Officine Générale is well-known in America as the typical French brand goes the mile with the SS18 collection to prove that you really do not have to bend yourself over backwards as a designer by constantly changing signatures or by inventing yet the latest or newest trend in order to be true and comfortable to your very own trusted style.

There is too much of that in the cutthroat competition which is the world of fashion. And too many brands are reaching for straws by looking for ‘disruption’ or ‘change’ or ‘rebellion’ or that sad catch-all phrase called ‘the future’. No, none of this is really necessary when what you advocate in your designs, your patterns, your colors, your concepts, and in the fabrics that you use is simply elegance – French elegance in this case.

And this is what Officine Générale is really good at. The concept is simple in that the collection is supposed to give simple confidence and comfort to those who wear it. The design is a middle-of-the-road but classy tailoring in style with sharp French cuts but only made from superior fabrics made in either Italy, Britain, or Japan. The details and the stitch are refined, if not sophisticated. This is casual chic at its best and it is no coincidence that on Google trends you can follow the global rise and appreciation of the word ‘chic’ which mirrors the course of the stock chart of the Apple company. Casual chic is IT.

But like we said last time when we covered Officine Générale, what is so very important when wearing French made jackets, coats, sweater, and slacks casually with loafers or sandals and perhaps without any socks, is that, well – that you know how to wear it! For French casual is meant to dress you down and not to dress you up. Wear your shirt outside your belt and not tugged in. Have your collar stand up and not neatly folded crisply together. Stick your hands – please, please – deep into your pockets by all means. Or let the cuffs hang loose unbuttoned in the wind. And above all do not be conscious about the way you walk or the way you talk. Just let it hang loose. It’s called laissez-faire or let it go in English!

If then by hazard or chance one day you are spotting those washed out soft hue pastel colors dressed down in your latest Officine Générale SS18 and somebody asks you a question on the streets, do not feel obliged to respond immediately in a business-like and correct fashion. No! In reply rather mumble something impossibly difficult to understand while attempting to light a cigarette fumbling for a lighter you do not appear to be able to find as you subtly show off your Officine Générale casual French chic.

Because, as Oscar Wilde once quipped while living in exile in France:

“Every good conversation always starts with a pose.”

Words by Sandro and photos from Officine Générale.

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Sankuanz is back with yet an enormous effort to push the boundaries of what type of fabrics, linens, and materials may be used in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries of what men today can wear as streetwear.

When last time in January designer Shangguan Zhe from China was bold enough to introduce to us bio-shock hazardous materials suits (hazmat) as a form of streetwear for which fabrication includes DuPont materials, aramid fiber, and the non-fictional odorless, tasteless, yet surprisingly non-toxic space material called UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene), this time around he manages to bring to the runways of Paris materials looking like plaster by using linen suits woven into overdyed cottons, as well silica gel-based fabrics, which is starting to make the independent observer wonder strongly as to where the boundaries of fabrics end and where begins the world of materials.

That’s not to say of course that there is no concept or colors to this show, and that is precisely the genius of it, that the Sankuanz SS18 collection manages to integrate the cutting edge of fabrics technology with a nice sense of style, Italian style in fact, which is accomplished by using the works and art of Cy Twomble (an American exiled in Rome) as a backdrop for inspiration for the show. This means Mediterranean colors throughout (sandy, lime, beautiful reds) in light pastels, and raw, raw scribbles and patterns and motifs – think Pollock but then in Rome with brighter colors and a little bit more graffiti-like, yet with Italian curves and style.

Add to this grand tableau a cartoonish and ever-pervasive-on-the-runways-of-today trend of oversizing everything, and voila, here we have Sankuanz on the march in its latest study on sartorial exploration into the unknown. It must thus be clear then to the reader that Sankuanz SS18 succeeds where it sets off to do something new but that is long not finished yet with the show today. Not by a UHMWPE mile…

Words by Sandro and photos from Sankuanz.

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Having a background in both theatre and choreography Mr Vibskov – besides being a cult and celebrity designer at this point in time – is the grandmaster of the grand stage of the lost puppet show of our forgotten dreams when we were once innocent children. He manages to bring back alive with every new show those haunting images of early childhood dreams and nightmares which never really leave you when you grow old. They are still there. And voila, there they are!

