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“Daddy’s home!” That’s how we felt watching the first of the Gosha Rubchinskiy models walk in Kaliningrad. Precisely what you wouldn’t have expected… or would you? A young man opened the show – hailing, like his colleagues, from deepest Russia, and, like them, not a professional – wearing a light blue button-down shirt, a knit tie with tie clip and skinny trousers with belt; in him we saw for a moment the image of a father after a busy working day, on his return home, his sleeves rolled up on his forearms. Rubchinskiy’s proposal for FW 2018 is a wardrobe which has never been more complete: from tailored suits, in a nod to the military, to sportswear that exudes a passion for football, sublimely co-produced – and this season more than one item is the fruit of collaboration – with Adidas, you might note.
 

Another trip, another city, but the same tie clips. Certainly not the same, but the image of elegance that a dark blue suit and tie might have. This is Dior Homme and Kris Van Assche has some very clear ideas: he wants to give young men a new tailoring concept with an unexpected twist, allowing them to feel at ease even in a double-breasted pinstripe jacket. Sneakers, slogans and rock detailing. A contemporary nostalgia that encompasses trousers with cuts that go from super fitted to super loose – cargo style - and fur.
 
A hint of late '80s Giorgio Armani, but also the tradition of a fashion house that has made tailoring its flag. For Balenciaga, Demna Gvsalia brings to the catwalk long coats with strong shoulders, complete with the inevitable tie. But for him, suit rhymes with sexy, that young appeal that infuses his wardrobe, low-slung trousers just pushing the limits, adding puffer jackets, sneakers and sports style boots, for a look that is basically, and deliberately, young, even in its transversal nature. 

Gosha Rubchinskiy
Vogue Runway
 

Balenciaga
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni 

Dior Homme
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni 

The allure of Serge Gainsbourg meets the Beat Generation, the off-duty models of Maison Margiela read books on philosophy and converse with one another, with a casual, almost bored air. Adorned head to toe in Prince of Wales check, they opt for gilets, leather trousers and chenille jumpers. With one added twist: the play of volumes and proportions of outerwear, knitwear and boot-cut pants, a real key piece.

Hats off – that was our response to the presentation by Acne Studios. The lecture, "from Self-Portrait to Selfies", was held in a university lecture room by a real professor of art. The irony was subtle, the presentation innovative. And the collection? Prince of Wales, cashmere pullovers, braces and camel coats, this preppy “old school” look by Jonny Johansson is anything but discounted. The creative director says: “I think of those 80s businessmen and how they idealised their own clothes, almost fetishlike. In this collection I wanted to instil the same respect for fabrics and shapes”. 80s classics combined with 40s couture, in a very “Ambition to Create Novel Expression”-type vision, as the Acne acronym suggests, including sherbet tones, neoprene and chunky jumpers, topped off with graphic effects, a play of oversized volumes and contrasts, where even sneakers have platforms designed to accommodate this dynamic.

Maison Margiela
Vogue Runway 

Courtesy of ACNE Studios
 

Thom Browne's construction and deconstruction runs deep, with his cubist tailoring. He plays with proportions with a naturalness and a skill that is increasingly rare on the current fashion scene. On the catwalk: real tableaux vivants wearing all the weight and the boredom of a grey work suit. The businessmen are back, with all the burden of his daily life. Browne's reflection on the boring linearity of human existence may of course be unintentional, but as always, his profession leaves ample opportunity for considerations that transcend the very meaning of his ever uber-tailored suits.    

“Nothing” is the claim for the latest Lanvin collection. And yet we could say so much. A clear step forward towards the rebranding of a fashion name that knows how to make its mark. Like every winter season, jackets are key, and FW2018 will be the year of the coat, strong tailoring with a 60s/70s vibe, outstanding signature pieces.
 
Workwear takes centre stage in Yoji Yamamoto’s FW2018 collection. His man – and by man we mean the catwalk models too, standard bearers of the transversal nature of age beloved by Yamamoto – is a working-class hero, strong and committed, able to legitimise powerful slogans. Dominating are black and a new camouflage, for overalls, aprons and wide leg pants. Leather work gloves, a hood to give weight and consistency to the working look, combined with skater-inspired boots. 

Thom Browne
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni 

Yoji Yamamoto
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni

The coat, suit and sartorial soul are all Valentino. And his man wears these styles with extreme refinement. “Elementary my dear Watson!”, one might think, “it’s Valentino”. But Pier Paolo Piccioli’s solo debut as Creative Director of the Fashion House is anything but obvious. And his work is based on a profound truth: even within the most staid gentleman hides a rebellious soul, a disruptive force that can emerge, first subtle, whispered and then in all its strength, in every single detail. And the partnership with Jamie Reid, a graphic designer who worked with the Sex Pistols, is the proof. Slogans abound, printed on caps, sweaters and trench coats: “Beauty is a birthright, reclaim your heritage.” and “It seemed to be the end, until the next beginning.”

In the Prada collection, all the thoughts and culture of the Berkeley students of the 70's. In the velvet suits with wide leg pants, in the waist-synched trench coats, the v-neck pullovers and jackets, halfway between the cardigan, the Norfolk jacket and a vaguely military look. Thoughts from the chess club, the book club, but also ideas that could revolutionise an entire system. Because in the creativity of Miuccia Prada reside the little and the great, art and architecture, history and smaller shared stories, like the passions of our lives.  

It wasn’t easy for Haider Ackermann to collect Berluti’s DNA and the stylistic know-how of Alessandro Sartori, but his baptism as the brand’s Creative Director has left a strong mark. The first look on the catwalk is a tailored camel-coloured coat teamed with a pair of slim fit trousers, but the T-shirt under the jacket, the black leather and the tartan temper the formal suit look, the double-breasted jacket with eight buttons, creating a new bad boy flavour with a posh edge.

And we couldn’t finish our portrait of the new tailored man without Sir Paul Smith, who shows us how it’s done with his “classic with a twist” style. At the École des Beaux-Artes, the models wear suits with fabrics that Smith used for his first collection in 1976, presented in Paris itself. Weights and performance are certainly dramatically different today. The added twist, it goes without saying, lies in the interior lining detail, the kaleidoscopic jacket trims, but also the high-necked sweater in shocking pink and the feather print shirt beneath the green tartan suit…

Paul Smith
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni 

Berluti
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni 

And then, the Vetements catwalk in Paris. It seems proverbial.

Every time we try to outline a common thread that can tie together more than one trend, the thread stretches, unraveling a maze of cultures and subcultures, between old trends carried forward and new currents, the embodiment of déjà-vu. So the key to the problem becomes a distant memory. We mentioned at Vetements: in the foyer of the Pompidou Centre we find "our" common people and all the stereotypes of our society: the lawyer, the bride, the secretary, the tourist, the military, the tramp... And then we think the true measure of our time, in fashion, is simply creativity. In a contemporary world where partition, subdivision, in phenomena and vogue is no longer possible, the only dividing lines are the talent and energy. Capacity for generation and creative regeneration. Challenging stagnated styles, reverse canons and proportions: turning, tilting, unpicking, building... subverting normal with normality itself. That, my dears, is fashion!
 

 

Lanvin
Ph. Giovanni Giannoni