There’s a K-Pop star in town right now, who rocks around in circular mirrored glasses, a top-knot with the sides shaved, and flat-out draped style. Everywhere he goes, he gets mobbed by dozens of screaming fans who beg for photos, autographs, and attention, while onlookers observe with confused expressions. Who is he? Your guess is as good as mine. But here’s the best bit: As soon as security assists him through the teeming throngs, he walks inside the show venues and sits quietly in the second or third row, being bothered by nobody at all. Sometimes, it would seem, it pays to be famous in a very specific territory. That way at least you get a moment’s peace.
First up on day three was Maison Martin Margiela, the Belgian house that can claim as part of its DNA a founder who few people have ever seen, a diffusion collaboration with H&M, and a relentlessly quoted name-drop by Kanye West in the song “N***** in Paris.” Like Rick Owens, Margiela is experiencing much more commercial attention than usual thanks to a few certain high profile hip-hop clients, and, like Rick Owens, today’s collection was more commercial than we’re used to seeing from the brand.
Deconstruction — or pre-construction — was the key to the show, with pants featuring frayed tuxedo stripes, jackets featuring unstitched lapels that hung open revealing the internal structure, and overcoats featuring sleeves that had forgotten to be sewn on. Highlights included the cobalt blue suit with that signature Margiela faux lapel, the bomber jacket in two tones of blue, and all the ecru tailoring, which, in my opinion, is far more wearable in the summer months than plain white.
If you’re going to host a fashion show in Paris, there are far worse locations to consider than Palais de Tokyo, a modern art museum in the 16th arrondissement that boasts a beautiful curved-stone building, a killer book store, and unparalleled views of the Eiffel Tower. We arrived just in time for Juun.J, one of the younger labels on the circuit, which showed a collection of gridiron-inspired sportswear filled with teensy short shorts and jackets with exaggeratedly elongated shoulders.
Conveniently, the next show — Kris Van Assche — was also located at Palais de Tokyo, down some stairs and round the corner. Also the head men’s designer at Dior, KVA has a consistent aesthetic at his namesake label, of an oversize top tucked into slim, tapered pants with a slight drop crotch. It’s a great look that’s easy to get right, and it’s about time he received more attention in the US.
The Belgian designer had anoraks on the mind this season, and almost every outfit he sent out featured a riff on the popover windbreaker. Here was a DB jacket whose lapels ended as they met a zipped pouch pocket, there was a beige trench with epaulettes, buttoned cuffs, and a placket that also ended at the pouch pocket; and for the traditionalists, there were even a couple of standard anoraks, in popping colors like fuchsia or black-and-white polka-dotted cloth. From a wearability point of view, this was my favorite Parisian collection to date.
Over at Berluti we were witness to a room with a view — several, to be exact. The models gazed down on us from the windows of Hotel de Sully, a stately building tucked behind high walls in the Jewish Quarter. As guests roamed around a precisely manicured garden, the young gents watched on, in bowler hats and collegiate striped cardigans. Oxford men, perhaps; English, without doubt. From this grounded vantage point they looked like the guests of a colorful summer party, in shades of dark mustard, brick, cobalt, and plum. All they were lacking was a river to lie beside. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the countryside — or a Friday night in Paris.
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