PARIS — Inspired by the energy on the runways, many retailers increased spending on fall collections at the Paris men’s wear trade shows, held here in tandem last week.
Buyers cited oversize pants, longer coats, overshirts, military styles and shearlings as key directions at Capsule Man, Man and Tranoï Homme & Preview.
“The way men are dressing is quite different to how it used to be. Function is an integral part. Everyone wants their wardrobe to work in many different ways,” said Luke Mountain, men’s buying manager at Selfridges, also praising Capsule Man’s new Maison de la Mutualité location. “It’s always a carefully curated selection of brands and the layout is better this season, divided into different environments — not just one big space,” he noted.
Darren Skey, head of men’s wear at Harvey Nichols also hailed the trade show’s more convenient site. Among top picks, Skey listed Peir Wu for its “new take on fashion tailoring;” Second/Layer’s “lovely clean palette and great proportions” and Tourne de Transmission’s “play with proportion and silhouette and some really strong outerwear pieces.”
Enjoying a great season, Tourne de Transmission’s fall offering was also a hit with Addition Adelaide’s executive director Mamiko Hasegawa. She praised the collection, which included a camel kimono coat and an extralarge camel scarf with a denim pocket, for fitting into this season’s oversize, Dutch-influenced, end-of-the-Eighties aesthetic — as seen in her favorite shows: Raf Simons and Balenciaga. “It’s fun for us to mix in a brand like Tourne de Transmission. They’re going in the same direction at a different price point but there’s a connection. The last couple of seasons have been really boring for us — everything was the same, everybody was copying each other and no one cared for the artistic way of fashion. Now we’re really seeing what we’ve been waiting for. It’s very artistic, antimass production.”
The retailers also lauded a return to a more mature look. “There’s a completely different atmosphere. The direction is more classic, less streetwear, less shiny high-tech,” said Eric Degenhardt who was shopping Capsule for his Cologne-based store M/Philippi and named East Harbour Surplus as a favorite.
But not everyone felt as inspired: “For me, if I do something without a name, I need high quality, and that’s hard to find,” said Uwe Maier, general manager of Stuttgart’s high-end store Bungalow Gallery. “Paris is getting a bit less important for me, I’m finding more in London.”
Tranoï Homme inaugurated its new Cité de la Mode home, with a selection focused on women’s pre-collections as well as its new Tranoï Parfums area. Organizers turned the new venue in Paris fashion’s creative hub into one giant concept store, serving up free oysters and Champagne. At Tranoï’s Bourse location, meanwhile, avant garde yet wearable men’s labels, praised by retailers, took the floor.
This was the season where “hardcore style” met “comfort,” according to Bona Kim, senior manager of Seoul-based Lansmere, owned by Samsung C&T. “We’re seeing a meeting of looks. Today a man will wear a very destroyed jean with a very classic coat,” she said, picking The Last Conspiracy’s evolution from hardwearing boots toward a more comfortable boot-sneaker-hybrid as an example.
“This is the best season ever, there’s so much creativity, it’s never been this difficult to decide, ‘Do I go with the new Seventies, Eighties directions — or stick with the old,’ which is selling very well,” said Miro Zwering, owner of Amsterdam’s hip 2PR boutique, browsing military coats and mud brown sweaters at Italian label Overcome. “Everybody is bringing even better quality,” he added, which led him to increase his budget as well.
Among quality collections priced well, cashmere prints at Roberto Collina came in for praise. “They have great cuts at good prices,” noted Kazushi Kimura, chief buyer for The Park, reporting that his sales of designerwear and sweaters are down while classic shoes are up.
Barbara Beernaert, owner of Belgian store Ghent, named Japanese fabrics and minimal clean cuts, the Scottish Highlands — as seen in English fabrics and square prints — the combination of gray, khaki and navy plus lots of stripes as key influences at Tranoï. Beernaert bought all-Italian this season, including the Pomandère men’s and women’s wear and DNL men’s wear.
Noting that technology is less of a talking point this season, Hijiri Endo of Japanese concept store Vekt praised beautiful bonding techniques by Barbara Alan. Presenting their first full men’s collection, the design duo’s stripped-back collection was bought by Isetan which carries the label’s women’s wear. Key pieces included an embossed jacket where wool jersey is bonded to cotton jersey and starts to shape to you as you wear it.
Man showcased a strong collection of heritage brands and emerging talents such as Sunnei, which had a strong selling season, and Avoc, which had buyers stopping by after the media buzz generated from sending models down the runway wearing masks of political figures such as Donald Trump. “Our theme was pirates, so we featured the biggest 21st-century pirates,” said codesigner Bastien Laurent. French knitwear label Monsieur Lacenaire, which showed some of its original, easy-to-wear knitwear in a runway collaboration with White Mountaineering, reported strong demand for its sweaters where knitted points traced a skier’s route.
Many Japanese retailers stayed away due to insurance-related issues following the Paris attacks, although show organizers said many still came — albeit in smaller teams. “We’ve been surprised by the number of Japanese buyers,” said general manager David Hadida. Overall, Tranoï Homme saw footfall up 38 percent, with 11 percent of visitors from Japan.
Next season, for retailers worried about losing time between locations, organizers plan to boat visitors up and down the Seine to Tranoï Bourse. At least this will be one journey where guests won’t have to worry about another Paris taxi strike.