Paris Fashion Week AW.15

By Jo Phillips

Lemaire

With a streamlined men’s collection based on luxurious quality fabrics, Christophe Lemaire and his partner Sarah-Linh Tran unveiled a new identity for his label, which has been renamed Lemaire to reflect a more collective approach to design. This was encapsulated in his autumn/winter 2015 collection, featuring perfectly polished blazers and ponchos, utility jackets,white polo neck tops and straight tailored trousers, with a clean minimalist aesthetic which completed the new reformed Lemaire man.

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Valentino

Decoration has become one of the most distinctive features of Valentino. For Fall, the butterflies became midnight moths, dark blue embroidered on a dark blue jacket. Other feats of embroidery were the map of the planets that swathed one blouse, and the owl whose wings spectacularly wrapped from back to front on another. There was something lovely and wild about these conceits that sat slightly to one side of the neat, precise, tailored looks, all of them complemented by a white shirt and narrow black tie in a symphony of uptightness. The leathers and shearlings had the same precision, the sense of nature tamed.

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Raf Simons

For Simons, this collection was a continuation of last, and he tapped into nostalgic memories once again. Caught up in this memory wrap, models were lit up in different colors, and wore signature Simons designs (we particularly love the white coat with scribbles). “I’m thinking of my own memories but also memories of influences like Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang – they’re reasons why I wanted to become a fashion designer,” he recalled. “It’s memories of those early days when things were elevated or in difficult venues or held in bad weather. Maybe I feel there’s a systematic behaviour in shows that the younger generation may be conditioned too. I think that it’s up to somebody like me, who has been doing this for twenty years, to show that it’s about what you put up there and not about a formula”.

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Issey Miyake

What stood out the most from this Issey Miyake collection were the intense graphic details. Everything from the socks to the blazers were electrifying. It’s always refreshing to see bursts of color in the wintertime.

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 Rick Owens

Rick Owen’s AW15 show was probably the most talked about this season. Instead of merely sending leather jackets, muted tones, and baggy garments down the runway, Owens bravely showcased looks with cutout crotches. However, the overall impression is that it was done subtly, as you hardly noticed it when the models were walking by.

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Creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear Kim Jones paid tribute to Tokyo-based designer Christopher Nemeth with this AW15 collection and collaborated with Judy Blame on some lust-worthy pieces. Nemeth’s work influenced a decade of design and, to him, making clothes was akin to creating art. The designer, who studied painting at the Camberwell College of Arts, cleverly taught himself sewing and pattern-cutting to make his own clothes. His deconstructed clothes, sometimes made out of canvas bags, were sold in London markets and appeared in iD, Face, and Tatler. Even though he continued to pursue fashion, Nemeth never put the paintbrush down. Jones reinterpreted prints from his mentor’s archives and translated them into the pieces. This collection was all about taking classic motifs, playing around with them, but maintaing their sophisticated aura; something the French fashion house has always been great at doing.

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 Alexander Wang

Most of these pieces did not scream Alexander Wang. Instead of creating industrial-inspired, modern, edgy garments (which he does so well), Wang went on a different route, and offered more earthy, softer, colorful looks. This was a refreshing change, and if you looked closely, you could see classic Wang trademark details. We love how he reintroduced the dripping Alexander Wang logo in dripping colors.

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Haider Ackremann

For this presentation, designer Haider Ackremann was not concerned with whether or not you saw the clothes properly, it was all about taking in their essence. Ackermann said the idea was to be able to “smell the clothes.” Overall, this collection felt very rich, to the dark hued tones to the lush fabrics, like velvet, that were heavily used. Some models looked like modern-day pirates.

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Julien David

The Julien David man this season is one who packed for both a holiday and a business trip. The juxtaposition between leisure and workwear was done extremely well. Think shorts worn with ties, undone crisp shirts worn with caps, and a fun contrast between hard briefcases and reflective sunglasses. We love the ironic “Strictly Business”sweater.

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3.1 Philip Lim

Philip Lim’s AW15 collection revolved around the theme of mountaineering, models walked under huge rocks, and the designer presented different climbing-appropriate garments. However, there was definitely an urban edge, as there always is with Lim. The clothes were functional, versatile, and oversized. We love the buckle-belt detailing and space-print garments.

