavy-hitters like Kim Jones for Dior and Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino, while homegrown talents like Officine Générale or Casablanca stood alongside Londoner Craig Green, who showed for the first time in town.
Emmanuel de Bayser, co-owner of The Corner Berlin, said while in Paris, he focused on “strong, recognizable key show looks” and felt excited by the fact there was “a lot of creativity and some very good energy.”
As the calendar moves on to couture, buyers from around the world sound off on their favorite collections, items they’ll just have to have and what fresh talent they have their eye on.
Roopal Patel, Saks Fashion Director:
Favorite collections: The new directions of Dior’s Kim Jones and Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh lean toward sartorial style and set a new tone from the streetwear culture that has been dominating the runways these last few seasons. Both delivered standout collections. Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli collection was another favorite of the week. The fall collection explored tailoring and couture-like details, speaking to a new generation of Valentino customers.
Best venue: Louis Vuitton at the Jardin des Tuileries brought dreamy, cloud-scape interiors as a backdrop of an all-white collection.
Top trends: The new suit is a fresh take on tailoring and dominated the runways in a wide assortment or fabrics, colors and prints. Corduroy acted as the base fabric for fall in a rich, autumnal palette of chocolate, burgundy, hunter green, rust and gray. There is no shortage of eye-catching outerwear this season. From puffers, to toppers, to vests, statement outerwear was a staple in many collections. Leather took form in many styles including minimalistic styles, oversize totes and boots in a variety of silhouettes.
Talent scouting: CFDA Vogue Fund winner Reese Cooper is on the rise.
Must-have item: The new suit, a take on modern-day tailoring.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Streetwear and logomania are making their way out.
Shoji Uchiyama, fashion director and buyer, United Arrows men’s division:
Favorite collections: Unfortunately, I couldn’t see many shows this time, but I felt very powerful at the Sacai show.
Top trends: I felt that the mood was going traditional, particularly with the use of new and modern British traditional styles using tartan, herringbone and Glen check.
Must-have item: The zip is everywhere, so items with them will be a must. Plaid patterns used with a British sensitivity will also be strong, as will be shorter-length blousons.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Anything way too oversize, and the overly streetwear look.
Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus:
Favorite collections: Craig Green’s debut show in Paris was nothing short of extraordinary. He’s a true artist who elicits the most emotional responses from those present to witness his artful, expansively imaginative collections. His bold color and sculptural take on utilitarian materials and workwear shapes never ceases to astound me and he also possesses the great gift of being able to translate these ethereal, breathtaking constructions into imminently wearable and covetable garments. I thought Kim Jones’ tribute collection to Judy Blame at Dior was phenomenal. It was the epitome of this general elevation and rediscovered sophistication we’re seeing in men’s wear, adding rich embellishment and a dash of opulence that has been a big statement here in Paris.
Pierre Mahéo continues to create terrific wardrobe-driven Officine Générale collections filled with great items and looks that men want to wear. There is a relaxed, elegant ease to it that I find absolutely appealing and our customer loves it.
Valentino’s very elegant floral-infused collection, with decorative elements mixed with the sleek sartorial pieces, was beautiful and sophisticated.
Mike Amiri continues to refine his west coast rock and roll aesthetic, still honoring his inspiration and the brand’s roots in the Sunset Boulevard scene. There was a nice sexiness to this Seventies inflected collection with just the right amount of evening-appropriate tailoring and easy, cool sportswear. And I loved the introduction of jewelry in this season that has been filled with embellishment.
Best venue: Louis Vuitton’s surrealistic dream-like setting was beautiful, elaborate and immersive. Surprisingly, Craig Green’s pristine bright white box of a setting made the perfect canvas for his extraordinarily artful collection. Here, the clothing made the venue.
Top trends: We continue to see men’s wear moving along its path to elevation and elegance. The sartorial influence has been unmistakable throughout the season. And the appearance of neckties has been refreshing, from Off-White and Louis Vuitton to Officine Générale. Dressing up feels good! I also really like the embellishment we’re seeing with the addition of layered jewelry, especially necklaces and decorative pieces applied to clothing. Dior’s jewelry statement was opulent and I really liked the signet ring necklaces worn by every model at Sacai as well as the decorative treatments on clothing at Bode, Loewe and also Dior. Outerwear is also looking more sophisticated with more tailored coats in traditional and more oversize shapes looking great. Sustainability continues to be a pervasive message and I really appreciate when it is approached creatively as at Greg Lauren with his new GL Scraps collection made from recombined and patched fabrics and featuring really clever, artisanal collectible pieces.
