Men’s wear is cresting on a high in Paris, and one luxury group is largely to thank for it. Since the mammoth reshuffle last year that saw four designers donning new hats within LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French capital has enjoyed a men’s wear renaissance.
No fewer than 10 brands joined the official calendar of shows this week. On Saturday morning, guests braved an icy chill and roadblocks — as police braced for another day of demonstrations by gilets jaunes antigovernment protesters — to attend Jonathan Anderson’s debut men’s runway display for Loewe, part of the LVMH stable.
The designer, who previously staged polished presentations for the collection, said it was time to evolve the format to keep pace with the rapidly developing segment. “Men’s wear has quadrupled, so we need to keep showing it evolving. I enjoyed it,” he said after the show at the Maison de l’Unesco.
Known for his magpie sensibility and devotion to craft, Anderson worked an elongated silhouette punctuated with unzipped calfskin waders, which undulated around the leg in a cross between a gaucho rider and an Eighties New Romantic.
Tops, by contrast, were stretchy and lean — from a tunic-like patchwork Liberty print shirt to almost comically oversize polo shirts. There was a plethora of knitwear, from cable-knit pullovers dusted with pebble-like semiprecious stones, to graphic sweaters featuring the erotic line drawings of Keith Vaughan.
“How do you take basics and make them fashionable?” Anderson asked. “If a consumer is going into a store and they want to get the look, they can buy just a knit and they get the full impact of it.”
Also on offer was a new suit shape, a two-button tuxedo style with a gently curved waist and asymmetric satin lapels that he lifted from the women’s collection.
Stylists will no doubt make a beeline for the quirkier propositions: a striped blue dress shirt trimmed with fur; an oversize green quilted neckerchief; a coat made from a patchwork of fringed cashmere scarves, and the pièce de résistance, a shirt printed with an airbrushed portrait of Marilyn Monroe.
“I had to do it. I just thought: something so beautiful, but, like, incredibly tragic,” Anderson explained. “I like that kind of postcard in the show, just to throw the entire thing off. I mean, why not?”
Why not indeed? With its joyful eccentricity, Loewe was a welcome new guest to the men’s runway party.