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Dries Van Noten

The Dries Van Noten man hasn’t stopped traveling, and with these extravagant details, it looks like he’s been to some exciting places. There’s always a nomadic air to Dries Van Noten, one that we can’t get enough of, and it’s never done in a cliche way. The contrast between red, indigo, and black was bold. Of course, one can never go wrong with camel. And those bejeweled coats are decorative pieces in their own right.

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Viktor and Rolf

For their latest Monsieur collection, designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren had fun manipulating fabrics to create a truly unique collection. The digitalized tweed, which is a visual experience in itself when you look at it, resembled television static. For sweaters, the tweed was enlarged and pixelated, also creating a captivating effect. These quirky garments were paired with sporty pieces; a combination that surprisingly worked.

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Walter Van Beirendonck 

No one left an impact on us quite like Walter Van Beiredonck, and in more ways than one. Out of all of the collections, this one seemed the most appropriate, given the events and protests that have taken place in Paris recently. Rather than presenting a collection that is cut off from current affairs, Van Beiredonck’s garment were closely tied to the happenings, and words like “Stop Terrorizing Our World” were tied to the transparent garments. “We have the need and the right to have beautiful things around us – increasingly people are not given the opportunity to see these things”, he said. The collection, which celebrated all things creative and outlandish, paid homage to everyone from satirist Charlie Hebdo to artist Paul McCarthey (remember the controversial Christmas tree?). The designer managed to address serious issues in a playful manner, presenting clothes in a mishmash of fabrics, materials, and colors. The accessories were particularly whimsical.

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Yohi Yamamato

Designer Yohi Yamamato does it again; reconstructing clothes only to present garments that are even more interesting, powerful, and beautiful. This was complimented with faces that were stained, scared, and bruised. The collection featured a lot of black, not that we’re complaining, as Yamamato has mastered the color perfectly. There were also lovely shades of olive, navy, and berry that mixed well with the rest of the pieces.

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Kolor

While all the menswear designers are taking it up a notch and going wild with conceptual ideas, designer Junichi Abe is staying true to himself, and offering an array of subtle, considered clothes that revolve around quality, beautiful hues, and folk references mixed with a little urban edge.

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Carven 

Although designer Guillaume Henry has moved on to Nina Ricci, where he will be solely focused on womenswear, his spirited was felt in this Carven AW15 collection. The coats, boxy, sculptural, and reminiscent of the 80’s, were the highlight of this classic and romantic collection.

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Balmain

Balmain’s 28-year old creative director, Olivier Rousteing is known for his lavish, over-the-top, sexualized designs for women, and he doesn’t compromise that for men. This collection featured a ton of maximal looks, shiny fabrics, and gold-accented accessories. The models, who each wore a signature black Balmain beanie, all resembled Rousting himself. The designer has proved, again and again, that being the face of your own label does in fact pay off.

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Damir Doma

For this Aw15 collection, designer Damir Doma turned to fiber artist Sheila Hicks for inspiration, and calls her work both rich and humble. Her work inspired him to create the beautiful hole-infested, patchwork garments. It was interesting to see how Doma translated certain menswear looks into womenswear simoutaneously. Even more interesting is the fact that Doma identifies with being a sculptor rather than a designer. We love the flashes of yellow against the grays.

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Junya Watanabe 

Although this Junya Watanabe presented an array of suits in unexpected fabrics, there was something slightly off about them, but in a good way. The models looked like real men rather than sculpted creatures, and the top hats and tattoos made the models look like they were walking out straight out of circus. We love the layering of the coats over the jackets.

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Maison Margiela 

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Anna Demeulemeester

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Kris Van Assche

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Balenciaga 

This Balenciaga collection felt very Alexander Wang, although there isn’t anything wrong with that. The designer unapologetically injected his own cool, muted, architectural aesthetic into the clothes, but never loosened his grasp on the codes of the Balenciaga fashion house, proving once again that he is the ultimate multitasked. We love the cocoon coats, lush backpacks, and the tweed-like print.

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