Corduroy as a fabrication seems most compelling when used in a casual tailored way.
Must-have item: A tailored coat, an evening suit, a statement boot, a casual corduroy jacket and a jewelry piece or two or three.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Traffic. The public transportation strike has severely affected how we move around this city. It has greatly inhibited the amount of shows and showrooms I’m able to attend, forcing uncomfortable choices.
Karen Vernet, director of men’s fashion and e-business development, Printemps:
Favorite collections: Love at first sight: Lanvin!
Best venue: Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Off-White, Phipps, Lanvin, Givenchy, Dior, Homme Plissé, Namacheko, Craig Green, Sacai.
Top trends: Officewear and formalwear, vintage, sustainability, “save the planet”, pink, burgundy, brown, beige, blue, black, nature, unisex and coed, fashion and poetic looks.
Must-have item: Suits, parkas, fake fur coats, knit, rose, neck bag, cross-body bags.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Streetwear.
Talent scouting: Reese Cooper, Bode, Boramy Viguier, Botter, Henrik Vibskov, Rhude.
Justin Berkowtiz, Bloomingdale’s men’s fashion director:
Favorite collections: This week, we have been really lucky to see some incredible collections. As the wave of logo-mania comes to an end, it has forced both designers and retailers to think more critically about what is being made and what is being bought; I dare say we’re seeing better product this week for it and I hope that we’ll see that translate to shop floors come fall.
The conversation around gender is impossible to miss; though it’s happening today, I cannot help but think about the 19th century dandy, Against the Grain, and Oscar Wilde. We’re lucky to live in time when men who have a deep appreciation for aesthetic concerns are celebrated. Back to the now: Kim Jones’ Dior collection, shown on the Place Concorde, is going to be remembered. A few years ago, a menswear collection whose highlights included moire taffeta, opera gloves, and pearls would have been inconceivable. On Friday, it not only felt groundbreaking; it felt right and it felt cool. Clare Waight Keller joined the conversation with a stellar collection at Givenchy: she knows how to cut a beautiful jacket, and she made quite the compelling case for a purple suit. And lastly, Rick Owens’ ode to David Bowie approached the conversation somewhat differently — but who wouldn’t want to be swathed in top to toe cashmere, or lounge in striped silk pj’s?
Having a slightly different conversation, one perhaps more approachable for a customer not yet ready for that taffeta, are two hometown heroes: Pierre Mahéo at Officine Générale and Isabel Marant. Both showed collections that are immediately covetable, wearable and useful. These are not clothes built for the fantasy of a runway, but for the reality of the sidewalk; they’re created for practicality and everyday wear. Mahéo’s artful layering and unexpected styling is somehow both timeless and of the now; Marant’s designs are both novel and instant classics.
Best venue: Ami’s show at Le Trianon was my first stop in Paris — literally, straight from Orly — and it was the perfect start of the week. We are so lucky to see some incredible spaces, and this little theater, so quintessentially French, was the perfect set for Alexandre Mattiussi’s rooftop mise-en-scène.
Top trends: It’s maybe a little ironic that in a week when the conversation on gender felt top of mind, we also saw a return of the men’s wardrobe staple: the suit. Updated with a drop shoulder, an unexpected fabric, or an embellished treatment, tailoring is officially back. This has also been a great season for statement knitwear: whether highly textured with cables, ribs, or fluff, or with graphic impact.
And finally, leather — short or long, always slick, and inspired by the Seventies or Nineties, has been a strong through line.
Must-have item: We’re going to be seeing a lot of Dior’s Fragonard intarsia sweater next fall.
Talent scouting: Reese Cooper and Nanushka, both relatively new entrants to the Paris Fashion Week scene, have shown strong collections.
Lee Goldup, men’s wear buyer, Browns:
Favorite collections: Dior, Sacai, Craig Green, Bode, Casablanca.
Best venue: Casablanca.
Top trends: There were many continuations — the smarter aesthetic was still very prominent with lots of tailoring alongside long coats below the knee with statement knitwear and leather. The whole season presented a cleaner silhouette.
Must-have item: Everything from Dior, particularly the Dior x Nike Jordan collab.
What are you saying goodbye to?: We have definitely seen a move away from streetwear. Fall 2020 was much more refined.
