London’s men’s fashion week is a beacon for new talent and quintessential British tailoring; Milan sets the stage for a host of theatrical Italian designer offerings. But Paris, acknowledged as the fashion capital of the world, does men’s fashion week like no other city, offering an eclectic mix of international brands and French fashion houses, all showing the best that menswear has to offer.
This season was no exception, with some of the world’s best and most fashion-forward designers descending on the French capital and taking over the city’s famous palaces, galleries and hip warehouse spaces. From this fashion melting pot emerged trends that will be dictating international men’s fashion in the coming months.
Black is back
It would be hard to deny that the key colour for autumn/winter 2015 is black. Used as both a foundation and a focus, black dominated collections by some of the most influential Parisian designers, including Givenchy. The brand sent models down the catwalk with faces adorned with glitter and ghostly skulls, making it clear there was a strong gothic aesthetic at play.
The most explicit sign of a new gothic wave was the opening look of American designer Thom Browne. A sharp-suited, veiled undertaker led a funeral cortège of models, all dressed in impeccably tailored suits, their porcelain-white faces just visible under black lace veils. Other designers’ gothic creations were similarly striking. Japanese brand Julius presented a collection of padded down jackets with fastenings reminiscent of straitjackets and peaked shoulders that combined to create a menacing look.
While some collections worked to a strictly monochrome colour palette, others contrasted their largely black collections with occasional bursts of bright colour. The collection of German-Persian designer Boris Bidjan Saberi featured oversized black caped coats paired with bright red leather boots, gloves and deerstalker caps, while pinafore aprons in the same shade of shocking red were tied over understated, all-black tailoring. Parisian streetwear label Andrea Crews delivered an array of sports luxe-inspired pieces in black and orange, while Damir Doma, also based in Paris, selected yellow as its colour of choice, matching sunshine-bright, ultra-thin knits with loose, high-waisted grey slacks and black wool overcoats.
The label that truly mastered the bright-on-black trend was Saint Laurent. This season’s collection by creative director Hedi Slimane included a metallic silver raincoat worn over an entirely black ensemble that featured a pair of eyebrow-raising, androgynous patent leather heeled boots. The label also debuted a show-stopping pink fur coat paired with Saint Laurent’s trademark drainpipe-cut leather trousers – a look that epitomised the trend.
When the runways of Paris men’s fashion week weren’t focused on black, a distinctly bohemian attitude was making waves across the city. Japanese designer Christian Dada led the charge, with patchwork fur coats, check flannel and suede panelled denim. Kolor and Miharayasuhiro both evoked a 1970s bohemian vibe: Miharayasuhiro presented an array of patchwork denim, while Kolor sent models down the runway with extra-wide scarves draped over shoulders and arms in a style reminiscent of boho ponchos.
True to form, it was Parisian fashion house Melindagloss that fully embraced the French bohemian aesthetic. In a grand townhouse on the banks of the Seine, the label presented models in loose cut, double-breasted tailoring, flowing overcoats and capes, and skull-hugging beanie caps: a modern reinvention of boho chic.
No men’s fashion week would be complete without a plethora of sharp suiting, and elegant tailoring once again proved one of the biggest trends this season. Italian luxury stalwart Valentino debuted its geometric-patterned collection with a selection of check suits in browns, creams and blues. Matching glittering green shirt, jacket and trousers emblazoned with hundreds of tiny four-leaf clovers helped to close the show. The Paul Smith label injected British sartorial style into proceedings with its take on contemporary tailoring, including the surprising return of the over pronounced shoulder pad. Belgian designer Dries Van Noten’s ivory double-breasted tuxedo drew nods of admiration from those in the front row.
However, it was French fashion powerhouse Dior that reigned supreme with its collection of superbly cut formalwear. The classic three-piece tuxedo was updated by razor-sharp, pleated straight-cut trousers worn with single-breasted one-button and double-breasted two-button tuxedo jackets adorned with floral badges. Similarly, the label’s outerwear offering saw classic coats brought up to date with an ankle-skimming overcoat in deep plum. Shorter coats featured houndstooth with navy and neon-yellow detailing catching the eye, before the arrival of a show-stopping yellow printed overcoat – the collection’s biggest statement.
By playing host to some of the most diverse and innovative menswear designers from across the globe, Paris men’s fashion week has marked itself out as the place to turn to for the latest trends in men’s fashion design. And while the trends may be as diverse as the designers on the schedule, it’s clear that the gothic, bohemian and tailored looks that triumphed in the fashion capital are set to take the menswear world by storm.