• Rick Owens FW2015 between U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, at The Geneva Summit of 1985(Switzerland)

  • Pigalle FW2015 down the marble stairs at the Paris Palais Garnier Opera House (France)

  • Loewe FW2015 desperate searching for cultural heritage, somewhere; lost

Date 13.02.2015

Paris FW2015 Summit Conference: men’s fashion as industrial and intellectual property

When NYC’s Women’s Fashion Week started yesterday, let’s take a step back and remember the Paris Men’s Season that has already been forgotten by social media. Despite having already vanished from the blogosphere, its impact will be felt as fall-winter 2015 designs go into production right now after being selected by buyers from around the world.

After more than a decade of seriously consuming fashion, men are now comfortable with exteriorizing their relationship with clothing. Shows such as Rick Owens’ FW2015 – complete with visible male genitals – which in the past may have caused a riot on the runway, hardly even cause men to look twice! They have marked their fashion territory… yet despite this, we still see this territory being invaded by female models (corporate houses on all sides). Sales teams are forcing designers to blur the boundaries between gendered fashion styles to guarantee better buyer’s budgets in the long run. Wardrobes are shared between both men and women; female shoppers start their shopping by checking men’s collections in unisex stores. Yet this is something that may never be fully embraced by male consumers – there remains a love-hate relationship!

In stores genders do continue to compete. Designers bringing the same dessins or printed fabric for both men and women can result in men rejecting a product. Perhaps we also need to have explicit differentiation; disputes and jealousy are far too embarrassing and vulgar for fashion! Let us aim for a bigger design gap between menswear and womenswear (dimorphism), and a bigger budget for each consumer. Let’s avoid those couples sharing one piece, or purchasing together for a common use!

Notable mentions from the summit include:

Rick Owens outerwear brought excellent choices on bridge coats (longer pea coats), with oversized backs offering a regal look.

 Junya Watanabe’s excellent sartorial take on grey mélanges, mixed the street-dandies’ black and blues.

 Loewe elaborated on the life of a chic-blazed-lost-tourist followed by locals wanting something from him (his cigarettes or his furry cape?). Extremely attractive when spotted in the metropolis!

 Comme des Graçons – shorts balanced like a shirt, ohhhh Lord! A fresh luxury of mostly evaporating raw sensations – the chopped blazers showed extravagant linings while performing graphic tricks.

 Pigalle – one of my favorites – delivered some cultural depth with their show at the Opera House. Bringing multicultural “ponchos” combined with street wear, Mr

Ashpool is now officially flirting with the high-end. Whether they want it or not, fashion needs projects like these to detox from repetitiveness. These kids know what happens at 3AM in any part of the city! Do we know?

Balmain Homme – meters of washed velour combined with blazers and palazzo pants. Trust this exuberance to the young boys and Mr Olivier Rousteing!

 Thamanyah’s Ahmed Abdelrahman lavished us with wools with his knitted caftans (see it here). Using fabrics from Italian top supplier Loro Piana (Tasmanian wools, vicuñas, cashmeres, etc), is only for the brave. Both collections spoiled young and rich alike, yet always retained their masculinity.

Whether you approve of the new collections or not, the fabric suppliers certainly do! Coats in general reached 190cm in width, while pants expanded to 23cms. The consumer will finally have to accept that the era of the skinny leg is over – you still have some months to accept the change!

Finally, the dramas that pre-fall collections are suffering from due to the existence of stunning wearable couture are strictly women’s problems. Mothers want to order directly from ateliers to prevent them from wearing the same affordable gowns their daughters are seen in. In the end, if online pre-falls follow the men’s runways and the later couture shows, then men will avoid this intergenerational dialogue. They just don’t care – as long as females don’t interfere!