PARIS – Hermes led the pack on Saturday’s installment of Paris Fashion Week as its veteran menswear designer, Veronique Nichanian, delivered an atypical glam rock twist to her luxuriant wares.
There was no far-flung concept, gimmick or muse, unlike in most Paris shows, because none was needed. Nichanian - who’s been at the helm of this family-run business for an incredible 34 years - is an expert at letting the clothes do the talking.
Meanwhile, an off-kilter fun fare greeted guests at the Loewe show. They trod through sand and walked under 4,000 multicolored satin ribbons of different lengths -- a site-specific artwork -- to find their seats.
Minimalism is emerging as one of the key themes of this entire fall-winter season. Here are some highlights of menswear 2022 displays:
LOEWE’S SURREAL UNIVERSE
Disconcerting music evoked a sort of dangerous playground as the clothes started getting displayed on Loewe's sandy runway. “Nothing is as it seems,” the house said of the bewitching display.
Jonathan Anderson, the Spanish heritage brand’s designer, said he wanted to disrupt the normal and everyday with this surreal universe.
He gave staple fall-winter items a twist, blowing up a pair of dark, round-toe boots, for example, to almost clown-like proportions.
A white T-shirt and black shorts became abstract works of art with huge circular hoops inserted at the hems to create the illusion that the model had been diagonally cut through his center.
A minimalist and oversized coffee-colored coat looked sober enough from the front. But when the model turned, the garment had a twin circular motif in the middle that resembled a shiny posterior and inspired guests to snap their cameras.
Nichanian let her hair down at her Left Bank show for Hermes, infusing the typically high fashion designs with a subtle yet distinct 1980s kick.
Sheeny gunmetal leather riding boots accessorized zipper-filled loose bomber jackets. High waists on pleated wool pants cut a contrast with retro bucket hats that sloped down.
The contradictions in style represented what the house said was Nichanian’s “heartfelt desire for oxymorons and sophistication.”
Hermes has become a byword for simple, unpretentious luxury. With panache, the veteran menswear designer proved the adage accurate in this classy and masculine showing.
The collection featured a bolder color palette flecked with browns, bronzes, and what the house poetically termed “peppers, pewter, coniferous and lettuce green (and) frost blue.”
LGN GETS NOSTALGIC FOR CLUBBING
French writer Charles Baudelaire was the creative starting point for up-and-coming French designer Louis Gabriel Nouchi, who launched his brand LGN five years ago after first getting noticed by the Hyeres fashion and photography festival.
Minimalism is key in understanding the aesthetic of this trendy brand, which just opened a boutique in the hipster rue Oberkampf area in Paris.
Nouchi said he aimed to have a “modern reflection” on Baudelaire’s book “Artificial Paradises,” which examines 19th century hedonism and drugtaking’s effects on the body. The designer used it to explore nostalgia for nightclubs have been closed in France during the pandemic.
The LGN collection featured lots of exposed skin, shades, leotards and loose shirts and tops that seemed to drip down the models like sweat. More literally, at one point there were real fake sweat stains created on one sweatshirt.
Colors were dark and restrained - often monochrome - and broken up only by the odd flame-colored flash of foulard print. Handlebar mustaches on a near-naked model with slashed white underwear evoked the heady narcotic heights of a drug-fueled festival.
AURALEE IS HUGGABLE
“Light, bright, luminous,” was a rather unusual fall-winter mantra for Auralee.
Yet the Tokyo-based brand imagining a sun peeking out from snowy skies -- rather than channeling autumn in mood or color palette -- made for a nice seasonal change, especially amid the low, gray Paris sky.
The pastel grays and browns, dark vanilla and celestial blues that blossomed down the Auralee runway were among the most beautiful hues seen all week. The colors were used in tonal harmony on well-executed outfits that had a great, pared-down simplicity.
The Japanese house, founded in 2015 by Ryota Iwai, is known for using premium materials from all over the world. The ones used in the collection displayed Saturday gave garments a really luxurious feel. Myriad tweeds mixed with wool silk alpaca herringbone, wool cashmere organic cotton, “hairy” mohair knit and textured baby camel melton.
It was one of the season’s most huggable displays.