After introducing his creations gently and calmly they seem to slowly come alive and eventually will parade in firm staccato with perfect precision like a toy soldier army on a war path along and by the silently gawking fashionistas, press, friends, and other dignitaries and fans. Mr Vibskov then comes out in the end so as to safely lead the grand army back into the cupboard himself where they get locked up for another six months until the next show will be about to start again. Strangely then that this marvel of a show still manages to get better over time which is evidenced by the reaction of the crowd which now remains seated in the end as if to expect an encore.

But dreams do usually not come back to haunt one twice.

The show’s theme: Sleep, dreams, bed, sleeping bags, nightmares, and pillows; and an occasional book on the ground which will put you to sleep. Rich, colorful, vibrant, and original – the Henrik Vibskov SS18 collection rocked (with a little bit of help by Gentle Monster) even some pop/rock-stars. And that’s because masterclass never needs any praise. Or likes on Youtube.

You will be able to find Mr Vibskov’s creations in New York City until August 6th at the MAD Museum.

Words by Sandro and photos from Henrik Vibskov.

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Creative director Jonny Johansson for ACNE brings us yet another stylish homey-slash-outdoors display of sartorial gifts for which Sweden is so famous, the walk into the woods from the home, or in this case the walk from the city to the summer home, which well, of course has to be made in the full comfort of the house-slash-trench coat, so that, hey, if it rains you are prepared, but if the sun shines and you happen to arrive on the veranda of your wooden outdoor retreat, you can well, also lounge – and in that very same suit coat until you fall asleep mind you.

Thus we may need more suit coats in this world, that is for sure, but we may have to thank Mr Johansson and ACNE for bringing this marvel to our collective attention.

And as is their habit and style, ACNE in Paris this time around again preferred to give a presentation where one can actually study the sitting (or lounging) model rather than to have a runway show, which makes sense, because journalists and artists and photographers will have an easier time studying the creations before them, rather than when the models are on the move.

The creamy pastel and woody colors you see on display are straight from the Swedish outdoors and even carry their own Swedish names, as in Falurod Red and Dalabla Blue, and to make things really feel super homey some of the patterns used have adopted the feel of tea towels (that ubiquitous and oh so important asset in any Nordic kitchen where your cups are always neatly polished) as well as the occasional summer shade curtain keeping out the long white nights of the summer outdoors. Here you will see sweet comfort derived from the outhouse and garden variety of interior decorations well found in Swedish second outdoor homes. A great concept for style indeed. Rustic and homey. And comfortable.

Add to that trousers or slacks that are spacey and roomy strung up lightly but high with gabardine sash belts, and of course easy going crochet sweaters and flower embroideries on the seams of your long cut suit coat, not to mention the sandals and the slippers, and boom, all of a sudden the overall image that appears is a marvelous Nordic answer to the Southern home bathrobe (think films in where the Don is spotting one at the pool), with the brilliant twist of course that this one also functions as a trench coat – which means you may be able to escape your enemies still when they come unexpectedly knocking on your door.

“Run boss, run, they are knocking on the door.”

“But where is my coat?”

“You are wearing one already, this is Sweden, and it is called a suit coat.”

“What, but we were just getting out of the pool?”

“Never mind, just run, the woods stretch far and deep behind the yard.”

Words by Sandro and photos by ACNE.

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As this was always going to be classy collection, here Agnès is recreating that old French summer chic, the smart/casual that Americans would know from Ralph Lauren but with a distinct twist of French flair and with that recognizable loose and comfortable French cut.

This is what Jay Gatsby would wear had F. Scott Fitzgerald been French, because Agnès went all the way back to elegant summer times of the thirties for her inspiration. Yet those unspoiled private beaches and private gardens where old time elegance is still in style still exist in France, if you know you what you are looking for. France can be a private place after all, and following Agnès drive in the SS18 collection to find pure and simple colors, and matching this with openwork stitches, with poplin boxer shorts, and with working shirts with patch pockets (from the prospectus) comfortable shapes and looks of the forgotten summers of yore are being created.

