Paris Menswear Fashion Week S/S '16: The Highlights

Reviews from Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme and more

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1 | Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones, men's style director at Louis Vuitton, has set himself a rather difficult task. Now in his fifth year at the brand, Jones' past eight collections have received unanimous applause from both the fashion press and consumers alike. Richly reasearched, beautifully realised and immaculately tailored, Jones' clothes are desirable, wearable and above all, relevant.

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The question is, can he keep up the momentum? If Jones' ninth collection for the brand, Spring Summer '16, is anything to go by, he most certainly can. Shown in Paris, the collection focused on a range of Jones' favourite destinations instead of just one – as has been the way in previous seasons (Autumn Winter '13 was inspired in its entirety by a trip Jones took to Buhtan, while Autumn Winter '14 was influenced by Chile's Atacama desert), incredible deep blue bombers and belted coats were cut from Japanese Kobe leather, while satin bombers were embroidered with Indonesian birds of paradise, and beautifully light silk shirts featured monkeys from China. Shades of red, white and blue dominated, which also gave the collection a distinct American feel – affirmed by the jaunty fifties-style neck scarves and petrol blue worker suits cut from effervescent silk denim.

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– Teo van den Broeke

2 | Berluti

 

Colour! @Berluti #Berluti #PFW

A photo posted by Esquire Magazine (@ukesquire) on

Colour at Berluti. Creative director Alessandro Sartori is not shy about using bolder shades, but his Spring Summer '16 collection was a lesson in how to move away from navy and grey. Bold, loose weave single breasted jackets in purples, cobalts and palm leaf greens were teamed with tonal slim cut trousers. Trouser widths became wider as the show went on. Broad shapes cut from cotton and linen were teamed with sleek sneakers and loafers. The casual mood was developed with geometric print jumpers worn beneath deconstructed suits, and soft Napa jackets teamed with sharply tailored suit trousers.

Beautifully cut, oversized tracksuit-style tops in linen were interesting and unexpected, while acid pop leather cagoules, short sleeved safari suits and high shine leather macs were playful and belied the countless man hours it must have taken to produce them. The key piece was a perforated leather half placket track top, not only because it epitomised the perforation trend elegantly and succinctly, but because it looked pretty great too.

– Teo van den Broeke

3 | Hermes

 

Patterned bombers, super-light suede over shirts and drapey cotton trousers at a distinctly summery @hermes #PFW #Hermes

A photo posted by Esquire Magazine (@ukesquire) on

For a brand which works predominantly with winter-friendly materials such as leather, fur and crocodile skin, Hermes does Spring Summer remarkably well. Perhaps it's the lightness of touch for which the brand is best known, but creative director Veronique Nichanian translated Hermes' richly textured aesthetic into wearable summery pieces, such as soft knitted crew neck jumpers in block geometric shades, light Napa blousons, impossibly thin leather and suede over-shirts and drapey cotton trousers in both bright and neutral shades.

The brand's signature use of pattern was also prevalent, printed over bomber jackets, shirts and scarves. Key pieces included a pair of mood-capturing striped pyjama pants, a horizontal striped silk blouson and a pair of beautifully slouchy suede trousers in an alluring shade of grassy green. Given that it's currently pushing thirty degrees in Paris, you couldn't help but envy the lightly-clad models their feather-light outfits.

– Teo van den Broeke

4 | Paul Smith

Trousers are receiving a lot of attention on the runways right now. For years, thanks primarily to Hedi Slimane's much celebrated tenure at Dior Homme, the go-to shape on the slack front was either slim, skinny or paint-on-skinny.

Things are changing, and no where was the shift more apparent than in Paul Smith's Paris show. Teamed with oversized single and double breasted suit jackets in pop colours, which had a distinct teddy boy vibe, it was Smith's trousers which did the talking. From extra-long slightly boot cut styles, ruched around the tops of Cuban heeled Chelsea boots, to ankle swinging suit trousers and super-wide slouchy slacks – there wasn't a skinny jean in sight. It's good news for us as it means we're no longer confined to the thigh constricting styles of seasons past – because if Sir Paul's doing it, you should be too.

– Teo van den Broeke

5 | Sandro

 

Final stand for the models. Thank you guys #PalaisdeTokyo #Paris #PFW #SS16

A photo posted by sandroparisofficiel (@sandroparis) on

Sandro's show proved a surprise highlight of Paris menswear week. We've known for a long time that the French brand is a safe bet if you're looking for chic basics with a Gallic twist, but this year, creative director Ilan Chetrite set a new standard for the label with a collection which perfectly captured the mood of the moment while still feeling distinctly 'Sandro'.

Unlike previous seasons were a skinny silhouette has tended to prevail, for Spring Summer '16 Chetrite has loosened things up a bit. Pleated high waist trousers cut from silk, billowing blouse-esque shirts and drapey drop-shouldered overcoats looked comfortable and insouciant. Cuban collared shirts in tissue paper-thin cotton were perfect in the heat – something the audience was particularly sensitive too as it hit a cool 30 degrees in the show space – while wide lapelled jackets had a seventies feel without looking like a pastiche. Denim, as ever, was present, but in place of skinny jeans came cropped, wider legged styles with a raised seam down the front. Teamed with stiff leather Cuban heeled boots, the combination had the perfect mix of charming clunk and Parisian va va voom ...a tricky balance to strike.

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– Teo van den Broeke

6 | Lanvin

 

Baggy suiting and cropped bombers at @lanvinofficial #PFW

A photo posted by Esquire Magazine (@ukesquire) on

No one does rock star skinny like Parisian brand Lanvin. It turns out, however, that no one does rockstar slouch like the label either. Embracing the current move toward wider trousers and softer tailoring, the brand's traditional biker-esque trousers and skinny jackets were still present, but for Spring Summer '16 they were accompanied down the runway by super-slouchy cotton single breasted suits, tapered high waisted trousers worn with silky over shirts and vests, and wide legged jeans teamed with T-shirts and pop-lapelled single breasted suit jackets; which looked as much like they'd be worn by Crockett and Tubs as they would by Ian Curtis. All the Lanvin design codes (a moody palette, lots of leather, night crawler models) were present, but there was certainly a whiff of change in the air at the stunning Beaux Arts de Paris, where the collection was shown.

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– Teo van den Broeke

7 | Dior Homme

 

Skinny check suits, argyle tank tops and pop colour bombers, parkas and trench coats @Dior #Diorhomme #PFW @kris_van_assche

A photo posted by Esquire Magazine (@ukesquire) on

Back to the Tennis Club de Paris for Kris Van Assche's latest collection for Dior Homme. A carefully manicured garden of white roses provided the dramatic setting for a show of mostly casual separates – in stark contrast to the black tie runway of last season. Despite his penchant for wide legged trousers – presented this time with multiple zip fastenings – Van Assche went back to the Dior silhouette of old; super slim jeans in crisp white denim (or camo print) but teamed with chunky tread leather walking shoes instead of hi tops.

Narrow two piece tailoring was overlaid with fine blue embroidery and cropped bomber jackets were given the bonded floral patchwork treatment. One classic navy coat came in crocodile skin with a price tag that will far exceed 50k. Unnecessarily fussy for some tastes but they certainly gave the collection some oomph. More successful however were the argyle knits; tank topped over simple shirts and ties, triple layered with orange undershirts and bomber jackets, or styled simply under navy suits. Even partially hidden underneath a bright yellow ostrich coat or navy lamb skin parka, they will surely provide the commercial backbone to the Dior buying season.

– Catherine Hayward

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