PARIS (AP) — Loewe pushed Paris Fashion Week into a bleak and dystopian vision of the future on Saturday — turning the runway into a dead space where nature and animal life existed only to be exploited and exploited by humanity. A cleaned white wall descended on a bare deck as models robotically walked by, bathed in misty white light.
Here are some highlights of the Spring-Summer 2023 menswear collections:
LOEWE’S NATURAL MORTE
Models carried plates of television screens showing deep-water fish in the ocean, and plasma screen visors radiated growing chrysanthemums. The only place where grass grew in designer Jonathan Anderson’s fashion dystopia was literally out of shoes, where green blades twitched and fluttered surreally as the vending machines passed by.
The British designer used the remarkable set and concept not only as a springboard for some of the most successful designs seen this season, but to make a thoughtful note about ecology and humanity’s disdain for the natural world. If we continue, Anderson warned, that world will be destroyed and the only way to see bees is on video.
The organic versus the robotic was explored in Anderson’s conceptual designs that were deliberately aberrant. A white minimalist sweater had excess sleeves that fluttered limply to the side of the model, atop white sports leggings and loafers sprouting from 10 centimeters (4 inches) of grass clumps.
Bare chests and legs exposed fragility, while hard bags with square straps over the shoulder added a contrasting ferocity. But the piece de resistance must have been the gigantic mustard shoes that looked like a horse’s hooves, but could equally have come from the set of a “Star Wars” planetary village. A tour de force!
THE ART OF INVITATION
The art of chic inviting is still an important part of the luxury industry in Paris.
Homes compete for the most eye-catching, inventive and flamboyant show invites, often delivered by gas-guzzling couriers to the personal or professional address of each guest with little regard for the climate.
The small works of art sometimes give a hint of what a collection has in store; other times they are just crazy.
Louis Vuitton’s sent a huge board game — something akin to a trendy snakes and ladders — for its invitation to a show that immerses guests in the late designer Virgil Abloh’s creative universe.
For Dior’s flower-inspired show, the house sent flower seeds planted by a fashion reporter that have already produced sprouts.
But Loewe’s “invitation” was certainly the most bizarre: a floppy box of real watercress growing in soil.
CRAIG GREEN IMPRESSES
British designer Craig Green, who this year was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to fashion, is a menswear designer who continues to impress.
On Saturday, he brought his London utensils back to the Paris catwalk for an inventive, fashionable take on uniforms.
Green developed his groundbreaking aesthetic after internships with the likes of Walter van Beirendonck and Henrik Vibskov, leading to collaborations with Moncler.
Dangling stirrups, belts, pockets and accessories saw equestrian and fencing wear in pastel shades deconstructed with a transgressive or even aggressive edge.
Green deftly blurred the line between art and fashion. A DIY look — with a top that resembled an inverted sink with a construction ladder on the back — also evoked an armor breastplate.
Is Green steadily taking over the mantle of the late Alexander McQueen?
THE SOFT GEOMETRY OF HERMES
Soft geometry and loose proportions paraded across the cobblestone of The Gobelins Manufactory, a historic carpet factory on Paris’ chic Left Bank.
Hermes has become synonymous with simple, unpretentious luxury. Veteran menswear designer Veronique Nichanian, who has been at the design helm for more than three decades, proved once again this Saturday in a stylish and masculine show that riffed on the 1980s.
It was a more relaxed affair than usual, with contemporary take on Roman sandals and boxy, comfy baggy shorts.
There were the expected studies in contrasts. Tensions appeared in the proportions, such as in an oversized pastel gray jacket worn over a low-slung cardigan and high shorts. There was a difference in fabric structures and colours: a shiny taupe shirt was placed under a honeydew leather jacket above supple black trousers.
Soft geometric lines adorned wool sweaters in countless shades.
There was no widespread concept, gimmick or muse, unlike most Parisian shows, simply because none was needed.