The Power of Youth: Highlights from Paris Men's Collections – Part #4

Young and fearless – Olivier Rousteing knows how to stage a good show. Ever since he took the reins of Balmain in 2011, when he was barely 25-years-old, Rousteing has had a sky-rocketing career, so much so that he became a celebrity on his own, having Balmain hungry teenagers lining up for hours in order to get their hands on his now infamous collection for H&M – and going completely nuts while they're at it.

 


Balmain Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

 

But let's press rewind for a bit. What is it that makes Rousteing's style so special and accessible to a younger generation? Although the designer respects Balmain's heritage, he's looking beyond luxury towards pop culture by tapping into what his generation loves and refers to – namely Instagram, Starbucks, Kim Kardashian & Co.

“When I made a statement saying that I love to party to Britney Spears' music, some people looked at me and went like 'You're selling dresses for twenty-five thousand grants; how is this even possible?'” Olivier once told me in an interview for Assistant Magazine. “Well, like it or not, it is. Pop culture has affected our lives in many ways, not only in music and fashion.”

This time around, it was a small orchestra set behind the photographer's pit that made for a dramatic and aristocratic atmosphere – without forgetting Britney, who was on the show's soundtrack too. And the setting was not the only thing that called for startling glamour: his F/W16 menswear channeled some emotions as well.

"Young and fearless – Olivier Rousteing knows how to stage a good show."  

 

Balmain Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

 

“It was all about mixing various cultures together, just like we do it in Paris. That's what makes for the beauty of this city,” said the designer backstage after his show, adding that he continued to build upon last season's theme, imagining the mindset and styles of adventurers – so-called young explorers who excited Parisians with their cultural discoveries and with their original ways of thinking. 

“This singular eagerness to embrace a diversity of creations, cultures, and ideas has, of course, continued over generations and centuries, lasting up to our present day – a fact that enrages intolerant minds both here and abroad,” concluded the designer. And indeed, his #balmainarmy of men came with the thrill of a young adventurer – think a multitude of tartans, jacquards, velvets, and wools embellished with opulent embroideries that were used for outfits that mingled urban and military-wear with a regal touch.

 

​Balmain Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

 

While Olivier Rousteing travelled back in time to see what young explorer did before him, traditional fashion houses like Hermès and Lanvin looked into their archives and reinterpreted their very best signature looks with contemporary and youthful elements.

 


Hermes Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

 

At Hermès, Véronique Nichanian's ateliers ensured the house's craftsmanship standards were met and offered a range of desirable menswear numbers that easily blended the house's heritage with more urban influences into a comfortable and confident menswear collection. Standout looks included some youthful style elements and details, such as green shaded herringbone patterns, shark fang prints on calfskin bolide bags, pullovers with eye-popping Steeple Chase stripes print, and multicolored scarves with exotic prints.

 


Dior Homme Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

"Kris Van Assche brought Dior Homme to the next level by rejuvenating the brand's menswear staples"

 

Lucas Ossendrijver, for his part, celebrated Lanvin's heritage with an on-trend F/W16 menswear collection – his 10th so far – surprising us with a fresh take on Lanvin's signature menswear silhouette and next-level craftsmanship that was born out of a long-lasting research and development process with his ateliers – think the many faux patchworks, inside-out constructions, basting stitches, and over-dyeing and spray dyeing by hand, as well as metal and leather detailing, which embellished his slightly subverted masculine wardrobe.

 

​Dior Homme Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

 

Channeling a similar quest for youthful coolness based on the house's signature garments, Kris Van Assche brought Dior Homme to the next level by rejuvenating the brand's menswear staples. Presented on a skater-park-resembling set, Kris Van Assche revealed an outdoor and street-wear inspired offering that came with late 80s and early 90s references in terms of shapes and fits and, interestingly, inserted formality and precise tailoring into it.

 


Kenzo Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

"Kenzo's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon made a tribute to love and music that unite youth worldwide"

 

Elsewhere, Kenzo and Umit Benan were in for another kind of adventure as they looked to the Far East. The latter paid homage to Tokyo, and mix-and-matched traditional Japanese garments and fits with this season's trendy techno elements. Take Japanese warriors, mix them with some Berliner Berghain groove and a good dose of sophistication, and you'll understand Umit Benan's edgy and desirable F/W16 offering.

 


Umit Benan Fall/Winter 2016 menswear show

 

Kenzo's Carol Lim and Humberto Leon tried their best at exploring all facets of Japan's society and looked especially into the culture of the country's youth – its art and music scenes. But beyond that, the designer-duo made a tribute to love and music that unites not only Japan's youth, but the youth worldwide – a tribute that was expressed through a one-of-a-kind choral concert that interpreted Janet Jackson's "Pledge" throughout the show. On the runway, this translated into tailored yet easy silhouettes that came with an urban flair. “Our collection is an ode to the plethora of positivity that permeates a crowd at a maxed out concert, to the joyful obsession and energetic adulation that abounds amongst the masses,” stated the designer-duo in an official release. “It is, after all, music that brings us together.”

 

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