This is the second time we witness the conceptual performance art which is the mysterious designs of Henrik Vibskov – the last time a Nutcracker themed talking heads performance – and there seems to be a continuum in social critique present on the runway if you look carefully enough, the nutcrackers tackling all the mindless chatter that goes on over tech communications today, whereas Vib’s Salami Shop of Paris FW SS17 is now going for the jugular by equating each individual, and perhaps all forms of style, as the moral equivalent of, well, vulgar meat, baloney no less – moral baloney – , and of course everyone’s favorite sausage called Salami. Just how swag can you get?

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Id mihi farcimentum esset’ Henrik Vibskov seems to be saying, as big male butchers in butchers garb hack away at the sausages filling up the mindless meat into the grinder and onto the machine only to hang the finished product up, on, and over the runway for everyone to see, and he calls the project ‘the Salami Kitchen of the Non Existent’, probably pointing toward the moral void that lies behind the veneer of our stylish, luxurious, and fast-living societies where everyone is constantly in full-selfie mode so as to snatch up the latest high-interest content – in the form of well-filled sausages – so that we can put it on Facebook or Instagram to be eaten instantaneously by an ever hungry public. Indeed, we, and our style perhaps, are only meat and CONTENT after all. We are not even CODE as techies would have it. Nah, according to our visionary stylists perhaps, we are just plain content, to be processed, and only to be consumed. A social critique of modern life worthy of a thesis.

That’s not to say of course that mr Vibskov’s sartorial creations are not absolutely outstanding – because they are, and that they belong as a show in an old grand hotel on the place Vendôme in Paris, which is the global nexus of luxury, so that everyone in this wide world of ours can have a good taste of vulgar baloney served up as a delicacy of quite mysterious proportions.

And so the Kitchen of the Non Existent (Morality & Emotions) will never stop and grind on and on and on, butchers chopping away, perhaps not even despite ourselves, but because we love to throw ourselves into it headlong. Yup, Vib’s Soul Kitchen is an unmitigated success and one can only marvel at the power of style to mark and identify, if not explain or transcend, the signs of our times.

As for the creations themselves (there is a martial arts theme in there) here is an excerpt:

‘materials as a two faced salami dotted jacquard, where both sides have been applied and exposed, crispy poplin shirting and strong structured twill in a lining-viscose quality among others. Details on garments are topstitched cuffs and hems, which are afterwards dyed to create a puckering effect. Other centerpieces in the collection are the jacquard knitted sweaters with applied fringes and embroidery made in Denmark.’

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Posted by Sandro and photos from the Henrik Vibskov press office.

Mme Woo and Katie Chung at Paris fashion week is always pleasure as you know it is going to be good, elegant, and probably chic, and that you are going to see a picture perfect show well organized to the tees. And so it proved. Classic Paris fashion venue the old post office above one of the railway cliffs off of the Gare St Lazare called the Cafeteria (old postal workers cafeteria) this show was as good as any during Paris FW SS17.

But there was a twist…

As the best models are in high demand during these shows the better shows all use the same models. Some even get flown in from abroad. But many are local. And some arrive late because the Paris FW schedule is jam packed and crammed with the latest designers trying to get a foot on the floor in the world’s capital of fashion. So what do you do when your show starts late (which happens most of the time as seating people is always difficult) and you are a model and your next show just start half an hour later? Do you get a taxi? No, because Parisian traffic is horrendously unreliable as is public transport. Ah, you get it, because indeed you call a bike messenger – a transporter – a Jason Statham type of guy not in a car, but on a motorbike fit for an action movie; so that you can shashay through traffic from location A to B in less than 10 minutes anywhere in Paris.

Thus the best moment of the show was four teenage male models arriving late for the show being transported by action type motorbike runners parking their hardware in front of the entrance of the industrial loft on the middle of the street, all four men, and all four boys – hair waiving in the wind – taking off their helmets at the same time, bike engines still running. It’s that moment when you wish your photographer was still outside and not already inside waiting for the show.

