It has been dismissed as the straitjacket of
the wage-slave salary man. But the suit and tie is far from finished if
Thursday’s Paris men’s fashion week catwalks are anything to go by.
Having been propelled to the top of fashion as the king of streetwear,
Virgil Abloh turned his magpie gaze on the boring old business suit for Louis
Under a Magritte sky to symbolise the surreal blue-sky thinking that was
involved, the hyperactive American designer set out his thinking on
“reprogramming traditional dress codes”.
“Tailoring,” he promised, was about to be dragged out of its “corporate
Abloh was taking scissors to tradition, and to hammer home the point he had
a huge silver pair plonked down in the middle of his runway with a Magritte
dream key and an eyeball.
Yet apart from the odd little detail, it was hard to see how the first
dozen looks differed from anything you would have seen in a department store
window anytime in the last half century.
Suited and shiny booted in shirts and ties complete with clips, his models
looked at first glance like straightish young city slickers.
Look again, however, and you began to see the “surreal” details that Abloh
— who showed his own Off-White label’s suit-led show Wednesday — said “make
the ordinary extraordinary”.
Vintage brass Vuitton buttons were used to fasten the top of the wool
gabardine jackets. Blink and you would miss a sawn-off waistcoat worn as a
kind of cummerbund.
Powder blue braces that were somewhere between a harness and a holster gave
another look a subtle and unexpected edginess.
Abloh said he was twisting and turning “the dress codes of an old world…
re-appropriated and embraced for a progressive joie de vivre.”
Smart tailoring menswear looks at Paris Fashion Week Men’s
There was real joy and oodles of invention at Issey Miyake, which took the
basic forms of the classic suit and frock coat and gave them a colourful
modern zoot suit twist.
In fact, the Japanese pleat-master turned its show into a jazz jam session,
with musicians press-ganged onto the podium as acrobats whizzed around on cyr
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Valentino had given a masterclass in romantic tailoring the previous
evening, with slits down the side of its suit jackets to make reaching into
the pocket easier.
With such tailoring aces as Kris Van Assche at Berluti and Kim Jones, his
successor at Dior Homme, to come Friday, this could be the week when the suit
re-emerges from streetwear’s shadow.
There was even a touch of formalism about the American avant-gardist Rick
Owens, who can usually be counted on to push the boundaries.
After a series of body-hugging cashmere knits inspired by Ziggy-era David
Bowie’s collaborations with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, Owens sent out
a series of cropped felt jackets with high sharp shoulders.
If that was not eye-catching enough, the Los Angeles creator topped that
with hulking blanket coats “mimicking Le Corbusier’s Modulor Man”, one of
which he wore himself.
British designer Clare Waight Keller also took on the suit in her fledgling
Givenchy menswear line.
Her jumping off point was the natty Maharaja of Indore who was a style icon
in Paris between the wars and who went on to build a modernist palace back
home in India.(AFP)
Photo courtesy of LVMH