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Agnès then goes on to claim that the SS18 collections are …

…des vêtements pour tous, pour toujours, pour la vie … de tous les jours.

(clothes for all, for always, for life … of all days)

Which of course is nice when you can remember that in the past not many people had the ability to vacation Jay Gatsby style, but that today, if you really try, that you could probably pull it off even if you have little money. So much for progress and equality through the sartorial arts which of course has always been a famous topic around the world and especially here in France, where, indeed even today, one would still have to first find a private garden, or that private beach, or a calm retrait forestiere before quietly being able to enjoy that special moment in the beautiful sun.

In Agnès b. SS18 of course with no questions asked.

Words by Sandro and photos by Agnès b.

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Sometimes before a show it is better to read the press release first, and imagine what the collections are going to be like, rather than to first take look and only then try to decrypt what wealth of sartorial assets you just witnessed. And especially so with Christian Dada – the designer known as Masanori Morikawa from Japan – because on the fabrics and materials used and for the sheer number and richness of techniques that come into play for the collection, one would never have even a humble guess as to the intricate workings of the creative process — not even as a journalistic expert.

But that is precisely what ‘couture’ is of course, for the menswear design by Christian Dada is not ready-to-wear, not prêt-à-porter, and not even high-end or haute gamme, in that here all is done by hand with refined techniques involving complex and sensitive materials, a lot of them coming from Japan.

And that is what then creates a special recognizable style which here at Best Dressed Man we like to call Christian Dada Punk Couture, for we have seen this show many times, and you’ll find that as the golden thread that weaves through all the creations of the designer is a Dadaist idea of creative destruction, of beauty through imperfections, which the show likes to announce with the theme of ‘Losing Power’. And indeed such a cry may set a standard for the creative processes at work here, but when we also take into account the different jacquards (brocades, damasks), plaid cottons, bleached blouses, the different beads and embroideries, the artistic prints, and the marvelous variety of patterns on show on the runway, then we can only come to the conclusion that the Christian Dada SS18 collection is all power gained.

It’s called the power of style.

Words by Sandro and photos from Christian Dada.

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This is the second time BDMOTP is covering Etudes and the remarkable thing is that indeed this fashion for men is very thought out, that there is a real concept behind it, just like last time, and that this time around what the SS18 collection is celebrating is, well, that ubiquitous Parisian metro of yours which everybody in the world knows – perhaps only second in fame or infamy to the London Tube or the New York Subway, but hey, who has never heard in this life of the word ‘Metro’ with its direct reference to the word metropolitain of course.

That slimy, grimy, dank giant labyrinth which cuts through Paris like holes in a dirty cheese, infested with rats, shelter to the homeless and gypsies, who knows it not? Its giant shredded posters bending over curved walls, Parisian couples kissing right before the doors slam shut, the sound of shivering and shrieking ghost trains rumbling in from the underground – which colors does it celebrate, besides safety yellow, and workmen’s blue or grey? Well, here in Paris we call it RATP green, named after the organization that runs the system, but for all other purposes you can call it Aqua, after the green component of Aquamarine.

A beautifully studied concept and creation by Etudes for here we find the colors of the underground workmen, the colors of the metro, the pattern of stripes straight from the metro tickets, and the fabric and the looks of utility, of use, of those who work to keep the metro system clean, and safe and sound. Even the sub-officious pre-war costume grey comes back in the palette. We witness dungarees and workwear and workmen’s shoes and, for those who know the metro system of Paris well – the show is henceforth aptly called Vertige by Etudes, which of course means vertigo in English, that feeling to which most tourists as well as Parisian could patently subscribe once you stumble to get off just in time after the doors slam closed behind you after yet another roller coaster ride which left you sitting quite literally on the edge ..

This is, voila, the latest brilliant concept wear yet by Etudes – which needs no introduction.

Words by Sandro and photos from Etudes.

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Sean Suen delivers again on the Paris runways. Or so the headline should read.

