Jun 26, 2023
Paris Fashion Week Men ended on Sunday with a strong injection of creativity, embodied in three extremely different styles. Among the labels whose Spring/Summer 2024 collections stood out on the event’s final day were Marine Serre with its regenerated fashion, Sacai with its sophisticated cuts, and Lazoschmidl with its sexy wardrobe.
An insistent heartbeat resonated in the darkness, making the majestic Salle Wagram auditorium vibrate. Suddenly, the spotlights came on, illuminating the first models in Marine Serre’s show. Among them, no fewer than 10 musicians, including Teyana Taylor, Miguel, Aron Piper, Sevdaliza, Noah Cyrus and Yseult. Debussy’s Clair de lune piano suite was the base line in the show’s wacky electro soundtrack. Wearing red tights and high heels, the female models strode down the middle of the hall, the audience standing behind railings as though at a concert. Some of the models’ breasts jutted forward, their outfits reminiscent of the conical bra made by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna, while the men, some with their heads cached by balaclavas, sauntered out sporting camo outfits.
The first looks were an explosive riot of colours, patterns and movements, the bodies wrapped in dresses made with headscarves. These were followed by a series of patchwork garments assembled from 1960-70s kitchen towels featuring cartoonish vintage designs, their colourful patterns slotting together to turn into shirts, shorts, overcoats and cute dresses. Serre once again reiterated her commitment to sustainability through her models and garments, half of which utilised regenerated fabrics made from recycled or unused materials. Like the terry towels decorated with wild animals used to put together flamboyant jackets and coats. Serre gave a fresh twist to crocheted fabrics, creating sweaters and a lavish train dress in the style of a patchwork granny square blanket.
The collection also included several denim items made from dormant stock and regenerated fabrics, ranging from five-pocket jeans to dresses in spiral denim stripes, miniskirts and boxy gilets. Moiré-patterned fabrics were also on show, used by Marine Serre to fashion elegant women’s overcoats and short dresses, and chic men’s shirts worn unbuttoned over various types of trousers. Serre’s signature inverted half-moon pattern was featured logo-like on jeans and sheer black tulle tops, as well as in blue earrings and necklaces, while the label’s name cropped up on 70s-style floral sets in Marine Serre’s typical recycled terry fabric.
Serre has shifted away from the dystopian mood of her first runway shows. She described her collection as “kitsch, colourful, joyful and a little childish,” and seems to have now embraced a new, decidedly positive mindset. “The world we’re living in is dystopian. I’m trying to inject new energy and positive vibes, even though it’s hard to find something to be cheerful about. I’m just doing what I can to make people happy,” she said backstage.
In her collections, Sacai’s designer Chitose Abe likes to incorporate evergreen items that she deconstructs and reinterprets, elegantly rejuvenating them with her experimental touch and transforming them into new, avant-garde classics. On Sunday, Abe unveiled a highly accomplished collection in the majestic, verdant courtyard of the Sorbonne’s Jussieu campus, laying bare the clothes’ hidden side.
Showing the reverse side of a garment and revealing its inner construction isn’t a novelty in itself. Several designers opted for this solution in the past, for example Martin Margiela. But Abe took a different approach, less concerned with philosophy and experimentation, and more with creating items that are wearable and ultimately highly desirable. She focused on a handful of key elements, typically from the garments’ inner structure, like seams, hems, labels and linings, and subtly integrated them in her Spring/Summer 2024 creations. Like clues scattered across the collection, so discreetly that they weren’t noticeable at first glance.
But if one looked at them closely, some stitching suggested the mere outline of a pocket, as it would look from inside a garment, while the other pockets were absolutely normal. In other items, parkas, dresses and workwear-style boiler suits in beige fabric, large black pockets clearly seemed to have been tacked on as though they’d spilled out of the garments, openly displaying the shape and structure the pockets usually have inside the clothes themselves.
Elsewhere, tone-on-tone appliqué flowers and decorations on a black or a blue jacket hinted at the reverse of an embroidered fabric. The same technique was used for cardigans whose decorations, stitched directly on to the knitwear, simulated the reverse of a devoré fabric. Equally, the front of some hybrid clothes made using two different materials gave the impression of revealing the stabiliser fabric. A sweater with visible seams on the shoulders and cuffs seemed to have been slipped on back-to-front, while a light green hem peeked out from under a grey sport jacket as though revealing its hidden grey lining.
Abe had fun with this double reversible idea, and built her wardrobe for next summer using a twin register. A more formal, sophisticated style, with ladies’ pinstripe suits consisting of skirts and flared jackets enhanced by pleats, frills and layered sections, adopted also in the jackets and skirt-shorts sets for men. While the other, more functional/utilitarian strand of the collection featured a new collaboration with US label Carhartt WIP, which included parkas, coats, shorts and workwear-style jumpsuits.
The tone was altogether different at Lazoschmidl, which conceived its collection for next summer as the perfect wardrobe for a tropical island trip, featuring lightweight tops and wind-breakers ideal for air travel, cotton blouses and shorts and frayed denim shorts for island hikes, plus various beach outfits for a romp in the sea and a number of dressier evening looks. The collection also included a plastic poncho-style cape to deal with unexpected tropical downpours.
The label, founded in 2014 by German-Swedish designers Josef Lazo and Andreas Schmidl, has been showing for three seasons on the Parisian calendar, and its visibility has grown. It was one of the first labels to work on themes like masculinity and eroticism, which then made their runway breakthrough with Ludovic de Saint Sernin. Lazoschmidl is better known for its swimwear, and this season decided to place more emphasis on ready-to-wear, edging away from the sexy clubbing mood of recent collections. It didn’t lose its tongue-in-cheek vibe though, evident in the labels patched on to the back of some trousers, replica postage stamps from fictitious destinations like Hotopia and No Virginia Island! Another playful touch were the bulging turquoise eyes that characterised all the models.
The collection featured a pastel colour palette and included beachwear sets consisting of shorts/swimming costumes matched with tops in a light openwork knit, some of them crocheted. Other tunics and blouses were made in terry cloth, while some shorts and tank tops came in a lightly embossed 3D fabric similar to the non-slip pool floors of the 1950s. Other items were instead made of open-mesh fabric, while a net was used to extend some of the handbags and contain other objects. As for swimming, Lazoschmidl presented sailor-style striped retro swimsuits.
The label is commercialised chiefly online, where it generates 50% of total sales via its own e-shop and a solid network of other e-tailers, as well as through a handful of leading multibrand retailers in the USA, notably Los Angeles and New York, and in Berlin.
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