PARIS (AP) — For the first major collection of menswear season at Paris Fashion Week, models at Givenchy walked on the water.
A giant font filled with milky-white water and foamy haze serves as a fluid runway in the atrium of the Ecole Militaire, where models, often bare-chested and in waterproof shoes, are stumped and splashed toward a blinding set light. .
Matthew M. Williams clearly wanted to rock his first standalone menswear show since being appointed in 2020. But did the American designer dive deep enough?
Here are some highlights from Wednesday’s spring-summer 2023 show:
Givenchy makes a shallow splash
This was Audrey Hepburn’s high-fashion Givenchy in name only. Williams’ vision is urban, sports-connected and laid-back.
The American designer, a former collaborator of Lady Gaga and Kanye West, brought her streetwear vibe to the haute Paris runway again. This season’s music was in the style of Jamaican reggae singer Alkaline, who worked on the show’s soundtrack.
These looks were defined by long and loose silhouettes, frayed hems, thick chains, and scary facemasks.
Comments from Williams’ past took many forms. The bomber jackets with the laser-cut house logo that opened the show were inspired by designers he admired in Harlem, New York. Elsewhere, California street styles were mixed with earlier styles, such as ripped tailored pants.
Williams said of his collection Backstage that “everything is grounded in reality. I could see the guy in every form on the street — that’s a really modern point of view for me.”
But at times this everyday vibe weighed down the collection. For example, a simple pink sweat suit, worn over a bare chest with a gold chain, didn’t grow out well enough for a high fashion runway.
Still, the stitching was all-strong—as expected for the house—for example a broad, ’80s black tailored coat that cut a nice shape.
Dior’s Cruise Spa
Marking Haute Couture Week, Dior is reviving a 19th-century floating spa that once existed on a beautiful barge on the Pont-Neuf bridge.
The spa, then called the Bains de la Samaritan, was regarded as the mother of the most luxurious and modern luxury spas in Western Europe at the time.
This season, Dior is teaming up with Cheval Blanc Paris to create its own Vision of Cruising Spa, with a capacity for five passengers in four suites for a two-hour trip across the Seine River. It will run from June 29 to July 13.
The boat’s decor includes rattan furniture and parasols in the blue Toile de Jouy, a Dior pattern reinterpreted by current designer Maria Grazia Chiuri,
blue marble breaks
Streetwear and tailoring collide in the melting pot of the show from designer Anthony Alvarez, who counts Justin Bieber among his clients.
Alvarez is one to see – mixing travel with urban apparel and bright-eyed color with his fashion repertoire for the MTV generation.
For spring-summer, he turned to psychedelia to produce an eye-catching, loose-fitting collection. Multicolored loose pants with BLUEMARBLE, met with an acid yellow-green oversize coat with a marbled texture. The ’80s pajama pant look, in pearly white, was responsible for one of the collection’s best looks. This rhinestone came in between baggy jeans with a four-leaf clover.
But the show also damaged the designer’s rich legacy. Alvarez is born in New York with a mix of Filipino, Spanish, French and Italian descent. The collection celebrated this globe-trotting vision. Ethnic shirts mixed with silky varsity bombers, and tied leopard foulards looked ready for both safaris and rock concerts.
The brand name itself is global – borrowed from the iconic photo of Earth taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew.
ETUDES takes the train
The design triumvirate Jose Lamali, Jeremy Agri and Aurelian Arbet at Etudes used an abandoned railway on the outskirts of Paris for an urban-themed display – and a creative springboard.
It was the first in an upcoming series of site-specific shows, which use a location or environment for design inspiration. Paris was a logical starting point for this French brand – although the “lesser-known Paris” house here said it was channeling. Guests gazed from the platform on the Petit Sinture, or Little Belt, Railway – a thirty-kilometer track circling the city.
Ripped white jeans, distressed denim, hiking sneakers, industrial-looking baseball caps, boiler suits and Workman’s aprons mixed with utilitarian toggles and straps. They seemed to wake up the ‘disadvantaged’ youth of the ’90s, who might have wandered off the unusable railroad tracks.
These urban contexts relied well on tailoring. The loosely tailored jacket, with a boxy ’80s silhouette, came over matching pants that were cropped below the knee in a funky way, creating military-style boots.
Bianca Saunders puts on second Paris show
One of only a handful of female designers in menswear, Andam Award-winning British designer Bianca Saunders was in a confident mood on Wednesday at a clever show airing her native London.
Saunders, who has Caribbean roots, quickly rose to fame after graduating from Central St. Martin a few years ago. Minimalism was at the heart of this performance.
The quirky details like collars and pockets were creatively morphed into the art form, at times making it seem like the space-age is on the brink. A silver glam rock suit with sanitized elastic pumps sparked the pandemic.
Elsewhere, woolen undergarments such as medieval peasants, which felt quite Vivienne Westwood, were typical of their seemingly effortless trendy touches.