New York Fashion Week has become such a dispiriting spectacle of banality and celebrity entertainment that I did not go a single show. So, on to Paris, the home of real design, or, more accurately, a place where real design is shown.
For those who have established a certain aesthetic direction of taste the world becomes smaller and more intimate.
This past June in Paris I was sitting in the lobby bar of the InterContinental hotel, catching up with a prominent boutique owner after the Haider Ackermann menswear show. She was in dour spirits. “How am I supposed to sell fashion when even people who go to shows don’t wear fashion?” she asked ruefully and rhetorically. She was referring to the way the continuing casualization of style has been taking a toll on designer fashion at large. She was right. Today, one can see fashion insiders sporting Adidas track pants or a Nike jacket worn by a so-called “fashion person,” as likely as say a Rick Owens leather or a Celine bag. Last season, Instagram feeds of street style photographers were flooded with images of fashion people in Thrasher magazine t-shirts. This time the trend seemed to pivot in a new direction, as time after time I spotted attendees in various band t-shirts – Hole, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, and so on.
Fashion is often shunned by the thinking types. It is considered frivolous, shallow, and materialistic. And so much of it is. But there is something in the word “materialistic” that is not all bad. At its root is something grounded, tangible, graspable. There is something to be said for ownership. In its truest, considered form there is something like strength of conviction in ownership, a passion of sorts, and a deep sense of appreciation. Collecting is the most passionate form of ownership, a pursuit that is not all that shallow if carefully examined. Ownership and collecting are loaded with history and experience, with memory of things past, with respect to those who have created what you own. There is no shame in ownership of garments, and there is no shame in relating to material things, be they clothes or otherwise. In our rental culture, from streaming services to Rent the Runway to constant reselling, the pride of ownership and a sense of care that true ownership implies is diminishing in favor of display. Everything is transient, exacerbated by social media, especially Instagram.
When Supreme started making clothes in 1994, its ethos was crystal clear. It was a downtown skate brand for downtown skaters.
Last week the Business of Fashion published my Op-Ed lamenting the exodus of creative labels like Thom Browne and Proenza Schouler, who decided to move their shows from New York to Paris.
Like most brands, Visvim, the cult Japanese label created and designed by Hiroki Nakamura, has its Parisian showroom in the Marais.
Interviewing the founder of a grooming brand, now that’s something I would have never thought I would do.
This time I chose to review showrooms in a separate article for several reasons. While looking at shows can provide one with an overarching view of a designer’s aesthetic statement, the final test sometimes comes at the showroom.
Our take on the Paris Men’s fashion week, with reviews of shows by Haider Ackermann, Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten, Sacai, Lanvin, and Thom Browne.