As for the show itself it was as beautiful as expected even though the gender fluidity – quite visible in pant-skirts and handbags and loose cuffs, cuts, and folds – is usually not a trademark in the Wooyoungmi shows. But here it was.

The press release states that Mme Woo and Katie Chung are trying to state the ‘delicacy’ in men, and that they were looking for ‘deconstruction of traditional masculinity’. But let’s call it sensuality, sensitivity, and sensibility – and why shouldn’t that be very male or masculine?

Of course this did not make the show anything less elegant or classy, but actually added somehow to the good traditional looks on display. So if anything the Wooyoungmi SS17 project may have failed and the designers have inadvertently added to masculinity in general by allowing men to wear skirt-pants and handbags.

In checkered and striped and waving lines and patterns no less. No doubt. Oversized coats. Flowing cuffs. Baggy pants with buttons and folds. Think pirates of the Caribbean. Think 17th century. For a real man is defined not so much by the looks of his handbag or his oversized flowing coat, but much more by what he carries inside or underneath. Just ask those transporters dropping off the modeling boys.

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Wooyoungmi press.

Commune de Paris 1871 is a French urbain chic brand with a store in Paris. The Designer – in – Chief is mr Alexandre Maisetti with whom we had a chance to chat when visiting the brand new store in the Marais for a presentation. Most of the wear is made in Portugal and like in most haute gamme collections the presentation is accompanied by a full range of accessories, from cologne / perfume to what are probably shoes, bags and wallets – as goes the branding trade today in this range.

The style is refreshingly and recognizably French in its light pastel colorings and shades, and its easy going style called decontracté in French. That sporty easy going urban chic look.  Hard to capture but much wanted and not easily found. Probably why Saks carries it as it is definitely something that sells well in the upper range and something that stays discrete and is therefore quite classy. But most French stuff usually is. Wouldn’t call it BCBG however – it’s too refined for that and too poppy. The bourgeoisie likes to flaunt you know, whereas this is quite discrete and therefore elegant and refreshing.

Signature of the SS17 collection is the Doux Rire Brutal, translated as ‘(soft) brutal smile’ in English, which is a scoop off of a quote by 19th century French bad boy boogie and dead poet Arthur Rimbaud, but which perhaps would read better as ‘evil smirk’ as in the various concepts surrounding the collection the signature smile is set against prison bars. Nothing dark about it though, but everything surprisingly light, stylish, elegant, and refreshing. Would look great on the runways no doubt, but sometimes runways are best shunned maybe just so as to leave the brand as something intriguingly exclusive. Commune de Paris 1871. Something just for connaisseurs, aye, something perhaps for idle youth.

“Idle youth, enslaved to everything …” — Arthur Rimbaud

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Commune de Paris press office.

BDMOTP never covered Officine Générale before and it was a summary pleasure to attend the runway show at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Paris where the latest SS17 collection was on full display. We noted well the traditional French easy-going but classy cut of most of the wear, the pastel colors for summer, the light wear and dress, very décontracté (casual), yet sporty and handsome, aye perhaps even pretty.

Yet Pierre Mahéo, the designer, writes in the press release that normally he gets a lot of inspiration from the beauty of the French summers, and from the typical light-heartedness on the streets of Paris, and from the sunny quartiers of the Rive Gauche, but that this time around he had problems finding his inspiration because of the different events that the city had been through lately – understandable of course –, but we like to say that we think that the Officine Générale collection continues to maintain well the spirit of the lightness and the beauty of Paris, and that summer has arrived in Paris – late perhaps – but has arrived indeed as we witnessed that typical care free spirit of the French of yore return, return slowly, and step by step on all the runways of men’s fashion week – and especially in this beautiful collection by Officine Générale. No worries then, as summer has finally begun.

