For the Kinfolk reading aesthetes, the “hipster camping” phenomenon is a very real goal – the outdoorsy version of you who smokes a beautifully hand-crafted pipe and is casually confident about making corn bread in a Dutch oven. In Paris, designers took these aspirational dreams and made them real, from the sherbet-coloured headscarf and necklace of golden driftwood at Loewe (a psychedelic gap year) and Balmain’s Hunger Games-esque traveller (a mirror-covered poncho and coloured beads worn with gladiator sandals) to the Chapman Brothers’ safari animal imagery for Louis Vuitton. Acne’s collection included giant rain jackets cut to triangular tent-like shapes, creating an A-line silhouette. Inspired by languorous Swedish summers and the joy of triangles, this was a pyramid scheme we could totally get behind.
Hans Christian Andersen
There was an undertow of Andersen-esque, disturbing fairytales at the Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus show. Among complicated weaves of Edward Scissorhands-style hair crowns and see-through trench coats was the logo: “The King Is Naked” emblazoned in a felt-tip pen font on a plastic vest top. A message from Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes that, considering the extremity of the collection, was both tongue in cheek and a little bit defiant. Meanwhile, Rick Owens, master of body horror and shock, did the anti-Owens. His collection featured soft layered-robe outfits in shades of white, cream and yellow that looked like marshmallowy flowers. He was toying with the Andersen-esque themes of transformation (the show invite featured a man morphing into a walrus) and eco-human unity (several versions of Neil Young’s environmentally-themed After the Goldrush played on an extended loop). Very Little Mermaid.
The deconstruction of the suit was a big talking point on the catwalks in Paris. Patchwork was the new uniformity. Broken suits were made from odd scraps of material sewn together which played on concepts of utility and recycling. At Maison Margiela the suits were worn with the cutting design lines still in evidence, while the jackets were styled half off-the-shoulder with the zip undone. Collars were cut off at the back, sleeves were pulled out from under a shirt and belts of material were left dangling in a model’s wake. It called to mind Patti Smith’s Robert Mapplethorpe Horses cover: the absent minded romantic poet, too busy thinking about a killer stanza to be concerned with the minor details of things like stitching, cutting and polishing up something that looked beautiful in its unfinished state. Just Kids-chic.
With Vetements, Demna Gvasalia redefined the architecture of the dress jacket. The alpha, exaggerated dress jacket was in, and the slim-fitting version suddenly felt like old news. In his first men’s collection for Balenciaga, Gvasalia went wide-shouldered and broad-chested, recalling David Byrne’s “big suit” from the Stop Making Sense era. At the time it was partly read as a comment on the depersonalisation of the self in the sea of big business, Gvasalia’s suit jacket felt equally subversive, a directive to go widescreen when world views are getting less so.
Rab C Nesbitt
The Glaswegian’s string vest made a slight return at Paris (without the stains), becoming a sartorial symbol for youthful defiance. At Sacai the vest appeared as a T-shirt substitute, with models wearing it with thigh-length ones under lilac-pink trench coats, bombers and flower-print jumpers. While at the Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus show it appeared in a plastic see-through, shower curtain-like form. Dior Homme featured the string vest in a variety of guises – in white, worn with skinny bovver boots, and in black, tucked into some wide skater pants. The take-home message was that the string vest was no longer about drunken slumbers but now signified a punky outsider-dom.