Jeffrey Kalinsky, vice president, designer fashion director, Nordstrom, and president and founder, Jeffrey:
Favorite collections: Dior, Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, Valentino, Sacai.
Top trends: To me, the big headline trend was the return to glamour. There was a thread of glamour that ran through every collection. It’s a real shift, and I think there are holes in our customers’ closets that are going to be filled.
Must-have item: I wouldn’t let fall go by without something in an animal print. I loved the animal print at Dries Van Noten.
Best venue: There’s nothing like going to a Dior show on the Place de la Concorde for the ultimate Paris Fashion Week experience.
Budgets: Because there is such an offering and because business is quite good, our budgets are very open.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion at La Rinascente:
Favorite collections: Dior Men, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Loewe, JW Anderson, Dries Van Noten. Jacquemus, which went completely viral, was a coed show and women’s was so strong it slightly overshadowed men’s.
Best venue: So many that it’s hard to choose! I loved the live performances at Valentino (FKA Twigs) and Off-White (tap dancer), but my favorite was Louis Vuitton, which had us immersed in the clouds.
Top trends: Suiting and tailoring, but in a relaxed way. A softer side of men that embraced feminine details, such as jewels, like pearls and brooches, flowers, capes, shoulder bags, heels. This is now not only a niche, but proposed by many brands.
Must-have item: Capes or mantel details in outerwear, double-breasted, long straight coats and double-breasted suiting. There was a slight return of sneakers on the runway, but boot and lace-up shoes, with thick soles and a combat feel, are the most in-trend. Bombers and cargo details were very much present, paired to tailoring. On a completely different spectrum — jewels like brooches and heeled booties are a must.
Talent scouting: There are many new brands we are looking at. Botter — it was the first show for them — and I particularly appreciated the couture-like feel of suiting and sportswear mixed together. Bode, for the delicate and crafty aesthetic. Ludovic de Saint Sernin, for its provocative genderless look. Li-Ning — we loved the sneakers and the energy of the show.
Emmanuel de Bayser, co-owner of The Corner Berlin:
Favorite collections: Dior, Loewe, Dries Van Noten, Amiri.
Best venue: Dior at Place de la Concorde [giving] contrast and beauty of past and present.
Top trends: Punk, masculine bohemian, tailoring, a lot about the styling, feminine details.
Must-have item: Seventies zip or Eighties combat boots, the jacket, a women’s accessory to pimp up the look.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Nothing, really. We have very different types of customers, and there should be something for everyone: edgy fashionista, bohemian bourgeois, soccer player, businessman.
Talent scouting: We will check Casablanca again.
Sam Kershaw, buying manager at Mr Porter:
Favorite collections: Bode’s playful and colorful collection stood out during the Paris shows with shirts and jackets embroidered with animals and outwear and trousers covered in memento patches. The brand first launched on Mr Porter for fall 2019 and has been a huge hit with our customers since. Sacai and Undercover were also highlights with collections that played on elements of uniform and utility with a bold sense of layering.
Best venue: The Rochas show at Hôtel de Béhague, which houses the Romanian embassy.
Top trends: Extralong overcoats, knitwear worn as outerwear, tall boots and chunky soles.
Must-have item: Gabriela Hearst’s recycled cashmere cardigan coat.
Chris McIlroy, head of men’s wear, Harvey Nichols
Favorite collections: Dior, Amiri, Casablanca.
Top trends: Double-breasted Jackets, bell-bottom trousers, chunky statement knits. Leather trenchcoats.
Must-have item: Double breasted jackets, a statement knit.
Best venue: Casablanca at the Intercontinental Opera, the ballroom was incredibly decadent.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Chunky sneakers, at last it could be over.
Talent scouting: Bossi Sportswear, designer Alex Bossi brings his authentic East Boston upbringing into his collection to create a refreshing take on contemporary fashion.
Damien Paul, head of men’s wear, Matchesfashion:
Favorite collections: Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Loewe, Craig Green.
Top trends: South Western inspiration — boots, cowboy hats, Tailoring, Office inspired workwear, knit vests, perverse and provocative details — leather, plastics, latex.
Must-have item: A big boot.
Best venue: Espace Niemeyer where Namacheko and Ann Demeulemeester held their shows. Beautifully brutalist and incredibly evocative of a certain period of architecture.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Transport strikes. It difficult to get a taxi or find your car and then the traffic was tortuous.