And because we could not say it better ourselves, here are the words of the designer himself to present this collection:

“ .. a thin indigo seersucker, a beautiful and crunchy pope-line, a spectacularly soft garment-dye cotton, a few velvets from Venice for the feet, a nicely knotted sandal, a handful of short sleeves, a washed Italian linen, and Japanese jerseys!”

One small apostrophe we would like to add perhaps is the typical soigné look of the models in their hair-do and coiff, because it is one of these characteristics that makes this show so super French and so recognizable. For these are still those same hair-dos that an old yet famous French boy-band (17 boys all-together) called Les Poppys (and not to be confused with the American boy-band the Poppies), used to spot back in 1971 when they famously sang:

“Non, non, rien n’a changé. Tout, tout a continué.

(nothing has changed, all has continued)

No Sir, the French style and light-heartedness has not changed. It is still there.

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Officine Générale press office.

We have been covering the Glenn Martens Y/Project for some years now here in Paris and despite his shows being in the most impossible of locations; despite this real serious edginess to the materials, colors and cuts; and despite the super duper thin models and cross-over dressing, Glenn Martens always has indisputable style, class, and aye, even elegance when you see his work on the runway in person, or in pictures, or in the showroom – as photos below attest. Indeed mr Martens, like an old Belgian master, somehow has mastered the sartorial arts for men and we at BDMOTP plead no contest trying to find faults or errors.

And it is precisely that razor blade edginess that perfectly fits as an opening act for FW 2016 SS17 Paris Homme because, please believe us as we say, that at the moment of this very show a couple of days ago, Paris was still on edge – the sartorial arts thus conspiring with the city for dominance. As you probably may know the city of Paris has as of late been hit by bouts of terrorism, floods, transportation strikes, garbage strikes, and a whole host of other plagues ranging from rioting in the streets by disaffected youth and football hooligans, and everything else except perhaps grasshoppers falling from the sky trying to eat the plants & trees.

Or so it felt – a city ON EDGE, on a boat’s edge – so someone please describe our wonder when the Y/Project show was to be held in a famous boat called Maxim’s floating but docked on the river Seine right under the Eiffel Tower in the stifling 35°C heat with a humidity index going off the charts – when there was no air conditioning? On that same river which had been rising six meters higher just a week earlier leaving the quays dirty and smelly and making the metro by the dockside overflow with water were it not for little Hans Brinker, while – kid you not – Romanian and Hungarian football fans were chanting to the fashion crowds from behind the gates. Then imagine 300 people going on that boat watching Glenn Martens Y/Project. That’s edgy man! That’s really over the edge. Enough to make a strong man weary!

But that is precisely every time what the old master Martens intends methinks. Because his other shows are in basements which are too narrow and too crowded with impossible low ceilings where it smells. Well, that is called underground. Whereas this show, was decidedly up-ground and nicely set under the Eiffel Tower but the conditions and the times made it more scary and weary than anything that we had previously experienced underground. Let’s call it the Glenn Martens experience.
But then when one can see all that elegance and style come out, it makes everything good and worthwhile all of a sudden. Because the Y/Project collections breathe style, breathe elegance, and they breathe the spirit of Paris. Life on the edge of a drunken boat in the heat in Paris. Le Bateau Ivre of Arthur Rimbaud. Just maintain your class and your style and your course upon the waves and all will be well. Ship ahoy as we sail straight upon the floods. Paris in the summer of 2016. All is well thanks to Glenn Martens Y/Project – une création extraordinaire!

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Y Project press.

Damir Doma’s SS17 collection featured garments for both men and women, in a not quite androgynous context but some may beg to differ. The voluminous, layered looks came in the form of distinct color patterns, first white, then hunter green, then yellow and of course, black. We can’t help but notice the coats layered on top of almost every look: trench coats, bomber-style jackets, blazers in all shapes and sizes. It’s clear that Doma finds SS17 to be the season of the jacket, and well, we love it.

