5 details to savour from the Milan/Paris AW15 menswear shows
I have to confess that the Pitti/Milan leg of the current triathlon of menswear that is the European menswear shows was a bit of a blur. After seeing SO many shows and presentations at LC:M this season, the Italian shows whizzed by with the haste of a Vespa slash-and-grab chase. Now Paris is midway through, and it feels like a good moment to pause and reflect on what’s been shown since London and to focus in on some of the most beautiful details. If there’a anything that feels like a common thread here, its a desire for futurism, a desire to see what the future might look like even if that involves elements of the past reimagined.
1. The Nemeth fabric at Louis Vuitton
I am a huge fan of Kim Jones. From his graduate collection celebrating the personal style of the black, urban, gay subculture that created house music, to his private collection of the works of Vivienne Westwood and Leigh Bowery it’s clear that Kim is a true fan himself. But Jones’s status as a collector doesn’t make him a museum curator rehashing ideas, but rather, his detailed knowledge and reverence for the detail of fashion (and its overlap with music and art) allows him to showcase genuinely beautiful design with all the weight that a powerhouse like Louis Vuitton affords him. This season his attention was focused on the work of Christopher Nemeth, the designer’s designer. I am old enough to remember seeing Nemeth’s designs in i-D at firsthand, and the physical presence of The House of Beauty in Culture, long before Dalston was even a gleam in an estate-agent’s eye, and so the name Nemeth has a real resonance for me as cipher for genuine originality. For AW15, Jones has taken a particular Nemeth print (featuring a scaled up view of the frayed ends of woven threads) and repeated it across coats, sweatshirts and jackets in a variety of materials (the most incredible of which looks like the pattern is actually cut into the pile of the material).
2. New outlines at Raf Simons
In a similar sense to Kim Jones, Raf Simon’s work is often rooted in the past, which, ironically makes it feel all the more modern. It’s also similarly rooted in his youthful experiences and reverence for the subcultural worlds (mostly musical in Simon’s case), that gave his youthful self a sense of belonging. Everyone seems focused on Simon’s scrawled-on long white coats this season, a logical next step away from his collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby, in terms of the hand-drawn aspect and the random yet meaningful decoration. But what impressed me most is the overall outline, like the trouser shape which has hints of retro but in a form that is strange and very new. This particular outline is also a wonderful vehicle for demonstrating how the Adidas Sam Smith low-profile shoe is still a great match with the new outlines being explored by Simons, the bunched-up generosity of fabric drawing the eye after so many years of skinny trouser shapes.
3. Maison Margiela’s 1970s reboot
If there has to be a 1970s fashion revival, may it be like this one. In the hands of the Margiela design team some of the most notorious accents of the ’70s were made palatable; from swishy trousers (here in the form of roomy, high-waisted trousers) to gaping shirts over sheer fabrics, shiny vinyl and even a predilection for glitter, all somehow reappropriated and reformed in true Margiela style into something that looks contemporay and indeed covetable.
4. Futuristic layering at Rick Owens
The visibility of the model’s genitals at Rick Owen’s AW15 shows seems to be gaining column inches (pun fully intended) by the minute, which is a shame as it seems to have attracted interest in his work for all the wrong reasons and there was genuine beauty to be seen in this collection. Never one to shy away from publicity or frank discussions about sex and sexuality, Owens clearly took a risk with those crotch-level portholes but I’m sure even he is bored by the controversy by now. Before the dicks came out there were luxurious peacoats, worn with typical Owens disregard for convention over shorts, and tunics with embroidered panels that were enigmatic and otherworldly like the wardrobe of a sleek, high-end Sci Fi movie. Some of the pieces in this collection are as refined and luxurious as anything Owens has produced to date, just remember to shift your gaze above crotch level.
5. The rolled-back cuffs at Pradaa
After the dick-flashing at Rick Owens such a subtle detail at Prada feels like rather a prim detail to focus on, but Prada AW15 was a very pared-back affair, focusing on the rediscovery of Prada’s early-00s-signature black nylon within the strict boundaries of uniform, and therefore this subtle detail was significant within the context of a very controlled whole. I was impressed by layering up of those black nylon pieces and the grey on grey tailoring, but it was this subtle detail that caught my eye, a simple gesture that brought a touch of idiosyncrasy to this slick, regulated collection.
All images courtesy of Style.com