The Coolest Stuff We Saw at Paris Fashion Week
The Esquire team is making the rounds at Paris Fashion Week, taking in the fall/winter 2018 shows and everything else the French fashion capital has to offer. Each day, we're rounding up the best of the best and telling you why we love it—and why you should have it on your radar. Here's what caught our eye.
London luxury brand Dunhill made an impressive return to the runway yesterday for designer Mark Weston’s debut. It was clear instantly that a bold new mood is in play for the 125-year-old brand. Where Dunhill was once about gentlemanly style with a modern international flavor, Weston has gone in for some bold genetic engineering with the storied brand’s DNA that resulted in a distinctly younger mood. Tailoring here—as in a few other places this season—pointed to a longer yet comfortable cut derived from the aesthetics of Savile Row, rendered lightweight and fluid. But it was the leather that was key in defining the new mood in both clothing and accessories, with vertical quilting for both bombers and totes looking fresh and sporty. Also, how clothing was combined here was as important as its design. Leather jeans—a recurring note—gave a luxurious but rock-and-roll edge to outwardly classic overcoats and knits. Weston’s efforts—clothing that is familiar in its essential elements but thoroughly contemporary in its styling—pitched Dunhill back into menswear’s limelight with a very new sense of skill and confidence.—Nick Sullivan
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon really set the stage last night as they closed the men’s shows in Paris with their latest production for Kenzo. And quite the production it was. We were treated to a loosely autobiographical story based on their friendship, shot in real time and projected upon screens while the models strode around the sets in clothes that made up one of the strongest collections the two have created for the brand. Standouts were the super-cool, wrinkly nylon “sweater” vests paired with printed shirts (all must haves); the smart, western-style maroon-and-white knit; and boxy blazers that can easily double as outwear. Speaking of outwear, it was that bright yellow toggle coat that stole the show.—Matthew Marden
It was interesting to note this season across a number of major brands—particularly in Paris—that longer suit jackets and drapey pants have begun to intimate a possible rehabilitation of the grown-up suit. For Paul Smith, of course, the suit was always a thing. That's because he always made suits for men who see the suit—done right and with an nod to both tradition and modernity—as the polar opposite of corporate conformity; a way, indeed, to stand out from the crowd. Given the dearth of suits on runways of late, it’s a good moment for that aesthetic. This is not business as usual; there was not a tie in sight. Rather, Smith seemed to play with the suit itself with a renewed vigor. Notable in many of the jackets was a sweeping cut of the bottom that saw the hem hang a couple of inches higher at the back than at the front, and the suspicion of a flare at the ankle of the pants. Some suits came in unexpected shades of teal or turquoise, while coats paneled different cloths—like tartan and plain wool—in the same piece. Coupled with some of the swaggeriest long wool coats (another hot fall trend), Smith gave us a darkly rakish alternative to all those logo-covered hoodies and track pants. Mark our words: This is going somewhere.—NS
This may well be one of the standout collections of this season. From a camel-colored suit and a navy micro pin stripe to cropped bombers in chocolate-brown leather and cognac suede, designer Pierre Mahéo delivered intelligence and chicness. Just about every look made you think, "I want that. I need that." Take a look, too, at how he styled the looks with the tone-on-tone grays and blues. It's a great way to wear a suit that doesn’t require an overabundance of attitude. Mahéo is the Aaron Rodgers of designers: You never see him sweat, he’s clearly having fun out there, he makes everyone around him look better—and he almost always delivers a win.—Michael Hainey
Those of us old enough to remember the male models of the late '80s and early '90s—whose mugs were everywhere from magazine covers and billboards to runways and music videos—were given a treat at Kris Van Assche’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Dior Homme when Cameron opened the show. Yes, Cameron Alborzian, from Madonna’s David Fincher-directed video for "Express Yourself." He was followed in turn by legends Mark Vanderloo, Alain Gossuin, Arnaud Lemaire, and James Russo. Mixed with the current crop of runway superstars, these guys were a reminder that Van Assche’s clothes are for everyone, not just the young. There were great offerings this season, from all the double-breasted suiting to the incredible outwear—that shearling jacket, green cropped tweed jacket, and DB camel coat were particularly impressive. Hands down best-in-show, though, was look the look that incorporated a fitted knit and slouchy trouser with sneakers. Effortlessly chic.—MM
