With Pharrell Williams’ debut for Louis Vuitton last week, it’s easy to forget that it was just the opening show of a very busy week in Paris.
While Williams has featured gospel choirs, Jay-Z performances and endless Damier checks, other brands have kept their shows relatively low-key. With a more muted palette than the eye-popping colors seen at Vuitton, other men’s labels have offered ideas that go easy.
With an overall sense of refined elegance, the collections offered a dressy but truly wearable alternative to streetwear.
Kim Jones presented a show featuring beautifully dressed models rising from the floor to celebrate the Maison’s fifth anniversary. Not only was it a joy to witness, this cinematic opening produced a quiet spectacle, as stated in Jones’ set list.
After delving into Dior’s haute couture side a few seasons ago, he returned to that treasure trove here, adding matching vases to jackets, sprinkling gaudy jewels on men’s tops and cardigans, and revisiting the house’s signature cannon pattern.
The famous cross-hatched, stitched Dior cannage pattern is more commonly seen on women’s pieces such as the Lady Dior bag, but Jones reworked it for men this season, tying the collection together with a running theme.
He offered chunky knit jumpers in pink, box coats and shorts in slubby tweed in shades of blue and grey, and an apricot tweed round-shoulder coat. It has also appeared on sunglasses frames and is running on heavy soles.
At Givenchy, designer Matthew Williams also delved into the house’s couture history, opening the show with four elegant pieces. Over-cut – both wide and tall and with pants that were attached to the shoes (also seen in the Louis Vuitton show) – these were followed by simple labels, but they were not.
While he sometimes struggled to find his footing at Givenchy, here Williams reworked the everyday pieces that fill everyone’s closet to keep each one simple. Wool coats, anoraks and eyelet tops were long and flared, while bomber jackets, tank tops and leather gloves were wrinkled. A boxy military jacket changed into a sleeveless jumpsuit, an evening jacket ripped from his waist.
On the runway, Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson once again offered his unique perspective. This happened because the pants were worn ridiculously high and the sweater was baggy on top.
And this stereotype is perfectly Anderson’s. Never afraid to add humor to the work, this outing features two giant fabric bottles, oversized pins, and a cream cardigan laid out on the floor like a dress shirt—the same way a belt is worn. They were wearing what looked like a double-collared sweater and flared denim jeans, but were actually made of thousands of blue crystals.
In particular, Williams sat on this show, carrying a Vuitton bag worth about 1 million euros. Directly from the collection, the bright yellow Speedy comes with a solid gold chain made of crocodile skin and a gold and diamond clasp.
At Hermès, meanwhile, creative director Veronique Nichanian is the master of expression. Having overseen the menswear department for 35 years – making her name as the longest tenure at any label – she has created her own lexicon of menswear, with polished simplicity and meticulous detail.
In this collection, she flaunts her trademark relaxed, racy elements. Showing off shorts cut from buttery-smooth calfskin and wide-leg pants that cinched at the ankles, she added a sweater for breezy comfort. Like mesh shirts, singlets and zip-up aviators, the effect was very simple and sensual.
However, the real star of the runway is the company’s original bag, the Haut a Courroies, originally conceived to carry boarding gear. Now redesigned and available in burgundy, burnt chocolate and ecru canvas.
Updated: June 27, 2023, 12:00 p.m