This morning was decidedly odd for an Englishman in Paris, as it was for the entire UK contingency, who all sat dumfounded after the announcement that the UK had voted to leave the EU. We half expected to be frog-marched to the Eurostar this morning. Instead, we became incredibly apologetic (typically English) and tried to comprehend just who had voted to leave. It was under this cloud of political turmoil that we found ourselves by the Seine at the Cité de la Mode et du Design, in the graffiti-walled underpass, waiting for the Junya Watanabe show to start.
Just like with his women's line, Haider Ackermann has carved a niche for himself in menswear, a territory of luxurious, slouchy, kimono-influenced tailoring with nods to sportswear and an obsession with sloping shoulders and bare ankles.
The staff at Yohji wore the best uniform today, a long line (black of course) shirt split up the sides with the brand name emblazoned on the back and the show date and address. They were perfect Yamamoto, a wry take on modern fashion times.
The hand-cast invitation, a slab of plaster, was quickly understood at show's start. The first few exits looked as though they were made of raw canvas, especially look 8, which resembled a modernized painting smock used in an art studio.
For his spring 2017 offering, Rick Owens' expectedly unexpected set of inspirations included a Hyacinthe Rigaud portrait of Louis XIV, but you'd be hard-pressed to find the slightest trace of nostalgia or historicism in this beautiful collection.
Paris was burning this morning, as we sat under clear plastic sheeting in the beautiful Palais Royal gardens, next to the infamous Buren columns. The blistering heat was a fitting complement to Louis Vuitton's African-tinged collection, which owed as much to the Serengeti plains as it did to Kings Road in 1970s London — which is to say, a heady mash-up of punk, biker, and safari.
"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" read the collectible poster and invitation to Walter Van Beirendonck's show. Cryptic, to say the least, and it was meant to remain so. As the Belgian designer reminded us backstage, the question was first asked by the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, and would be left unanswered.
At Balenciaga's outing today, there was a lot at stake. Not only was it the heritage house's first men's runway show, it also marked designer Demna Gvasalia's own menswear debut at the label, following Alexander Wang's short stint. Would fashion pundits, who've been falling over themselves to flail and swoon at the altar of Gvasalia's main gig, Vetements, flail and swoon again? Or would a sense of reserved decorum prevail, allowing time for the designer to find his footing?
In keeping with what's happening elsewhere in Milan and London, Vivienne Westwood — together with her partner Andreas Kronthaler — continued in her longstanding quest to blur gender lines.
Her diverse men — wearing drapy, droopy, meshy things, mixed with more tailored pieces — were often indistinguishable from a smattering of female models. Not everyone enjoys that sort of engineered confusion, but this was Westwood's territory before the others.