Thom Browne may be based in New York, but his runway shows capture why he makes so much sense in Paris. In a city that values artistry and craftsmanship, Browne’s work has found the perfect home. He may be the greatest, most rigorous designer working today—and a man who still keeps the suit at the center of all he creates. You see it from the first look he sent out, a camel sweater/coat hybrid, and the power continued through the show. Beneath all the coats were smart tweaks on his iconic gray suit, a suit that is like so much of Paris: Built on perfect proportions, it endures.—MH
In a season of strong coats, Hermès showed some of the most dramatic and covetable. These are coats that have deep in their DNA the swagger and soul of Vikings, yet they’re made for the modern man doing battle in the corporate world. Which is why they project a handsome, masculine, and timeless power. Just like the suits designer Véronique Nichanian paired with them.—MH
In a preview last night, Lucas Ossendrijver said the basis of his latest collection for Lanvin was to start with something that wasn’t cool—the suit—and twist it to become something else. It’s a smart idea, and the execution was flawless. Throughout, he stayed true to this original idea. Whether by using traditional English fabrics and mixing reworking them, or by taking the camouflage notion of suiting (not wanting to stand out, fitting in with the crowd) and making actual prints, Ossendrijver has created something really clever. As usual, there are layers upon layers in each look and an amazing variety of fabrics and proportions, but it’s those clever touches that always impress. The slouchy knits with matching scarves that look like sleeves? Brilliant.—MM
Chitose Abe is a great example of the renewed importance in men’s fashion of pure, unalloyed design talent. No gimmicks or marketing to speak of, just bucketfuls of great technical know-how and creative ingenuity. Abe mashes coats together from disparate items—tweed with nylon, part of a down jacket with a military greatcoat—with such facility that they appear both familiar and outlandish at the same time. Hurrah.—NS
Not a new line, but new to me, was Ambush, whose wonderful fall/winter 2018 “Nobo” collection by designer Yoon was a nod to Northwestern American youth. Best were the pile jackets, which were reminiscent of those Patagonia fleeces I lived in during high school but in more fashion-y cuts, whether cropped or a longer version which almost touched the floor. The layering and juxtaposition of fabrics—technical outwear mixed with what appeared to be PJ sets—was smart, and the styling by Robbie Spencer was spot on. This is a label to pay attention to.—MM
In a season of stand out coats—where we are seeing the full-throttle return of the fuller, longer-cut coat (which gives a whole new dramatic profile)—this was one of my favorites.—MH
Rehabilitation for John Galliano in fashion terms was completed yesterday with his debut men’s collection for Maison Margiela that was well up to the house’s—and Galliano’s—reputation for impeccably executed and always-inventive design. Bright colors, from tomato red to cobalt blue, and even down to the yellow and white runway, underlined that optimism and hope are the way forward.—NS
If you love a little 18th-century romance mixed with some swashbuckling bravado (and I mean, who doesn’t?), then this was definitely the show for you. The cut of the clothes and the quality of the fabrics were really beautiful and fluid—this mixed with the cool-kid nonchalance of the casting and styling made for quite a stunning presentation. Also, not going to lie: I was super starstruck by François Sagat seated kitty corner from me in the front row, looking exquisite as always.—MM
I love that at Alexander McQueen the suits are again long and full-skirted in Savile Row style, unlike the majority of shorter suits that still throng the casual-obsessed runways. To me, it’s a glimpse of where things are going.—NS
Kim Jones’s final collection for Louis Vuitton was a powerhouse, filled with a variety of pieces and themes that are quintessential Jones: travel, tech, wit, humor. He’s the master of the tricky hybrid between the elegance of luxury and the nowness of the street. Standouts were the shearling coats and jackets, all the camel pieces, that trunk-slash-backpack situation, those cool geological metallic prints, the bright neon knits and bags, all the boots, the layering... OK, fine: basically everything. Honorable mention goes to Dominik Sadoch, who closed the show in the monogram Macassar Glaze denim jacket and pants. It’s asking a lot to follow the likes of runway legends Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, but Sadoch held his own impressively.
