Texture and Layering Came in Many Guises: From a Nod to Victorian Style at Rick Owens to an Ode to Nostalgia & Time-Travelling at Yohji Yamamoto, Fall 2023 Packed a Decidedly Tactile Punch.
Paris Men’s Fall 2023/4 brought with it a tide of time-inspired fashion: some designers looked backwards and derived inspiration from times gone by, others looked straight ahead, innovating, fantasizing and imagining the future.We saw epic ensembles take their inspiration from across centuries and across cultures at Yohji Yamamoto, and even Rick Owen – the ultimate futurist – allowed himself a sneak peek back to Victoriana. Givenchy played with contrast of a different kind, combining classics with street and urban wear to create silhouettes that have a magical eclecticism about them and Acne Studios delved into aspects of gender and fashion, creating an aesthetic and dreamy collection of non-binary pieces.Textures – from faux fur to velvet, satin to denim, patterning – from surface prints & embroidery to intarsia and jacquard knits and layering – pattern on pattern, texture on texture, and often deliberately exposing bare skin, were all there to be marveled at. Black – as is without fail the case with Fall collections – was a key player, and taken to delicious new heights at Saint Laurent.
Check out some of the key moments of Paris Men’s fashion Week Fall 2023/4!
Watch Givenchy’s show here:
This collection started out in a very well-behaved fashion, with classical tailoring … but before you could say Jack Robinson it reavealed its true colours: fabulously eclectic and surprising street and urban wear silhouettes interwoven into the meticulous tailoring. Inspired layering showcased classic, tried-and-tested combos like tartan, plaid, leopard print and camouflage all in one outfit, or an oversized, super luxe ‘gangsa’ faux fur coat over a boucle skirt, topped off with – you guessed it – a diamonte (or is it real diamonds?) necklace. There was snakeskin (of course!), marled jersey and two-tone fake fur across garments that spoke of contemporary – albeit edging on the alternative – menswear: mid-thigh skirts, textured and transparent knits, jumpsuits and cropped hoodies … all simply delicious. The combinations that included predictably ‘prim and proper’ tailoring at the top but soon ‘descended’ into something rather playful, were perhaps the most interesting in this Fall 2023 collection.
Watch Yohji Yamamoto’s show here:
The legend that is Yohji Yamamoto gave us a Fall 2023 collection that deviated decidedly from his beloved monochromatic black (or black & white/ black & red) palette. We saw texture upon texture, pattern upon pattern, creating vivid looks that were reminiscent of characters from an epic drama. Brocade, printed velvet, woven cotton, denim, wool tweed and tartan created collages of sumptuousness and luxuriousness. The puss-in-boots footwear, hats and caps added a distinct dandiness to this lavish collection. At the end of the collection Yamamoto couldn’t resist reverting back to his comfort zone of tried-and-tested black and white layering complete with trademark Yohji Yamamoto braces.
Watch Saint Laurent’s show here:
Black, black and black. The symbol of luxe, elegance, sophistication – and of the house of Saint Laurent. Black – a non-colour – absorbs rather than reflects light, hence designing in all black (bar a few pieces) takes confidence, which Anthony Vaccarello has in excess, and this Fall 2023 collection is full of fabulous takes on tactile texture and clever details to reinvent black as the palette of choice. Standout details were the oversized bows on shirts, the generous and voluminous leather trousers and sequined knitted tunics. The dramatic floor-sweeping overcoats, razors harp tailoring, cummerbunds reminiscent of exotic places and the use of ultra-luxurious silk chiffon and velvet (often importing traditional womenswear garments into the repertoire) also wowed us no end.
DRIES VAN NOTEN
Watch Dries Van Noten’s show here:
The king of colour and texture started his collection in a rather restrained way but soon the demure black, camel, beige and grey gave way to a delicious kaleidoscope of sage green, salmon pink and chocolate brown accents. Exquisite floral prints (Van Noten loves his botanical prints) embellished water-colour, washed-out surfaces on jackets and trousers, embroidery put finishing touches to coat lapels and intricate intarsia emblems decorated knitwear. There were many striking layered ensembles – pattern upon pattern– and many beautiful examples of tactile surface design, as only Van Noten can muster, but the standout shape of the collection has to be that perfectly shaped woolen coat with its slightly exaggerated shoulders and body-hugging shape.
Watch Rick Owens’ show here:
In one of the most highly anticipated shows of the week, maverick Rick Owens, high priest of post-apocalyptic chic, went, well … rather prudish on us. The capes and cloaks, in particular, had a certain Victorian feel to them, the ripped denim (not that the Victorians sported the latter) felt rather dainty and frou-frou and the spikey shoulders of the jackets were a little Dickensian. There was plenty skin on display, though, which gave the collection a very contemporary feel, together with the trademark platform footwear. Particularly quirky this time around were the transparent heels.
The conversation around gender, and what’s menswear and what’s womenswear, continued at Acne. There’s nothing new about it, there is, however, plenty that’s exciting about it. Cropped tops, over-the-knee socks, bodycon onesies and lacy knickers – those items traditionally reserved to suggest female sensuality, are combined in this collection with ‘masculine’ battered jeans, biker trousers and sturdy mountaineering boots. In other ensembles football boots evolved into heels, and worn with a knitted tube dress. This is a collection that’s asking questions – and offering stunning solutions.
WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK
Symbols of life and death were printed on ensembles, made into patchworks and woven into intarsia and jacquard knits, in a collection that states, “We need new eyes to see the future”. Jackets with cutouts across the rib sections were reminiscent of skeletons, serpents and phallic symbols decorated tops and jackets, veils worn by models reminded us of funerals, plastic ‘drips’ sewn onto garments spoke of the fragility of life and ‘protective gear’ embellished outfits. These are fundamental and philosophical questions put out there by Van Beirendonck. Luckily the result was a collection of pieces that were super playful and extraordinary fun, with the colour green celebrated with its connotations (envy, life, vigour, Garden of Eden etc) in all its guises and shades.