Published June 24, 2023 1:12 p.m. ET
Designer Veronique Nichanian accepts applause after the conclusion of the Hermes Menswear Spring/Summer 2024 fashion collection presented in Paris, Saturday, June 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
PARIS — A sparkling mist of water from towering fountains cooled overheated VIP guests at Spanish luxury fashion house Loewe’s show on Saturday at Paris Fashion Week.
Its Northern Irish designer Jonathan Anderson masterfully translated the essence of sculptor Lynda Benglis’ works into a spring collection that explored themes of sparkle and elongated form. It was a fitting showcase of his continual innovation for Loewe’s and underscored Anderson’s status among the Parisian design elite.
Here are some highlights of the day’s spring-summer 2024 menswear collections, including an interview with a fashion teacher whose school was the site of a shocking explosion earlier this week:
ANDERSON REIMAGINES MENSWEAR WITH ARTISTIC SPARKLE
Against the backdrop of the monumental, water-spouting sculptures, Loewe’s latest Paris Fashion Week show was nothing short of a spectacle — and with Anderson at the helm, traditional menswear was reimagined and reshaped.
High-waisted trousers bore a touch of vintage nostalgia, their surreal heights commanding attention and distorting perceptions of the human form. Mirroring the shimmering sparkle of the surrounding fountains, sequins and crystals added a festive disco-era energy to the collection.
Anderson’s touch was evident in the deceptively ordinary blazers, coats, and knits — his cuts transformed the seemingly straightforward items into gestural art works. A suede tunic with a conjoined handbag created from the same leather tickled the fancy of the audience, including actor Brian Cox, and drew a flurry of camera clicks.
The collection featured a subdued palette of soft pastels, blues, blacks and khakis, dramatically offset by accessories such as crystal-embellished sunglasses and a crystal hummingbird on a shredded brocade top. An array of footwear and oversized bags added a further dimension to Anderson’s study of proportions.
The show proved that Anderson’s imaginative leadership at Loewe continues to show his prowess as an innovator, with a whimsical fusion of art and daring.
ART AND FASHION: LYNDA BENGLIS’S SCULPTURES
The runway at Loewe’s was also a stage for the artworks of Lynda Benglis. Three modernist fountains lined the catwalk, introducing an artistic pulse that echoed through the entire show. The sculptures, made from materials ranging from bronze to glitter, showcased Benglis’ skill in redefining conventional sculpture boundaries.
From the dramatic form of “Crescendo,” a sculpture resembling a crashing wave, to the stacked flower-like forms of “Bounty, Amber Waves, Fruited Plane,” and the algae-rock essence of “Knight Mer,” they provoked a visceral response and a flurry of snaps.
The art-infused runway showed again Anderson’s penchant for blurring the boundaries of fashion.
ART TEACHER PLEADS FOR HELP AFTER BLAST AT PARIS FASHION SCHOOL
The global fashion community was shocked by the suspected gas explosion earlier this week in Paris’ 5th district that partially destroyed a building and crumpled the facade of a private academy of design and arts, the Paris American Academy.
Four people remain hospitalized in critical condition after Wednesday’s explosion, and at least 54 others suffered lighter injuries or psychological shock. One person, a teacher, remains unaccounted for.
At the scene, Anna Barr, a 42-year-old merchandising teacher at the academy, fought back tears on Saturday.
“It’s particularly upsetting because it’s such a small school, a family. I knew the director for 25 years. I even studied there,” she told The Associated Press. “Students flew from all over the world, including from the U.S. and Korea, to attend these couture courses.”
Barr said the academy was now in the “immediate need of finding an atelier space” and called on the French fashion and couture federation for assistance, hoping the fashion community can rally together to overcome this devastating setback.
Experts equipped with search dogs had to pause their sifting through the rubble on Rue Saint-Jacques until the site can be deemed secure, authorities said.
HERMES: IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT
This spring-summer, under the expert hand of veteran designer Veronique Nichanian, the Hermes menswear show unfolded with an air of cool nonchalance and subtle, sophisticated luxury.
The collection offered an inviting array of pastel hues. With a soft palette of shades of steam, light grey, sage, and others graced loose silhouettes, it reflected an airy and comfortable mood. Oversized bags and sandals featuring hole motifs contributed an off-kilter feel.
Gentle geometry abounded, manifesting in stripes that danced across T-shirts and coats, drawing a bold link to Hermes’ emblematic openwork motifs.
Amidst the gender-bending themes dominating many Paris high-fashion shows, Nichanian reinforced the classic realm of menswear, maintaining instead the timeless elegance Hermes has been synonymous with since her tenure began in 1988.
Summer was anticipated in tunics and beach blazers, while the allure of the collection was unmistakably sensual, with heavy silks for summer nights and loose knits for cooler hours.
Nichanian — Paris fashion’s longest-serving, non-founding designer since Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld’s death — continues to present the Hermes man with an effortless sartorial elegance, all the while enhancing the brand’s reputation for understated, sellable fashion.
The summer, under Nichanian’s guidance, promises to be serene, joyfully sensual, and unequivocally Hermes.
OFFICINE GENERALE: PIERRE MAHEO’S MENSWEAR HAS DASH OF EASYGOING MAGIC
Officine Generale’s spring-summer 2024 menswear show was a study in controlled simplicity, as designer Pierre Maheo presented a collection that was refreshing yet retained his signature sophistication.
Starting with a monochromatic palette, the show evolved into a celebration of subtle historic elements. A knee buckle here and a neck scarf there revealed Maheo’s fondness for bygone elements reinterpreted in a modern context.
Loose white tapered pants and relaxed, pajama-like shirting, paired with tailored foulards, were both casual and elegant. Elasticized waistbands, knee-high socks and garters, painted a picture of comfortable chic.
Maheo balanced the line between undone and done-up, always sticking with simplicity. Ultraviolet and teal hues, and breezy tank tops and shorts were a surprise touch. The designer confessed to using these as a response to a “cold and rainy” Parisian winter, offering a touch of warmth and sunshine.
The show encapsulated an easygoing mood — Maheo proved that minimalism can be impactful and that less is more when done with flair and an eye for detail.