And yet another fashion season has come to a close. For the first time since, you know what, the summer rendition of Men’s Fashion Week was back IRL after two years. With a downsized lineup in London and heat waves across Europe whilst the fashion elite swarmed between cities, the usual fashion week madness had reappeared in reinvigorated form.
There were surprises aplenty, including a rare performance by Kendrick Lamar paying tribute to Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens’ flaming balls, the arrival of jockstraps on the runway of Thom Browne and Jacquemus serving Dune-Esque space age in the South of France. And with unexpected moments and controversial guest appearances like Ludovic de Saint Serin at Rick Owens and Lourdes Leon walking for Marine Serre, this was sure to be a season to remember.
However, amid all the fashion week hysteria, designers also came to the runway to prove something. From celebrations of Pride month being overcast by the response of the supreme court’s gruesome overturning of Roe v Wade during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, this season firmly reminded us of the need for resistance, both in fashion and within our current global crises.
Below we share our three favourite and most impactful collections from the SS23 season during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
Within the gloom of the present, the Parisian design duo Florentin Glémarc and Kévin Nompeix offered their fantasy of escapism in their new genderless collection titled ‘WONDERLAND THE EGONLAB PLAYGROUND’.
“We play with conventions and dive into the illusion of an open-aire free party, far from reality, hearts vibrate and bodies live, glitter sticks to the sound of the bass, spirits escape into an acidulous world. A lucid and collective dream begins,” explains the show’s briefing.
Chic tailored silhouettes were met by sheer sequined tops with itsy bitsy leather shorts, oversized knitted sweaters, cigarette holding ear pieces and platform knee-high boots. Additionally, distressed flared jeans layered with denim skirts tap into a re-occurring theme on this season’s runway – also seen at JW Anderson and Y/Projects. The audience was met with a glimmer of campness within EGONlab’s SS23 collection that was complemented with wonderland graphics of bunnies and friendly piggies going down ski slopes.
Opening the show with a sharply tailored knee-length coat that split along the back, the collection was inspired by Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The designers invited their guests to follow the blue rabbit along with a collection filled with hyper-dramatic silhouettes and club kid looks – all whilst serving dicks-on-sticks mini pancakes to everyone in attendance.
“After all of the anxiety, isolation and losses of the past years, as we continue to face challenges in the struggle to improve our world, it’s clear to us that our State of Soul is definitely in need of the regenerative power to come from joining together in joyful celebration.”
This is how Marine Serre explained their SS23 show entitled ‘State of Soul’. Known for challenging the traditional show setting – from short movies to installing an exhibition for their AW22 runway – this collection focused on a collective celebration for which the brand opened its doors and switched up the usual fashion audience.
In the spirit of inclusivity – one of the brand’s core elements – and its sixth anniversary, 1,000 of the brand’s followers were able to attend the show by getting a ticket online on a first-come-first-serve basis. The runway presenting the new collection was only the opening act for a long evening of partying for the Serre community, inviting its guests to simply enjoy a summer evening within the busy schedule of fashion week.
The runway saw professional and amateur models including family, friends, athletes and celebrities including Jorja Smith, Lourdes Leon and Sevdaliza. Despite showing within a menswear schedule, the unisex collection ranged from futuristic athletic swimwear made from recycled fibre and embellished denim patchwork featuring Serre’s signature crescent moon. Pink and green two pieces from terry and recycled towels were followed by an array of silk and ending with Madonna’s offspring in a full-length moon-covered body suit styled with upcycled gold jewellery.
After an absence from the runway for three years, cult designer and BRICKS #8 cover star Mowalola was a last-minute addition to the fashion week schedule, making its Paris debut. The collection named ‘Burglarwear’ was inspired by a study of what it takes to steal and the confident pride of what it truly means to take something they believe is rightfully theirs.
Next to debuting her first-ever collaboration with New Balance, the collection saw cut-out tops reminiscent of Mean Girl’s Regina George, the ultimate heist-essential balaclava, to arm restricted constructions referencing submissive fetishes and kidnapping as well as crucifix cut-outs, but-swaddling mini skirts and all sorts of distortions of the body.
From thieves, bankers and priesthood, the designer explains that; “after all, what it takes to take from someone else has little to do with a certain personality type or a chosen – rather, it’s a matter of accessing a state of mind that dwells within us all”.
Taking a break from working as the creative director on the Yeezy x Gap collection, the Lagos-born designer didn’t only interrogate notions of what it means to steal; she explored the meaning of what it means to be stolen. By presenting this collection within a week that was coloured by the overturning of Roe v Wade, Ogunlesi showed a new definition of confident pride within our bodies, stealing back something rightfully ours.
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