Due to the pandemic, it’s not surprising that a majority of presentations during Paris Fashion Week are digital. A series of designer presentations held semi-annually in Paris with spring- summer and autumn -winter presentations by the French Fashion Federation, Paris Fashion Week has a roster of ready-to-wear, menswear and couture from global fashion brands including Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Céline. As Paris gears up for womenswear Spring Summer ’22, check out some of our menswear picks of autumn winter ’21 which explored current concerns such as inclusivity and sustainability.
At Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh explores racism, drawing from his own experience as a Black creator and intellectual. Per Vogue, “His sixth collection, named ‘Ebonics,’ came with a film directed by Josh Johnson that was powerfully centered on spoken word and performance, a call to radical thinking through the lens of menswear. Amongst the words delivered by Saul Williams and Kai Isiah Jamal were these: “Deconstruct the narratives… make spaces”; “Take down the walls, unravel the mysteries. Make it up to me.” And: “As Black people, as trans people, as marginalized people, the world is here for our taking, for it takes so much from us.” Hot-sellers include Ghanian Kente cloth embossed with the LV monogram, tartan checked quilts, puffer jackets, floor-length fur coats, marbled suit jackets and pants, and floor-sweeping wool overcoats.
At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson explored queer identity. The presentation was delivered as a show-in-a-book on New York artist Joe Brainard and as a show-on-a-shirt printed with the spotlight on the brand’s sustainable practices. Per Vogue, “I think the whole thing now is about clothing and something else,” says Anderson. “I think the customer wants more than just the clothing now. They want to make sure you have a unique viewpoint and, at the same time, a moral viewpoint.” For years Loewe has been researching how to make his collections both sustainable and stylish. This year, he achieved it with up-cycled pieces like leather pants wrapped in belt buckles, zippers and lace, shetland sweaters knitted together and extreme trouser silhouettes.
About the up-cycled theme, Jonathan told Vogue, “We set it up as an incubator inside Loewe to try to work out a long-term solution to sustainability. It’s where the entire design process is monitored from start to finish. Every year we try to chip away at something— buttons, zips, hardware, plastic clips—so that what was a problem becomes less of a problem. Because it then means that your supply chain can deal with it, manufacturing knows how to deal with it, and the design team knows how to design within that framework… It means turning an industrial revolution into a new eco revolution.”
Berluti showcased a short film titled “Living Apart Together” which interestingly did not show its Fall Winter 2021 collection and instead revealed colourful cashmere outerwear, coordinated cashmere hats and dress shoes. To top it off, the clip announced the debut of the collection would take place in Shanghai! Per Vogue, “Van Assche observed: “It’s important to maintain craft but it’s also important to stir things up a little from time to time, because sometimes the product of craft does not really innovate itself.” This, added Van Assche, was the first collection in his now three-year tour of duty at Berluti in which that famous patina has been successfully transferred from footwear to ready-to-wear, and the almost light-emitting finish on a many-polished shades-of-purple leather jacket was testament to that… Van Assche said he sees his role at Berluti as “giving future to historical craft” by acting as the catalyst through which that craft is provoked into new forms of expression.”
Kim Jones’ theme for Dior was influenced by the ceremonial tail-coated attire worn by French artists when they were inducted into the Academie des Beaux-Arts and former creative Director Marc Bohan; for example, eye-catching buttons were adapted from a Haute Couture dress designed by Bohan. Jones told Dior, ”We’ve made several of them [the Academy’s coats] for people since I’ve been here.” The contemporary artist collaboration this season was with Scottish painter Peter Doig. Per Vogue, ”Where there are yellow anoraks, orange coats, and lions; where there are paint-dabby patterns on sweaters—that’s all material replicated from Doig’s oeuvre.”
It’s been a strange year post-pandemic, at the least, and it has been one that has had a direct impact on the collections the designers chose to show. The result? A renewed, stringent focus on ethical fashion, sustainability, inclusivity and heritage as seen on the men’s runway this season.
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.