A fire-ish orange and black pattern was layered on some of the clothes and gives off an exciting energy, it simply must represent something exciting. Buckles, belts, and sewn-on ruffles and pockets also added detail to the garments, adding even more fire to this collection. The yellow and green pinstripe take on suits was special, in fact, a modern, urban take on elegance.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos from Damir Doma.

 

This season, DAKS wowed us with a glorious collection filled with rich burgundy and hunter green, complete with plaids and checks, layers and jackets. No, not an Autumn Winter collection, but a Spring one. Although all signs point to more wintery colors, styles and trends, this collection still gives off that fun summer vibe. The line was inspired by India: Madras, to be more specific, and there’s even a plaid pattern in the collection named after the city. Perhaps that’s also where the jewel tones come from too. However, the DAKS SS17 collection, as all DAKS collections do, seems to maintain it’s distinct British gentleman flair despite it’s Madras influence.

The distinctive necklines for this season range from a very low V-neck summer style to a turtleneck appropriate for a cool spring London morning. Luxurious leather belts wrapped twice round plus some funky necklaces/Buddhist prayer beads give the otherwise elegant collection an edge.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos from DAKS.

This season’s Dirk Bikkembergs SS17 show was a special one. Taking place at the Piscina Caimi, the show started off with a bit of sporty action from the Canottieri Milano water polo team. The models strutted past wearing, of course, some swimwear, but also plenty of outfits for many occasion, all with an athletic influence.

We have to hand it to Bikkembergs, because making a suit look sporty in a cool way isn’t easy, but the garments really are appropriate for a variety of occasions. In addition to suits and casual wear, models also sported speedos and more casual sportswear.

Colorblocking trends were apparent, as well as funky shoes of all sorts to match each outfit. Bags came in many forms, but we especially loved the leather backpacks and surprisingly–a bag shaped like a giant soccer ball. Some of the more elegant looks used bold prints and leather and added a vibrant touch to the whole collection. Besides the adult models, some children even walked the runway with matching outfits to launch Dirk Bikkembergs kidswear.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos from Dirk Bikkembergs.

BDMOTP always enjoys the Vivienne Westwood show–and not just for the creative fashions walking the catwalk. We admire Ms. Westwood for always taking an angle on something, and this season she chose to use her show to support for Julian Assange (remember WikiLeaks?). In fact, the runway show was conveniently placed as Assange starts on his fifth year at the Ecuador’s London Embassy. Westwood’s dedication to social issues comes with a lot of gusto, and in this case she is fighting for Assange and for his release on his unlawful confinement.

We can't help but respect Ms. Westwood's commitment to social justice.

We can’t help but respect Ms. Westwood’s commitment to social justice.

How does this translate to fashion, one might ask? Inspiration can be found in the form of many things, and for this particular collection, it starts off with unisex designs, something Westwood hasn’t really done in her past menswear shows, using both male and female models. As usual, we see asymmetric lines and plenty of layering from Westwood. Her suits for men are wide and voluminous, ruched and bunched to create space.

Vertical pinstripes are a common theme on not-so-typical suits…perhaps representing the evil businessman? We also spot the IoU label on many of her garments, Intellectuals Unite, perhaps a call to order for those who want and need social change.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos from Vivienne Westwood.

 

Larusmiani’s SS17 collection was inspired by the magical oasis of Palm Springs, California. Cool, calm and collected, this small but elegant collection was absolutely stunning. With lightweight spring materials, the collection jumps between more formal and casual wear, giving options for a versatile man who might have to pop into the office for a meeting but later grab his yacht and sail away. Unlined jackets and relaxed knits give the collection an airy feel in general, in fact, the line just feels like a breath of fresh, seaside air.

The colors remind of us of Palm Springs, with sea and sky blue as well as a khaki beige for the desert vibes. Larusmiani is a master at making elegant and modern looks in an understated way, and any gentleman, California-based or not, could definitely find a piece (or many) in this collection.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos from Larusmiami.

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