Talent scouting: There was lots of interest and excitement across Paris and we’re always on the lookout for new designers. Watch this space.
Nelson Mui, fashion merchandising director, Lane Crawford:
Favorite collections: Dior, Jacquemus, Sacai, Amiri — we have seen explosive growth in Amiri with our customers.
Top trends: A continued return to a more polished aesthetic…as seen with brands like Amiri, which are adding more refined or tailored looks and coats.
Tailoring, oversize and fluid are trends we’ve seen coming over from women’s, but they haven’t really caught on commercially yet, but we are testing and monitoring. Outdoor/mountaineering/rustic themes — the whole Patagonia and camping vibe. Fleece/shearling outerwear and vests, shearling/fleece details or blocking. Beige/neutrals and creamy colors. Shirt jackets. Corduroy.
Must-have item: The fleece and shearling blocked knits and bombers from Sacai; the linen pieces from Jacquemus, the wide leg pants from Jacquemus. Leather pants and separates (i.e., shirts) that have crossed over from women’s the past two seasons. Small body bags or accessories incorporated [into] or layered over ready-to-wear.
Simon Longland, head of men’s wear at Harrods:
Favorite collections: Dior was the show of the season; a tribute to the late Judy Blame, the couture techniques and details resulted in a collection of outstanding beauty that also felt modern and utterly desirable. Amiri, Loewe and Valentino also showcased impeccably curated collections of rich detail and identity.
Top trends: Tailoring was evident in almost every show, increasing the spectrum of the style from streetwear all the way to formal high fashion. Amiri celebrated the Seventies with leather pieces, particularly trousers, roll-neck layering and a wash of neutrals and muted colors.
To offset the formality of the tailored aesthetic, which was prominent throughout the season, there was an increase of utilitarian workwear, for example at Craig Green who experimented with soft padding layering against the contrast of his signature industrial styling.
Statement knitwear: chunky jumpers, cardigans big enough to be coats, with many designers including a big knit in ivory into their collections.
This season was full of daring and detailed looks that caught the eye, head to toe color blocking in black and tan or bold, bright colors was only amplified by dramatic outwear pieces such as capes or super long coats. Loewe’s take on the caped coat in navy and olive was the perfect example of a statement but highly wearable option. Many designers also used statement knitwear to enhance their outwear offering, chunky jumpers and cardigans big enough to be coats.
The buy for next season will focus on delivering the main trends and directions from the shows, including tailoring, leather, knitwear and statement coats.
Must-have item: Next season, modern and sharp tailoring will be the versatile must-have look for every wardrobe, dressed up or down, Dior, Lanvin and Amiri executed this perfectly and in their own signature styles. Chunky and oversize knits, particularly in ivory flooded the runway this season and should be on everyone’s “most wanted” lists.
Best venue: Berluti’s takeover of Opéra Garnier was beautiful and invited us into the most spectacular interior in Paris.
Josh Peskowitz, men’s fashion director at Moda Operandi:
Favorite collections: Craig Green, Dior Men, Bode, Officine Générale.
Top trends: Oversize outerwear is “big” trend. As is the incorporation of tailored silhouettes. Lots of color and fabrics with sheen, including pink and petrol blue. Non-gender dressing.
Must-have item: A belted overcoat.
Best venue: Jacquemus’ stadium-size blow-out in La Défense Arena.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Wearing all black (even Yohji went red.)
Talent scouting: Angelo Urrutia’s new line is exceptionally good.
Homer Chou, merchandising manager at Translatio, who buys for SKP Select:
Favorite collections: Highlights are OAMC and Raf Simons since Luke Meir has been working in Jil Sander for few seasons, he now is exploring more luxury and sophisticated fabric to implement in OAMC with oversized, fluid and strong layering design.
Raf Simons has a strong category in outerwear with brilliant experimental tailoring details running through the whole collection.
Best venue: Doublet show was in a gallery but set up in a Japanese cafeteria scene and all models carry wagyu beef or veggies like accessories with a very joyful and fascinating vibe.
Top trends: We can see the loose and boxy silhouette still continues in fall 2020, at the same time streetwear trend is shifting to tailoring with more sophisticated design and material, for instance, A-Cold-Wall, Ambush, Amiri.