I have been enthralled by Kim Jones’s creations at Louis Vuitton, and although excited to see what's next for him and the brand, I'm also deeply saddened by his departure. Whoever will follow has very large shoes to fill indeed.—MM
Ever since he burst on the scene in Paris a few years ago, Alexandre Mattiussi has made Ami one of the lines to watch. In an age of logos and cartoon dressing—when too many men seem to be dressing in playclothes, trying to take on identities that range from goofball 12-year-old to rocker, and in the process looking unconvincing at best and embarrassing at worst—Ami shows clothes for a modern, chic man. And this collection was a strong reminder of the power of the perfect pieces in a man’s wardrobe, be it the red toggle cost he showed or the green pea coat or the fuller-cut camel coat, these are pieces made for a guy who has a job and a life—and knows who he is. Special call out to the shoes, too, especially the suede gum soles and the chunkier white sneaker. This was easily one of the best-edited collections of the season.—MH
Dries Van Noten
At Dries Van Noten, the stark visual thread running through the collection of oversized tailoring and casual clothes was the array of nylon coats and jackets printed with chaotic swirls of paint, made in a similar process made to the oil-on-water prints bookbinders once used for their marbled-end papers. There all bookish similarities ended. Youthful models swaggered otherwise in Van Notens perennially dependable cocktail of Anglo-inspired plaids and meltons for roomy tailoring. As always with Dries, scratch the surface and you’ll find clever stories make clothes you just want to wear.—NS
I'm starstruck—and I’m not referring to Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Pedro Pascal, Glen Powell, and Joe Keery (stranger things hair-envy hottie), all of whom were all in attendance at Valentino last night and decked out handsomely head to toe. Yes, that was really cool to see. But the real power was on the runway.
Pierpaolo Piccioli took the VLTN logo from last season to new heights for fall/winter 2018, incorporating it subtlety on luxurious pieces (the best was the cropped black jacket) and bolder contrast statements like the new Moncler collab puffers (they were great, by the way). I was also a huge fan of all the bright colors that punctuated the show. The yellow trench was stunning.—MM
By the time you read this, Virgil Abloh may or may not be the new designer at Louis Vuitton, where he is rumored to be going in the wake of Kim Jones’ rumored musical-chairs move to Burberry. If Abloh does make the jump from his own label, this collection shows once again why he continues to turn heads from the street to the boardrooms of the big fashion houses—he’s one of the perfect designers for Right Now. Check out the shoes. His smart collabs with Timberland and Nike show that he knows you can’t be a designer if you can’t move the merch (accessories). Abloh, like the DJ he is when he is not designing, also knows that this moment in fashion is all about sampling and dropping in beats from other performers (designers)—but then building your own beat on top of it. This collection, from the coats to the colors, is Right Now.—MH
If Leo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant had, after clawing his way back to civilization, been transported to 21st-century Paris and asked to design some new clothes, this is what he might come up with—bold re-thinkings of just what the hell we expect from a suit these days, to an awesome re-working of... Uggs. That’s right: The one-time official chillin’ shoe of Mrs. Giselle Bunchen has been given some grit and cool. Next time you find yourself having to huddle for warmth inside the carcass of a dead beast, you won’t have to worry about your feet.—MH
Showing a collection outside in the rain in winter is ballsy, but GmbH has the goods to get away with it. Once the show started, all the whining and grumbling about the location was forgotten—the clothes were that good. Best in show were the mixed-material zip-neck knits, but I was also into the high-waisted trousers (loved all the denim), and there was an amazing riff on a Patagonia fleece that was super cozy.—MM
Paris men’s week opened with the spectacular drama of Palomo Spain’s opulent fall/winter 2018 collection. The show was beautiful and clever and a whole lot of fun. OK, sure, these clothes aren’t for everyone, but you can’t not be impressed by the intricacy of Alejandro Gómez Palomo’s designs. My favorites were the coats—the camel and green plaid in particular; both are super wearable. Plus, who doesn’t love a jumpsuit? What a wonderful way to start the week. Bravo!—MM
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.