A bouncy castle by Louis Vuitton, a watering can by Fendi, a pear bag at Lanvin and codpieces galore at Thom Browne.
You could never accuse the men’s spring/summer 2020 shows, which just wrapped up in Paris, and which mark the arrival of a new fashion decade, of dreariness.
This season felt upbeat, even if some of the things on the runway we’ve come to expect for spring, such as florals, pink (including Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín in a Vuitton bubblegum-fuschia hoodie), white, kaftans and a soupçon of sheer.
There were many sleeveless jackets (why?), hats (fun!) boots (for summer, OK!) and shirts worn plunging to navel (the new short-short?).
But first to Marni. Where I decided I shall drag my bag on the floor behind me, as some of the models did in Milan, during arguably one of the season’s most energetic and thrilling shows by creative director Francesco Risso. His scenario was the imaginary wedding of Truman Capote to Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Trousers slashed at the ankle, camo mingled with flower power, suiting mismatched, hotel slippers made from off-cuts of fabric, and hats by artist Shalva Nikvashvili. It was fabulous chaos, ideas galore, clothes to have fun in.
Jonathan Anderson at Loewe was on equally wondrous form in a standout Paris show. Here, too, the spark comes from the designer’s imagination but also collaboration. Artworks on monitors by Hilary Lloyd were part of the set while fabrications throughout the collection had been crafted with artisans from Kenya, Bangladesh and Japan. Clothes and accessories were gloriously fashiony, from jumbo-striped knits that looked like ponchos, to suede dungarees, and kaftans that drifted around in artful perfection. Backstage, Anderson said he’d wanted “romantic, youthful, nomadic-ness, nymph-like”. It was dreamy.
Rather like the view of Paris from the sixth floor of the Pompidou Centre, the setting for the debut runway show for Ludovic de Saint Sernin, a young label that has been creating waves in fashion circles for a few seasons. Cue Rick Owens (in plexi-glass high-heeled boots of his own design) and Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing front row. Sensual and sexy, with a sort of Nineties gloss (a dash of Helmut Lang, a smidgeon of Sharon Stone in Sliver), this was a confident affair. Tailoring is body hugging, knickers are brief, cargo pants (a trend) are elegant with eyelets, leather is cut into the perfect short. Basically, watch this space.
Next up: Hedi Slimane’s flared jeans at Celine; the one item I wanted to take straight off the runway and put on asap. Ironically, perhaps, given that Slimane’s previous role saw him turn Saint Laurent into a megawatt brand, it reminded me of a pair Yves Saint Laurent famously wore. Anyway, there were 51 looks here, all of which will surely be fashion catnip to Slimane’s fans.
Raf Simons also delivered a collection certain to satisfy his ardent followers, including tops handpainted by Raf himself. It’s OK if you just fainted, I almost fell out of a taxi when I found out this news from Raf HQ. Other things to note here: canvas lab coats (to underline experimentation, blank canvas, art), boxer short-shorts with a boot, trousers rolled up to the knee, the slogan: My Own Private Antwerp, a reference to the Gus Van Sant classic, My Own Private Idaho.
When the opening strains of This Charming Man by The Smiths played at Jil Sander, I knew it was a good omen. This collection was gorgeous, from striped top-and-trouser sets to fabulously cut shirting, cracking sandals and effortless spring coats. Basically, clothes to wear with minimal fuss. See also Lemaire, whose Seventies silhouette looked brilliantly modern; it’s hard to find a label that makes better wide trousers. Dunhill is also very good at this, plus it does a great line of not-boring but not-ridiculous-either — harder to find than one thinks — tailoring.
Last up, five other things of fashion greatness for SS20… One, Homme Plissé by Issey Miyake — there was a maypole, dancers, drummers and great signature breezy clothes; this label has been heavily worn by fashion editors this season.
Two, Fendi’s garden show — my favourite outfit of the season might just be its trench with a jean ensemble. Three, Rick Owen’s aforementioned towering plexi boots, boiler suits and barely-there aertex shorts. Four, Rochas: under the guidance of Federico Curradi this label is a smorgasbord of elegance: investigate with urgency. And Five,the crafty knits and sexy tux vibes at JW Anderson, polished off with a Robyn Megamix which, yes, sent me a bit doolally.
And if fashion doesn’t do that, really what is the point? Probably none.
Simon Chilvers is men’s content director at Matchesfashion.com
- Here's Why Tess Holliday Is Our Breakout Star of Fashion Week Spring 2020
- Paris Fashion Week 2020: Fashion goes 18th century at PFW SS 2020
- See the Best Fashion Looks at Spring 2020 Fashion Week: From Risqué Shirts to Blanket-Like Dresses
- Max Mara channels secret service chic at Milan fashion week
- Cardi B and Nicki Minaj Almost Fought at a Fashion Week Party
- Kanye West’s muse designer Virgil Abloh debuts at Paris Fashion Week
- The Best Beauty Looks at Spring 2020 Fashion Week: From Glitter Brows to Exaggerated Blush and More
- Paris fashion week: Balenciaga awes with grown-up chic collection
- Extinction Rebellion stage funeral at London fashion week finale
- Gucci model stages mental health protest at Milan fashion week