Men’s Fashion Week, dedicated to Spring/Summer 2024, proved particularly exciting on Wednesday. On the second day of the Paris shows, designers vied with each other in their ingenuity and originality to modernise men’s wardrobes. Botter added a playful touch, while Hed Mayner played with proportions and Lemaire with his nonchalant elegance.
Botter opened the day with an energetic and colourful collection, however very sophisticated beneath its playful exterior. “We chose the theme of voodoo but in a positive spirit to celebrate beauty, unity and the Caribbean spirit that characterises us,” explains Lise Herrebrugh backstage, who founded the brand with her partner Rushemy Botter in 2017.
The bewitching dolls are everywhere, mini Barbies and Bratz dolls were stripped and recomposed, worn as necklaces or trinkets around the neck or as key rings hanging from the waistband of trousers. They also decorate certain outfits, superimposed on shorts for example, in the form of a skewer garland of miniature pink plastic hands.
The collection is packed with other details, adding that extra something unique to each outfit, making them all desirable. Starting with the long blond hair that floated down to the loins on the back of jackets, extending the models’ hair. In a silk mermaid dress, the scales stood out delicately. And of course the inflated lifejacket, fused to a jacket, as well as bikini tops, which were alternately cut out of a classic black blazer, outlined in a net-knit or revealed with their twirling cords, inserted into a floral blouse.
The duo are particularly inventive in their designs, especially for men’s jackets. Some pieces can be slipped on over the head, with the collar positioned on the chest just below the neck. Elsewhere, the cuff of the collar is extended to form a stole around the neck, while some jackets in shimmering colours are dotted with small portholes from which we can see the depths of the sea or which reflect the world around us. Trousers had slits down the front. The sleeves of a cotton shirt were transformed into long macramé nets dragging to the shore.
Lise Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter also love to play with materials. This season, they used bristly, doormat-style fur to make waistcoats with a plume of long hair down the back, like a crest or a squirrel’s tail. They also use scoubidou (plastic strands used in knotting crafts), to weave a turquoise mini-dress, a tank top, and even a whole suit in bright, shiny red.
This season, Hed Mayner produced one of his finest collections, striking just the right balance between his favourite oversized volumes and a relaxed yet elegant and wearable everyday wardrobe. To achieve this result, the designer has slightly narrowed his cuts, while retaining the boxy, rounded shape that has become his signature, working closely on the constructions beneath the apparent simplicity of the pieces.
The Israeli designer, who has been walking the catwalk in Paris since June 2017, started with the great men’s classics – the suit, the chino, the striped poplin shirt and denim – to which he adds, with small touches, a sense of experience and wear that goes so far as to distort the garment. Like the bumps and bulges that appear on the back, chest and sleeves. “They symbolise all the everyday objects that have invaded our lives, from iPhones to water bottles,” he explains backstage.
The fabrics also hold the memory of time. Like the worn leather in coats and trousers. A lot of the clothes are crumpled, like the silver paper trousers or the crumpled shirt, the back of which hangs as if it had been stretched from behind. Some of the coats look like they’ve been cut out of paper.
The different pieces fit together naturally. The banker’s jacket slipped over the large sweater mini-dress. The crumpled blue shirt with the white boxer shorts. The maxi trench coat with the pintuck trousers. The military multi-pocket waistcoat/backpack with a light cotton striped ensemble. The clothes are incredibly easy to wear, usually shirtless. Everything seems to slip and fall just right. Loose-fitting trousers and unstructured jackets, like the white blazers, give off a feeling of absolute comfort, while displaying incredible elegance.
The large courtyard of the Jussieu faculty was once again the setting for Lemaire’s fashion show this season. The courtyard was wet, while white curtains, like veils, formed a moving backdrop. The models suddenly appeared from the back of the stage, striding across it as the rain continued to fall. Hoods, windbreakers, light mackintoshes… The almost autumnal outfits are designed to adapt quickly to bad weather.
Some of the models wore laced sandals, while others wore shoes protected by fabric tied all around them. One of them had taken off their gabardine, which had conveniently been slung over the shoulder like a bag suspended by a shoulder belt. Light layers of cotton, silk, nylon or technical fabrics were superimposed across trousers, skirts, tank tops, shirts, jackets and coats, constantly recomposing new silhouettes, tone on tone. A haphazard play of buttoning created a sense of movement.
A saxophonist played in a corner, barely audible in the midst of the city traffic. The beautiful show staged by designers Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran seemed to suspend time, the duration of a storm in the urban jungle, before everyone returned to their daily lives.
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