Paris Fashion Week Menswear Review
(28 Jun 2017)

Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week Menswear Review

Ordinary doesn’t have to be a bad thing……  A Paris Fashion Week Menswear review.

Nicholas Strelitz Fashion Editor Expresso

By Nicholas Strelitz

As menswear weeks across the Big 4 global fashion capitals continue, we now find ourselves in the birthplace of haute couture (a fancy word for high-fashion….think ball gowns and lots and lots of sequins) – Paris. And I’m going to keep things very simple for this trend report, just as some of my favourite designers did for the Spring/Summer 2018 season.

Paris Fashion Week 1
Classic examples of haute couture-wear. (credit – Vogue.com, credit – Elle)

One word. Ordinary. In fashion circles, to use this term could send the fashion glitterati running for their lives, BUT, I don’t think it should. Ordinary doesn’t have to mean boring or overly conservative. In this sense, it relates more to a concept often missing from the high fashion catwalks – wearability. Paris, for the menswear SS18 season, has given us….brace yourself…..wearable, rather ordinary fashion.

Listen, times are tough and this hasn’t escaped the minds of designers around the world. Sure, we all want the glitz and glam that high fashion provides, but sometimes, we want clothing that goes the distance - that transcends seasons -just as much, if not more. Enter Lemaire, Julien David, Etudes, and one of my personal favourites A.P.C. - fashion brands that just get it. For these accessible favourites, the focus for the SS/18 season was on staple fashion, basics that equate to a timelessness not often seen on the major fashion catwalks. After all, this isn’t fast fashion. At these prices, we want clothing that will last….and last…and last…you get the picture!

Paris Fashion Week 2
(Left – Vogue.com/A.P.C. bomber jacket from the SS/18 collection) (right – Vogue.com/Julien David t-shirt and jeans from the SS/18 collection)

Our wardrobes are constantly in flux– or maybe it’s just me? But what I do know is that I always return to a few select items no matter what the season or what my trendier friends are telling me is in....or out. (Insert Project Runway reference. What a show). I digress. Back to my closet…..Yes, foundational fashion pieces. This is what the fashion industry needs more of in my opinion. And that’s exactly what the four brands mentioned above executed so well in Paris.

I was inspired by the ordinary fashion of A.P.C. and Julien David to re-visit those staple pieces I love most, the ones I keep coming back to, and the one’s I think every man should have hanging in his wardrobe. And like the designers who just got it this season, I’ve got your must-have “ordinary” shopping list plucked straight from Parisian runway (and from my own closet, if anyone cares….): a neutral toned bomber jacket, one well-made suit, a casual white t-shirt and pair of dark indigo denim (again, well-made), and finally, a button-up that suits every occasion. To have these means never to be without something stylish to wear.

Paris Fashion Week 3
(left – Vogue.co.uk/Lemaire button-up from the SS/18 collection) (right – Vogue.co.uk/ Etudes classic 2-piece suit from the SS/18 collection)

To keep these pieces lasting beyond merely a season, we have to take our fingers off our plastic and be willing to invest. Quality fashion means investment. It means dishing out the dollar (forgive me, I’m still in my American mind-set) in order to safeguard for years and years to come. A.P.C., Etudes, Julien David, and Lemaire understand this concept and tailor make clothing that reflects. They sure did this season anyways…

It’s rare that on the catwalks of London, Milan, Paris, and to a lesser extent New York, I see fashion that can go straight from runway to rail, which is why I was so impressed by the, dare I say, “ordinary” fashion from the city that generally gives us sequins, crystals, gold-leaf, and diamonds….basically anything that screams pomp and ceremony. Fashion is an art, and I completely support ostentatious experimentation – see two select stills from the Comme des Garcons and Rick Owens shows respectively – but there’s always a time and a place. How nice is it to see clothing the everyday man can actually wear? A rarity, but Paris SS18 goes to show, anything is possible.

Paris Fashion Week 4
(Left – Vogue.com/ “Something a bit more ornate” – a piece from the Comme des Garcons SS/18 collection) (Right – Vogue.com/ “Not exactly everyday-wear” – a piece from the Rick Owens SS/18 collection)


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