Must-have item: You definitely can’t miss anything related to shearling, oversize overcoat and blazer, and twisted bomber jacket, they should be in your must-have shopping list in fall 2020.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Balmain
Talent scouting: Hed Mayner. After LVMH Prize, he didn’t leave fashion crowds’ sight. He is still focusing on what he has been doing and exploring even deeper in material research, stretching knits into a cocoon shape in a jumpsuit, and many other boxy blazers or oversize outerwear in a very subtle color tone. It looks simple but luxurious.
Michael Mok, general merchandising manager at Joyce:
Favorite collections: This season, some designers liked to mix feminine elements into the men’s collection to create a new look – among these Loewe, Raf Simons, Dries Van Noten, Hed Mayner and Ludovic de Saint Sernin.
Best venue: The samurai art performance from Undercover is the most impressive show for this season.
Top trends: We see a lot of modern glamorous style on the runway. Denim/jeans are also the key items that can tone down the glamorous style for a more daywear look.
Must-have item: Statement accessories, such as big necklaces/bags or gloves are a key trend this season. We can find them on many runways, such as Dries van Noten, Dior Men, Sacai, JW Anderson, etc.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Less streetwear-inspired and oversize collections in 2020.
Talent scouting: Bode, Hed Mayner and Botter are still very strong this season.
Eric Young, owner of Le Monde De SHC:
Favorite collections: I like Botter and see romantic elements in its contemporary atheistic. The finishing is great, too. I also liked Phipps. It’s very different from what everyone else is doing. Hermès has some unexpected sexy vibes. I like the coats and blazers they introduce this season.
Best venue: The ballroom of the Intercontinental hotel. Casablanca picked a great location to amplify its brand image, and it was a convenient location for me too, given the hectic Paris traffic.
Top trends: Shirts with luxurious details. After a wave of streetwear influence, fine cuts and craftsmanship are making a strong comeback.
Must-have item: Look 29 from Botter. It is a great example, where tradition meets the street.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Anything neon.
Talent scouting: This new men’s wear brand called Winnie, the first season in Paris, but their stuff is amazing.
Olivia Chen, buying manager at Assemble by Réel:
Best venue: The re-created restaurant at Doublet.
Top trends: Embossed leather, monochrome, tailoring, acid wash/dye, sustainable fashion.
Talent scouting: Botter
Mario Grauso, President, Holt Renfrew:
Favorite collections: Dior’s tribute to Judy Blame was one of those shows where everyone in the audience wants at least three pieces in their own closet immediately. Perfect tailoring, exceptional outerwear, and amazing accessories. Louis Vuitton had you thinking from the moment your backwards clock invitation arrived. Ruffled tailoring, cloud print classics, and some surreal plays on Vuitton classics.
Best venue: The best venue was Louis Vuitton’s surrealist cloud dream in the Tuileries, with oversized models of tools used by the house’s expert craftsmen.
Top Trends: Over-the-top outerwear in ultra-luxurious fabrications were seen all over the runway this season, like the luxe leathers at Louis Vuitton and the tromp l’oeil mink trucker jacket at Dior. Fluorescent clothing and accessories in bright hues, from the color-blocked versions at Berluti, where green houndstooth top coats were layered over bright pink pieces, to the bold accessories at Louis Vuitton. Designers channeled couture’s past on the runways and used beading and embellishment to make a statement, like Dior’s closing silver-metal feather embroidered coat. Mixed media livened up tailoring, with layered bold menswear patterns, colors, and prints at CDG Homme Plus or the sporty tweed and technical versions at Junya Watanabe. Smartened-up tailoring was everywhere in Paris with plays on traditional office and formal attire updated with leather suspenders and cummerbunds featuring utilitarian details at Louis Vuitton, and neckwear paired with navy chalk stripe jackets at Hermès.
Must-have item: Puffer in black, gray, and white stripes at Valentino; Paisley camel double breasted overcoat at Dior; Pirelli mixed-media coat at Junya Watanbe; Fluorescent green houndstooth overcoat at Berluti; Zip-front creepers at CDG; Fluorescent pink bent duffle at Louis Vuitton; Clear, layered raincoat at Rick Owens; Tan leather popover at Hermès.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Traffic jams and flash mob protests in Paris.
Clara Cornet, Creative and merchandising director, Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées:
Favorite Collections: Dior Homme, Craig Green.
Best venue: Casablanca’s flamboyant Ballroom at the Intercontinental.
Top trends: Suiting, worn with unbuttoned jacket or even skin bare.
Must-have item: Illustrated knitwear.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Logomania.
Talent scouting: Eli Russel Linnetz, the debut collection for ERL.