Paris Men's Fashion Week: Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton debut, gender fluidity and other runway highlights

Agence France-Presse

Jun,27 2018 19:04:52 IST

As Paris Men's Fashion Week came to an end this Sunday, here are four things we learned from a packed (and at times emotional) six days.

Men don't have to be men

The pressure is off, boys.

Dress like you did when you were a kid raiding your mother's wardrobe. That seems to be the big message from a fashion week where the gender lines have never been more blurred.

Margiela’s first couture menswear show proved to be an epic gender-bender. Image from Twitter/@i_D

Margiela’s first couture menswear show proved to be an epic gender-bender. Image from Twitter/@i_D

We have had men in dresses aplenty on the Paris catwalk but never has the male wardrobe itself been so comprehensively feminised. Blur's 'Girls & Boys' could have been the soundtrack for a week where genderless meant men borrowing all the best bits from the girls to sex up suits, shirts and trousers.

Robert Pattinson attends Dior's fashion show. Image from Twitter/@robpattinsonww

Robert Pattinson attends Dior's fashion show. Image from Twitter/@robpattinsonww

Margiela's John Galliano said the time had come to "liberate" men from their sartorial shackles. For him that meant silks and satins, daring to be "louche" by going shirtless under a suit, and most of all wearing clothes cut on the bias — the technique he has used for years to make his clothes for women so fluid and sensual.

"Gender doesn't matter any more — it's 2018," Kim Jones told AFP before his triumphant debut at Dior Homme where he showed a transparent organza and tulle shirt embroidered with tiny, delicate white feathers.

Models display Kim Jones' gender-fluid creations. Image from Twitter/@TheFashionLaw

Models display Kim Jones' gender-fluid creations. Image from Twitter/@TheFashionLaw

Flowers and floral toile de Jouy blossomed out of a long run of other pieces, "but it is still menswear," he insisted. Loewe used not a little humour to herald fashion's rebirthing of man, opening its presentation with a naked young man sitting on a chair suavely fingering his trumpet.

Pink power

Naturally in such circumstances, pink — once the "boy's colour" before it was supplanted by butch blue in the 1940s — was in full blush. From Dior's pale pink double breasted suits and trench coats to Thom Browne's Vichy check and bubblegum pink lobstar coats and the old rose of timeless Hermes, the colour threw its puff powder hue everywhere.

Pale blue and pink dior creations aimed to break outdated fashion norms. Images from Twitter/@THEIMONATION

Pale blue and pink dior creations aimed to break outdated fashion norms. Images from Twitter/@THEIMONATION

Vuitton's Jones said it was time to bury the old wussy prejudices. "In LA kids in the street wear pink all the time. So it's not, 'Oh it's pink, I won't wear it', anymore," he added.

Fellow Briton Paul Smith agreed, sending out borderline violet DB jackets Sunday, while Lanvin also flirted with floral and silky pinks.

Purist, restrained Valentino even used it for its logo while Raf Simons celebrated its gender-bending New Romantic glamour in fuschia satin coats and scarves.

Even rappers can cry

"Witnessed black history" Rihanna told her 63.5 million Instagram followers after watching Virgil Abloh make his debut at Louis Vuitton on Thursday, a black man at last at the head of the world's biggest luxury brand. "Proud of you bro," she added under a picture of the pair hugging.

Virgil Abloh and Rihanna

Virgil Abloh and Rihanna

But she could equally have been talking about the long, lingering embrace and the tears Abloh and his friend and mentor Kanye West shed after his show in the Palais Royal.

More than the clothes, their celebrity psychodrama defined fashion week on social media.

The rapper had always wanted to design for a big Paris fashion house but it was Abloh his protege who got there first. Cue wounded pride and a long hurt silence from the Ye. The sight of them moving on so dramatically — and so publicly — had many a lip trembling. It also brought West's wife Kim Kardashian back to Paris, reportedly from the first time since she was tied up and robbed in 2016.

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Rapper Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West spotted in Paris after for the first time since the 2016 robbery. Image from Twitter/kkkworld

Street becomes boulevard

The star power of Paris shows used to be judged by the number of Hollywood stars on the front row. With streetwear now a fixture of almost every collection, it's rappers that labels are now vying to court.

Model Bella Hadid and designer Victoria Beckham were among the front-rowers at the Dior show. Images from Twitter/@StreetFashion01 and @SAlNTLUST

Model Bella Hadid and designer Victoria Beckham were among the front-rowers at the Dior show. Images from Twitter/@StreetFashion01 and @SAlNTLUST

Apart from Kanye West — who has his own Yeezy line of clothes and Adidas trainers — Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti and Steve Lacy were spotted rubbing shoulders at shows. ASAP Rocky appeared to be ever present, checking out and modelling Dior, Vuitton, Raf Simons and Rick Owens, whose whole show turned on another rapper, Tommy Cash.

Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss bring some supermodel glam to the runway. Image from Twitter/@dior

Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss bring some supermodel glam to the runway. Image from Twitter/@dior

Its soundtrack was an instrumental version of the wacky post-Soviet Estonian star's hit 'Pussy Money Weed', and Cash walked the runaway as a model in one of Owens' key looks.

Updated Date: Jun 27, 2018 19:04 PM