As the fashion weeks come and go digitally, designers are expanding their creativity beyond the runway. Paris Fashion Week, which ended last January, explored the concepts of masculinity through a variety of topics, from the Grand Prix to African-American culture. The collections that debuted virtually give insight into the innovation that we can see at the upcoming fashion events in New York, London and Milan.
With the fashion industry adapting to the post-pandemic world, designers have been discovering new ways to distribute their content and express their messages.
Here are some men’s collections that are paving the way for the future of fashion:
Artistic director Virgil Abloh explores black intelligence and poetry with Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2021 menswear collection. Abloh mixes Ghanaian culture with the traditional American styles of pinstripe suits and fedora hats, all while experimenting with shapes and fits. Vibrant green hues flow throughout the collection while models show off clothing that’s not traditionally tailored to their bodies. In the film, the actors are seen walking around an abstract space that mimics the vibes of a big American city like New York. During the film, the narrating voice stated, “As Black people, as trans people, as marginalized people, the world is here for our taking, for it takes so much for us.”
The gaudy, flashy themes of retro and vintage casinos are visibly seen in Casablanca founder Charaf Tajer’s designs. Appropriately titled “Grand Prix,” the Italian ready-to-wear collection manages to turn diamond and spade patterns into a dreamy collection complete with pastel pinks and reds. Casablanca plays with the idea of masculinity as bold pearls, flared pants, and feminine cardigans. The gender line fades with this collection, as the difference between menswear and womenswear blurs. Leaving just the colors and dreams that could come from a poker table in a Monaco hotel.
Balenciaga’s collection feels like the world has been sucked into a Jumanji-style video game. This was probably the goal for them, as their new video game, “Afterworld: the Age of Tomorrow” was released the same day. Demna Gvasalda said to Vogue that this game has been in the works since April 2020, back when virtual events were still relatively new to the world. One of the most striking pieces of the men’s collection is the metallic boots that represent something that a Medieval knight would wear. The models look like they’re heading off to virtual war in the most stylish way possible.
This collection takes the most traditional route of a runway show, but it’s nevertheless strikingly stunning. The iconic Dior saddle bag compliments some of the outfits in various styles, while warm hues of yellow, red, and plum dominate the collection. The simplicity of some of the outfits works well with the bold patterns and colors, resembling something of a painting. For this collection, fashion designer Kim Jones told Vogue that he took inspiration from Scottish painter Peter Doig, known for his equal focus on landscapes and figures. Doig’s contemporary ideas transfer well into Dior’s collection, as the patterns work well with the masculine fits of each of the models.
Filmed at the Château de Chambord in France, Celine’s collection simultaneously takes inspiration from both French royalty and teen angst. Titled “Teen Knight Poem,” each model has a sense of youth to them, and with that youth comes the edgy e-boy trend that’s been popularized by Tik Tok. Artistic director Heidi Slimane takes a different approach to the e-boy through, elevating it with royal aspects such as ruffled collars and shiny crystal-studded jewelry. The film and the collection manage to mix what usually isn’t paired together and is a reminder of Celine’s dedication to Parisian luxury.
While Paris Fashion Week ended Jan. 2021, other cities are gearing up for their own shows. New York Fashion Week started on Feb. 13 ending on Feb.18, while London Fashion Week starts on Feb. 19 ending on Feb. 23. As the world continues to adapt to the pandemic, designers and brands will continue to innovate and elevate their collections into an increasingly digital world.