Paris Day Six: Celine’s 70s Fascination

Hedi Slimane’s nostalgia for the Seventies was strong on the catwalk of Celine that closed this June edition of Paris Men’s Fashion Week. A posse of cloned ephebic, yet fiercely romantic, boys strolled with bangs, sunglasses, and fists deeply inserted in their pockets. 

Celine Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

Two different worlds with the same attitude were there: the decent boy off for the weekend with the vintage grandpa blazers and his own jeans for life, and the rebel one with his dad’s leather jacket and pants from the disco ages. So different, but so similar because they looked like part of the same open-minded family. Impeccable tailoring as usual, sharp shouldered jackets with cotton and denim shirts and wide open collars à la John Travolta, but here very chic. On the other side, there was the nasty boy with leather or varsity blousons with shirts or tees. One item pooled everything: the bell-bottomed pants. Jeans, classic from suits or in tight leather, they were all long, skinny, and worn with pointed moccasins or sneakers. On one hand, the language was Slimane’s well-known (and always welcomed by his fans) message, while on the other, the romantic touch of the good boy was another beautiful piece added to the puzzle of the Celine world. The straw hat and picnic bags, the red carnation on the lapels, the nerdy creased blue jeans – all injecting a hint of delicacy to the earnest faced guy that Slimane invented. 

Lanvin Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

In the beautiful Pailleron swimming pool opened in 1933 – shut down in the 90s, but now renovated and reopened – Bruno Sialelli unveiled his second collection at Lanvin. On the sunny Sunday morning Paris show, they delivered a positive mood about holidays, leisure, and fun. Sialelli explored the freedom of the relaxed mood of Greek islands, of working out and being healthy. A playful palette came from the deep sea, the sand and the stones, a lot of knitwear and prints. There was also the collaboration with the character Babar, the cute elephant of the children’s tales created by French writer and painter Jean de Brunhoff, for some printed items. The second collection was an affirmation of the designer’s vision, but the strong Loewe resemblance is still undeniable. The debate is on fire: was he the real mastermind of the Loewe aesthetic (considering also the different pace Anderson showed) or he is replicating the codes of his previous job to play it safe?

Kenzo Spring/Summer 2020 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Creative Directors and head designers of the brand since 2011, presented their final collection at Kenzo before leaving the Maison founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada. It was a happy celebration of the end of a very successful collaboration that started with the tiger’s t-shirt and sweaters that became an instant commercial success (and which is still going on). This last collection celebrated the beautiful Ama divers, called also the “Japanese Mermaids,” the Japanese women who dive in apnoea to collect shellfish, seaweed, and pearls. The co-ed collection showed all the elements that are part of this marine world from pearls and shells to the color palette that ranged from the hues of water, pale coral pink, and white. This last collection was balanced between tailoring and sportswear, and the Japanese recalls were well included without being too literal. During the shows, performers wore pieces of all the previous collections of the duo and, in the meantime, Solange Knowles played live with a brass band. Now everybody is waiting to hear who will be next, and the most rumored so far is the French designer Marine Serre (LVMH prize winner in 2017), but also Martine Rose has been mentioned. Let’s wait and see.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

Since he started, it was all about sex. And this season, Ludovic de Saint Sernin marked his debut in the official calendar. His name created a buzz around his work, and it became an instant fashion darling since he launched the brand in 2017 with his overt imagery about the body and its sensuality. This Spring/Summer collection 2020 was entitled “Wet ‘n’ Wild” and it featured ultralight and transparent looks together with leather jackets and shorts with fetishist metal eyelets. The designer’s work was much more captivating in his early collection when he used to also play with ceramic one-off pieces that, throughout the designs, created a more interesting kind of storytelling; this collection, on the contrary, looked weak and showed some gaps in tailoring (the very low-waisted Swarovski pants were slipping down; if the model had not held them, they would not have stayed up).

Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Paul Smith’s tailoring became legendary throughout his career, and this collection seemed to celebrate it by centering the jacket and suits as pivotal items around which the whole collection has been built. Maintaining the traditional construction, it became wider to turn into an overcoat or shrank to become a spencer or a workwear piece. All the classic suits were elongated and soft, for a relaxed silhouette reflected also by the pastel-y colours of the beginning and the natural earth tones of the second part, in between flashes of candy pink and acid yellow.  

Dunhill Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Since English designer Mark Weston joined Dunhill in 2017 (he was at Burberry before), as Creative Director of the British brand, he did well. After several past attempts to revitalize the brand, he finally found a proper dimension mixing a fashion touch and the traditional British heritage. Proportions have been distorted to redefine the tailoring: the double-breasted jackets and coats were deeply buttoned on the right side creating a new shape that was reminiscent of the Japanese kimono. The elements of the formal look were present but just in references: the jacket wrapped the silhouette, the idea of the waistcoat is layered underneath, and the classic white/blue striped shirt looked like a scarf. The designer also juxtaposed the digital craft (with the logo distorted on the raining capes) and the traditional craft (in garments and accessories). Weston is exploring a hazardous territory; but, so far, he is finding the right balance between the catwalk and stores’ needs.

1017 ALYX 9SM Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Paris. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

ALYX Studio, by creative director Matthew Williams, lies between function, sport, and urban wear. He always keeps an eye on society and tries to evolve his fashion in order to follow the everchanging era in which we are living. He is a pioneer, both aesthetically and conceptually, and this season he entered in a circle that is not so familiar to him: the tailoring. In fact, the first part of the collection was all about sharp silhouettes for men and women – short dresses and ladylike looks. Williams talked about pliancy, explaining that in today’s world this is the only strength we have, and so it is. Compared to other designers from his generation (who often get stuck in a killer loop of self celebration), he masterfully managed his ability to adapt to changes – imagining different men and women that are prepared for every different situation. Not only with his signature activewear that became the coolest thing of the moment, but also with a precise tailoring and sexy short black dresses and heels that had nothing to do with functionality. The functional style was still there in details (the closing buckles and the chains) and the full looks in the second part of the show, but the separation of the introduction of this new world was clear.