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Saturday, July 20, 2024

In Paris, light, summery fashion from Kolor, White Mountaineering and C.R.E.O.L.E.

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Despite stormy skies, the sun shone down on the catwalks in Paris on Saturday. On the fifth day of men’s fashion shows for Spring/Summer 2025, a number of designers stood out for their particularly summery proposals, moving workwear and sportswear towards more elegant ready-to-wear. These include Japanese labels Kolor and White Mountaineering, and the young Parisian brand C.R.E.O.L.E.

Kolor, SS25 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

 
At Kolor, founder and designer Junichi Abe continues to renew the everyday wardrobe with subtle touches, making the clothes more interesting every time. Workwear is always present, with cargo trousers, overalls, multi-pocket jackets and waistcoats, including a fishnet version that can be fitted with all sorts of removable pockets. But this utilitarian fashion is evolving in a younger spirit. Everyday clothes are coming out of the wardrobe with something new and intriguing. 
 
The lapels of a jacket with exposed internal seams have been grafted onto an old, crumpled sky-blue shirt. Trousers split at the waist in two different colours and styles, as if slipped on top of each other. A wide blazer with gold buttons revealed its true nature at the back, stripped of fabric just for its lining and pieces of interlining. Elsewhere, a light blue blouse was tucked into the front of a loose peach-coloured blouse.
 
Nylon was the star this season. A judicious choice for this mixed men’s and women’s show, held in the garden of the Lycée Henri IV, which narrowly avoided a downpour. As well as impers, the designer cut trousers, shorts and long dresses from this featherweight, waterproof material, as well as elegant windbreaker shirts with puffed-up sleeves tightened at the wrists and this classic jacket with its fabric collar, which appeared to be cut from a lining.
 
The designer excels in the art of layering. For example, giant trouser tops were worn as skirts over straight, tight trousers, while overcoats and mackintoshes were worn in pairs. The same goes for short jackets with pockets. A white cotton blouse was slipped over a striped black wool knit with long sleeves. Finally, Junichi Abe combined sport with university style, with American football shirts in the colours of Kolor University, renamed Kor University.

White Mountaineering, SS25 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

 
Known for its sportswear and outdoor ready-to-wear, with a focus on design and textile technology, which was particularly evident in the last ten all-black looks at the show, featuring sneakers, trekking trousers, windbreakers and high-performance jackets with multi-pockets and multi-zips, White Mountaineering seems to be accentuating the fashion shift it has been making for the last few seasons. Rather than the mountain world, which has always been a reference point for the brand, as its name suggests, this season stylist Yosuke Aizawa has been seduced by a very summery, seaside style.
 
Cap, sunglasses, handkerchief tied around the neck… The models in flip-flops sported the look of the perfect Riviera holidaymaker, dressed in striped swimming costume shorts, wide-banded sailors, micro-patterned printed ensembles, navy blue outfits or jacquard jumpers in sun-drenched colours. A preppy spirit runs through the collection, with elegant white suits in light cotton, jumpers nonchalantly tied around the neck. And don’t forget the large woven bags in straw and raffia, that can carry your tennis racket.
 
Of course, the technical performance of the garments is always present, as in these jumpers with lovely openwork around the pectoral area, or this other airy model under the armpits and along the sides. But Yosuke Aizawa now wants to give priority to “a complete and versatile wardrobe, both formal and highly technical.”

C.R.E.O.L.E, SS25 – ph DM

 
Alongside these two well-established Japanese designers, who have been parading their wares in Paris for years, Saturday was also an opportunity to discover C.R.E.O.L.E, whose acronym stands for “Conscience Relative à l’Émancipation Outrepassant les Entraves”. Supported by the édération de la haute couture et de la mode, which has included it in its Sphère showroom for young designers, the brand, founded in 2021 by Vincent Frédéric-Colombo, presented its fourth collection at a show organised on the disused railway line of the Petite Ceinture at Porte des Poissonniers, in northern Paris.
 
The 33-year-old designer, who grew up in Saint-Claude, Guadeloupe, at the foot of the Soufrière volcano, once again drew on his Creole culture, whose identity he expresses through his fashion, inspired by the volcano’s eruption in 1976. In particular, he has created elegant suits in black textured silk jacquard “to give a charred look.” A balaclava is embroidered “with the idea of a lava flow burning the vegetation.” But there’s also a total red look and bright colours, like this tartan tracksuit in shades of purple and orange.
 
Despite this serious theme, C.R.E.O.L.E’s collection for next summer has a much lighter, sexier feel to it, with open tank tops in large rectangles across the upper chest, peach knitwear in tie & dye, skin-tight jerseys worn with swimming trunks, and red-checked boxer shorts protruding from Bermuda shorts or low-rise shorts.
 
After training in industrial product design in the Vendée region and studying sociology in Lyon, Vincent Frédéric-Colombo went on to study fashion design at Head in Geneva. He then worked in the fashion boutique Kokon To Zai from 2012 to 2018, as well as on castings, maturing the project of launching himself in fashion. “I started with prints, then developed garments that I photographed in a process of visual and aesthetic exploration. This embryonic process took almost ten years before I founded my brand,” says the designer, who has made a name for himself in recent years as a DJ and co-founder of the Parisian party La Créole Collective, a benchmark for Caribbean music in the capital.
 
“There’s very little creative representation of the Creole diaspora. What’s more, we’ve tended to stick to the folkloric,” says the designer, who wants to make another voice heard by highlighting Creole identities. “I’ve always loved workwear, good materials and clothes that last over time. It’s menswear with more delicate references. It’s menswear with more delicate references. There’s a certain notion of know-how and sewing techniques, but for pieces that are easy to wear and that make you want to wear them. I like to create timeless pieces that make a statement at the same time,” he concludes. His brand is distributed by JahJah in Paris and via his e-shop in the United States, Europe and the West Indies.
 

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