Walter Van Beirendonck is one of the foremost thought-provoking and interesting designers working today. His collections, equally avant-garde and weird, sometimes skew one way or the other but for FW17, his focus was on power and how the hunger for it brings out the beasts in so many. Sure, there were well cut suits, cool knits and sharp footwear but the focus here were on the fables on the clothes, focusing on power and how the powerful want more and more influence, expanding their hold on it as much as they can (see the supremely oversized gloves), even going to war to achieve more (see the nouveau-jerkins). Political statements are not new to this Belgian designer but this collection, at this moment in history, feels so relevant.
Fluid layers and an ample use of pattern littered Issey Miyake's FW17 collection, curated by Yoshiyuki Miyamae.
Haider Ackermann finds himself in a new position for FW17, not only is he showing his eponymous collection during Paris Fashion Week but later this week, Friday to be exact, he'll be showing his first collection for Berluti. However, tonight it's all about the Haider Ackermann man. Who is he and what will he be wearing this coming season? If this short but sweet collection of rich and lush fabrics is any clue, it'll be patterned. Ackermann has a way with pattern and he utilizes this skill prodigiously every season and for FW17, they mostly stayed within the buffalo plaid and houndstooth family. Both are popular patterns in menswear but Ackermann offered them in new and unusual ways like a scoop neck houndstooth knit or buffalo plaid pants, topsy turvy indeed. In all, the collection hit all the marks of an Ackermann collection with nuances that added a bit of flare.
What word is the next level up from "exaggeration"? That would be an apropos description of Glenn Martens' latest collection for Y/Project. The structure of the warped clothes were a marvel and, though not entirely practical, were still a sight to behold if only for its workmanship. Throughout the collection, the warped proportions, fit and design deftly described the sort of world everyone is living through. Then the finale of two oversized, floor-length coats, with fur accents, descended down the runway and the rest seemed like a dream. If only.
Few do understated luxury like Lemaire. These unassuming clothes are rife with luxurious fabrics and cool details, whether the cropped and oversized peacoats or the design and weave of a knit.
Pierpaolo Piccioli's solo collections for Valentino have begun to show what kind of influence his former co-designer Maria Grazia Chiuri had on the collections. Valentino under Piccioli has been decidedly more egalitarian and less formal. Fall/Winter 2017 is a prime example: every outfit was shown with sneakers, even the final look, a tuxedo. The tailoring was also a little looser and pants were also noticeably more athletic minded, many of which looked like high end track pants. The outerwear was where the formal (and dapper) made cameos. Capes are still a thing at Valentino, like a rosy pink number, while the more traditional coats like peacoats and topcoats were looser with rounded shoulders. There was also nary a tie to be seen, instead most looks came accessorized with a comically skinny bowtie, as if Piccioli was poking fun at the notion of dressing up in today's world, where the writing is truly on the wall that the traditional suit-and-tie culture is fading out and fast. Valentino is just another prime example of high fashion reacting to this new reality in menswear.
Demna Gvasalia injected tailoring into his latest collection for Balenciaga, like the baggy pinstripe suits shown. However, the collection was unsurprisingly laid back with shirts full unbuttoned, revealing the tiny frames that wore the baggy clothes. There were Balenciaga branded boots, from combat to moonboots, as well sweatshirts that were branded with the Balenciaga logo or that of its parent company, Kering, pronounced "caring". How apt. In the end, the collection had the hallmarks of Gvasalia's aesthetic: wide and baggy and an emphasis on dramatic shoulders and silhouettes.
Comfort and style are two reasons why Giorgio Armani has garnered such a loyal following. His softly tailored suits look good and feel good to wear. The DNA of his eponymous label hasn't changed much in the last, say, 30-plus years. However, there are nuances to each collection that differentiate it. It could be the use of different fabrics, fur or velvet, or a different shape of a jacket, four buttons tightly hugging the wearer. For FW17, fur and texture took on new, larger roles in the collection, from the oversized fur coats at the end to a fuzzy mohair coat to the sleeve scarves seen throughout. The scarves and accessories hugged and comforted the models, like they were adult version of security blankets. These are hard times after all, maybe Signor Armani knows the world needs a bit of comfort and security now.
Sunnei describe themselves as "handmade in Italy" but this isn't the same sort of prim and proper Italian tailoring one comes to expect from such a label. Instead, this label is much more youth-oriented and freespirited than heritage labels whose bread and butter are suits and ties. For FW17, the label offered wide and elongated pants, folded at the ankle, as well as chunky shirts, and a fur vest, reminiscent of something typically seen at a women's collection. Again, the brand is much more freespirited and doesn't conform much to gender norms like other Italian labels.