PARIS >> Subzero temperatures were an apt backdrop for fashionistas who arrived in Paris for the first day of warmly-wrapped fall/winter 2017 menswear fashion shows.
The travelling press bid “ciao” to Milan and said “bonjour” to Paris — kicking off 50 fashion shows, endless parties, million-dollar business deals and the last leg of the menswear mania that will sweep the French capital for five days.
Powerhouse Valentino unveiled its couture-infused creations from the now-solo designer Pierpaolo Piccioli on Day 1 — and what a show it was.
Here are the some highlights of Wednesday’s events in Paris:
VALENTINO’S NEW BEGINNINGS
It was all about new beginnings as designer Pierpaolo Piccioli flew solo at the Valentino menswear helm for the first time following the departure of co-designer Maria Grazia Chiuri to Dior.
The normally-elitist, hierarchical seating was replaced so everyone sat in the front row. The house’s traditional menswear venue — the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild — was moved as well to a nearby town house with significantly fewer celebrities.
Above all, the new beginnings were found in the house’s more focused styles — with Piccioli producing Valentino’s strongest menswear show yet.
The theme was subversive: the dapper gentleman mixed with flashes of punk — and garments featured slogans evoking Jamie Reid of Sex Pistols fame. Slim bow ties came alongside multiple layering, while coats and caps seemed to channel a funky sneaker-wearing Sherlock Holmes.
But it was the stylish cut of the coats that made this collection stand out. Exaggerated lengths of sumptuous wool were used to produce long jackets — in monochrome and tartan — that added a weighty, dandy swagger to many of the looks.
CARVEN’S NEW ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP
Carven has named former Dior head studio designer Serge Ruffieux as its new creative director, taking over its womenswear designs next month.
Ruffieux came out of the creative shadows briefly in 2016 to hold the spotlight at Christian Dior, for which he co-designed the praised Avenue Montaigne couture show. He also won notice for his time as the right-hand man of the late French designer Sonia Rykiel.
“I am thrilled to embrace my new creative role at Carven, feeling a real affinity for Madame Carven and her vision of fashion,” Ruffieux said, referring to the fashion icon Marie-Louise Carven who founded the house in 1945.
FACETASM CHANNELS DIVERSITY, VOLUMES
The Tokyo-founded company Facetasm has won plaudits for its conceptual styles with hints of punk.
Its name was based on its founder Hiromichi Ochiai’s idea of the varying angular sides of a diamond — angles that seem contrasting that yet produce an inner harmony.
Wednesday’s color-rich show was an example of this classic yet subversive theme.
Voluminous layering in contrasting patterns, hoods, headscarves and bubble jackets provided the contrasts. A silken slip with lace detailing jarred beautifully with a bright citrus yellow urban jacket, worn off one shoulder as if in a state of hurried (un)dress.
And a billowing tartan cape came in atypical vivid blue that cut a fine look because of the stylish generous lengths of fabric at the front.
Christophe Lamaire is a master of fusing minimalism and the classic.
The former-Hermes designer produced yet another deft, wearable collection with clean lines that riffed on the utilitarian.
It was also highly masculine. The on-trend elements were oversize shirt pockets, belts with multiple hoops, big black leather boots and a silver applique that hung from the waist, evoking a set of workman’s keys.
But the colors, and the coats, and high-waisted sartorial pants were the elements that provided the classical balance in this very thoughtful display.
Colors were used sparingly yet effectively — with black fusing into terracotta, olive and a muted flash of lapis lazuli. The coats were cut in rich, oversize proportions and exuded softness — floppy voluminous lapels and warm velvety knee-length coats.