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Menswear Paris 2015-2016

by Bernardo van Eekhout in Lifestyle & Fashion , 04 november 2015


The French capital Paris will invest fifty-seven million Euros in the fashion industry. This investment is meant to give the Parisian fashion industry a boost over the next five years. With this, Anne Hidalgo, the female Mayor of Paris, wants to ensure that Paris remains the capitol of fashion, and she will do anything to make sure it will.

Mayor Hildago: “By making this huge amount available, we now have the means to perpetuate our position as global fashion capitol.” Because the competition for Paris as fashion capitol is getting more intense, now that London and New York are also organizing special editions of male shows on their fashion calendar. This makes sense, as menswear lately has been on the rise!

It seems contradictory, but men are now spending more money on clothes than women. Men and garments have finally found each other! This is a unique event in history. It is expected that globally, the amount of money men will spend on clothing will be around forty billion American dollars in 2019. In the United Kingdom, this is now approximately ten billion British Pounds. On a monthly basis, the Dutch male is now also spending more money on garments and care than women. Monthly, he spends seventy-three Euros on clothing, where women spend sixty-six Euros. Menswear is definitely booming.

Apparently now, men are just as concerned about how they look as women have been for ages. But in spite of consumers spending seven hundred million Euros more in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, Dutch clothes shops are still struggling, with their mutual sales at fifteen percent below the 2008 level, at the onset of the global credit crunch. Because of the economic turmoil, consumers have become more cost-conscious and have grown used to long sales periods and high discounts. Consequently, the Dutch fashion sales dropped by three percent over 2014, and by eight percent in France.

Consumers spending less on garments cause oversupply that result in continuous pricing pressure. And wasn’t the garments supply too high in the first place? According to Jean Paul Gaultier this is definitely the case. “Too many clothes have killed the fashion industry. Fashion has changed. They system simply isn’t working any more. There are just not enough people to buy these clothes. We make clothes that are not even meant to be worn. There are fashion labels that are producing cheap clothes well, for instance Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo. Customers can dress for very little money. So why would a consumer buy expensive designer clothes?”

Luxury Craftsmanship

This must also have been the reason why Belgian fashion designer Kris Van Assche decided to temporarily stop with this own, ten-year-old fashion label. “These are hard times for independent brands. My own line could only exist with the financial support of friends. And I want to put a stop to that now. I want to take some distance to see how I could potentially develop my own label again in the future.” Meanwhile, he will focus on his role as creative director of Dior Homme. He opens its collection with the most perfectly cut black tuxedo jackets in different lengths. They look modern because the models wear black baseball caps with it. “I call this collection techno-tailor craftsmanship, both formal and dynamic. These are young men who know what elegance is, but wear it their own way.”

The new Dior trousers are inspired on the comfortable jogging pants with drawstring closure in black leather or formal pinstripe. Van Assche plays with lengths throughout the entire collection - knitted vests to the knees, sometimes with finishing pipes in fluorescent yellow that come out of under classic grey blazers. Accompanied by classic black lace-up shoes with fluorescent yellow soles, which comes back in the woollen checkered fabric in which fluorescent yellow has been woven into. “It is romantic and realistic, formal and sporty. Classic craftsmanship, but in a sporty, contemporary way.” Wearing buttons with a flower in them is an absolute must. “I like men being both romantic and modern, and Monsieur Dior very much liked flowers, so we used real flowers in the buttons. It is more modern than a real rose in one’s lapel.”

According to Luxury Daily, Dior is in third place of strongest luxury brands of 2014. The number one position is for Louis Vuitton, one of the brands of luxury conglomerate LVMH. LVMH booked its strongest sales increase since 2012. In the first six months of 2015, sales rose by nineteen percent to 16.7 billion Euros. The brand Louis Vuitton in particular was responsible for a good start for the conglomerate. The demand for the famous Louis Vuitton bags is still strongest among Chinese consumers. This time, Louis Vuitton’s collection was all about the English fashion designer and artist Christopher Louis Nemeth. His graphic artwork of woven rope motive in particular was literally used by creative director Kim Jones as a theme for the many prints.

