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It’s Playtime in Paris Fashion Week

For some designers, Paris Men’s Fashion Week AW2022 became the playground for their flights of fancy

It’s a truism to describe fashion as the playground for one’s imaginations and fantasies, but we just have to say that again for Paris Fashion Week AW2022. 

Granted, certain shows delivered that opulent yet sleek vibe with an edgy twist (Hermés and Dior come to mind), but the standouts of the season were the more playful and eccentric (borderline bizarre) shows that speak not only of menswear’s contemporary sensibilities, but also where it is probably headed—and we’re liking some of these new directions.

KENZO

Tigers, flowers, and patterns drawn by the late Kenzo Takada himself come alive in knitwear, tailored pieces, workwear, and kimono-inspired cuts. Nigo’s debut collection as the new artistic director of Kenzo brought our attention to all kinds of prints imaginable, and pieces that can actually travel from the runway to the street. We’re looking forward to seeing the future creations of one of the streetwear OGs in the French luxury fashion house. 

DRIES VAN NOTEN

In Dries Van Noten’s fashion film, desire, freedom, and spontaneity manifest as genderless cuts, playful (oft-clashing, but interesting) colors and prints, an assemblage of different fabrics and textures, and kissing—lots of it, and across all genders, too. It’s a celebratory mood, a fashion party, and a visual expression of desiring real experiences that we’ve lost over the pandemic. 

LOUIS VUITTON

When the final look for Louis Vuitton—an all-white ensemble decked with wings— graced the whimsical set of their AW2022 menswear collection, it further drove the bittersweet point that while Virgil Abloh may be in heaven now, his legacy in fashion will never be forgotten. 

In what seems to be Abloh’s dreamland where his creative vision runs free, models walked in skirts, floral prints, reimagined tailoring, streetwear elements like oversized caps and sneakers, trench coats, and several refreshing reiterations of the house’s logo. The energy from the dancers, the majesty of the orchestra, and all the love from Abloh’s closest collaborators and longtime fans filled the show. Virgil Abloh is definitely smiling in heaven.

Y/PROJECT

You’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve. Y/Project reintroduces you to wearing a body on…your body? 

We have John Paul Gaultier to thank for these trompe l’oeil body prints. These vintage designs are revived in colorful and graphic fashion, printed onto suits, pants, fitted tops, and anywhere else that Glenn Martens wanted to place them. As if the creative director’s exaggerated silhouettes weren’t eye-catching enough…

Note: Glenn Martens also served as the creative director for JPG’s recent haute couture show, which we briefly talked about in this month’s MANTLE Edit. 

RICK OWENS

We’ve seen light bulbs illuminate the perimeters of runways, but Rick Owens takes it further by putting Phillips bulbs on his models’ headpieces. The towering helmets were so striking that the metal mesh pieces, zipped hoodies, hairs jutting out of the clothes, and exaggerated shoulders seemed normal in comparison. 

If anything, the flashing lights gave momentary glimpses to finer details, then obscured them to highlight Owens’ out-of-this-world silhouettes. 

LOEWE

The metaverse is upon us, and Jonathan Anderson presents his vision of what we would be wearing in a world inundated by technology and all its idiosyncrasies. The result? Selfie tees, LED light-laced coats, bodysuits with printed bodies, and heart-shaped balaclavas. 

We’ll never know if these pieces are meant to glorify or ridicule online life as we know it, but we cannot deny that the metaverse is slowly creeping onto us IRL.