Jones: “I think he is the most important designer to have come out of London alongside Vivienne Westwood. I wanted to openly celebrate his life and work this season at Louis Vuitton.” Jones noted that it was easy to use his graphic motives for the garments, as well as for various other Louis Vuitton products. From the Nemeth archives, Jones chose four different rope prints he had printed on woollen sweaters, parkas with toggle fastening, and loose fitting three-quarter coats worn on super small trousers with turned-up trousers. In sand color, mouse grey and deep blue green. The most successful ones are the XL frayed rope prints in black on oversized camel colored jackets. Befitting, there are matching cases dressed with the same (print) fabric.

Shocking

One of the many brands that are also under the LVMH umbrella is Givenchy. This luxury label has become very popular lately because of its sporty sweaters with striking prints. But this time, creative director Riccardo Tisci shows a very sinister and occult collection, reinforced by the scary skull faces of the male models. “Back to the Givenchy roots,” according to Tisci. The collection is build up in different series, and starts with pinstripe costumes in different lengths and colors worn over each other. Up close, some seams are frayed. The series of Moroccan carpet prints on trousers and jackets is colorful. The best is a long coat spangled in black at shoulder height, which slowly shades off to a bright amber print. All male models wear black nail varnish and a tricot skirt over each outfit that has been unbuttoned at the front. Again, female models were used on the catwalk (just like with the collections for Raf Simons, Saint Laurent and Prada). Recently, Givenchy has opened an exclusive men-only store in Paris.

As the face of the Givenchy campaign, Tisci surprisingly chose Donnatella Versace. “I believe in breaking the rules. Riccardo is extremely talented and also a friend of mine. We’re family. I want to get rid of the old system and think we should work together more often, support each other, and make the fashion community a truly global one,” says Donnatella.

The biggest shock on the Parisian catwalk was caused by the show of American designer Rick Owens, in which the genitals of some models were partly visible. With strategically placed openings at the groin at ingeniously draped tunics with graphic lines as a print, Owens’ show got the most headlines in the (social) media. Owens: “Men with their dicks out is such a simple, childish, and ancient gesture. Nudity is powerful. I didn’t do it to shock people, I also do not wear underwear. However, I do like to present a utopian world without any form of fear or shame.” A gimmick or a serious message?

Classic Revival

Much more realistic is the no-nonsense collection of Paul Smith. His trademark is classic clothing with a twist, this time with the oversized silhouette dominating. His best are the classic men’s jackets in a blocked, raffish color pattern which are sometimes in padded XL version with matching scarf and sweater. Smith: “Obviously we still have the classic garments, but the silhouette is much wider. The garments have a fuller look. This time, the color palette is more subdued, think of brown greys and salmon pink.” The knitted sweaters with colored triangle motive will undoubtedly quickly be copied by the fast fashion chains. But if this winter is really cold, Sir Smith offers the most spacious (fake?) fur coats in patchwork for men. “You know, we sell in over seventy-three countries worldwide. And in many of these countries winters are very cold. Therefore we have many warm coats in our collection.” The now sixty-nine-year-old Sir Smith is worth about 315 million British Pounds. Especially in Japan, his garments have been popular for years.

Reviving the old French fashion houses is not always going well, but Carven, which was founded in 1945, is undergoing a true revival and is quickly becoming a hot fashion label. With the recently appointed new creative directors Adrien Caillaudaud and Alexis Martial (both with work experience at Givenchy), the clothing of the seventy-year-old Carven is far from dated. The concise men’s collection is pure and simple when it comes to lineation, with strong 1980s influences. For example the somewhat oversized men’s coat with sharp shoulders and cut point lapel and stitched-on pockets. In camel or dark grey. Interesting is a simply cut striped shirt with a high wrinkled turtle-neck. Or a patted bomber jack in pinstripe, worn on pleated trousers. It is not complicated fashion, but desirable items that are a nice mix of minimalism and graphic simplicity.

Carven’s menswear can also be bought online. E-commerce is also becoming increasingly important as a source of income for many other luxury brands. It is expected that online sales will have risen with eighteen percent by 2025, which comes to a yearly amount of seventy billion Euros. Online sales now constitute approximately six percent of total sales of luxury brands. Especially European men like to shop on the web - they are now bigger web shoppers than women. The European male is buying twice as much online as women do, with an average of two products per month. Men are also spending more compared to women. Of men with high incomes, sixty-six percent regularly buys articles via the Internet. An increasing number of men is looking for handsome menswear in order to compete with other men. The credit crunch forced men to also want to impress potential employers. The harsh competition made men feel that they should pay more attention to how they presented themselves.
 



 







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In the New Issue of Gay News, 313, September 2017

















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