Last year for SS17 on his very first visit on the catwalk in Paris we were raving over the Sean Suen collection and we explained about how a traditional and classy European urban chic was newly being defined from Asia, whereas this year the young designer from China is coming back with the same stylish cuts and silky shapes again defying the gravity of modern times – which in the sartorial arts today is often futuristic or chaotic without any sense of history or tradition, but which in addition to Sean’s recognizable signature cuts and shapes today also offers us a beautiful soft pallet of pastel colors, the objective being to make the character of his style besides being classy also ‘tender’ –which is theme of the show.

Mint greens against metallic sky blues, and coppers on cream. In that one sentence basically all is said that you need to know when you peruse the slideshow below but what is remarkable about Sean Suen is the integrity of the concept that he is willing to dare before us. Because watching show after show after show during fashion week one comes to realize easily that not all young designers understand yet what it takes to actually build and create not only a new design or a new style concept which is interesting and pleasing to the eye, but also something which actually shows full coherence and integrity in its conception from start to finish. Not just running signatures in fabrics, materials, make, colors, cuts, patterns, shapes, looks, and accessories, but also to create a new conception which is true to its own identity.

In other words, many especially young designers are perhaps too focused on deconstructing traditional styles rather than on creating styles which will become a new standard of tradition, elegance and class. And for this, Sean Suen, as a young designer, is thankfully a beautiful exception. For here is a young designer who gets it and who needs no more sartorial lessons, because his collections breathe elegance and class in seeming effortless fashion. They even breathe tenderness.

The press release reads that the SS18 collection is supposed to convey to us ‘the perception of calmness and tenderness which provides a feeling of comfort’, and it is this, the perfect description of the maturity of Sean Suen as a young designer, which captures the Paris SS18 show.

Words by Sandro and photos from Sean Suen.

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There is always something seriously brooding and dark but beautiful about the Julius collections and this time was no different. On occasion the locations for the shows are therefore also held in the underground and this one was fittingly organized in an underground parking garage – which interestingly finds itself in one of Paris’ poshest districts near Opera – not as space to park your car, but as a chosen venue for raging and raving and reveling youth – real fire extinguishers on the walls equipped with roaming cameras included. Not to mention that it was 100+F° outside.

Thus it can be easily seen that creator Tatsuro Horikawa over time has developed a veritable cult following for his exuberant but brooding shows, this one cryptically referring to the word ‘apocalypse’ but spelled in reverse, which once again after the last show in winter seems to be referring to some strongly raging and angry dystopic future – or in this case a present. Because the Julius press release goes as far as to make ‘the current distorted state of the United States’ responsible as the source of inspiration for the ‘rage’, ‘dissatisfaction’, and ‘rebellion’ expressed by means of the design in the Julius SS18 collection & show. Which is all rather odd when you are sitting in France watching a show by a Japanese designer.

So yes, Julius is an angry but beautiful show. As is usual. And as usual as well is the large variety of technical Japanese handy and machine work on display on different dark fabrics, because they are the veritable masters of this ancient art. Add to that military patterns with a khaki pallet and some crimson blood red, and indeed you will come to find this brooding dark Asian vibe which needs no translations, and which is above and beyond politics, because it is something directly out of Shogun, from the lost times of medieval Imperial Japan.

Words by Sandro and photos from Julius.

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Sometimes you wonder what the French obsession is with West Coast Americana but then again one would maybe find just as many Californians obsessing over French style. This seems to be a current that goes two ways, but where they meet is usually in some rather abstract of familiar forms & shapes, pastel retro colors, and futuristic design. So, aye, why not go back to the simple minimalism of classic retro beach wear – slippers, sandals, traditional Hawaii shirts, bright & tight T shirts, while donning comfortable beach boxers, if not a dangerously outdated “speedo” in all its former glory – that is if you have the body go with it.

Hey, it’s about style and colors after all and this is the hot summer of 2018, life is a beach, and we are care free, we love surfing, wind, water, and waves, and happy days are here again. Mind you that these items created by Monsieur Julien Pellat – Finet, one of the grand old dons of French fashion, are seriously rich and beautiful when it comes to materials used (cashmere, Japanese fabrics) and only made in France, Italy, and Japan. These are superior beachwear products for men, both through variety of colors available as well as by the perfectly fitting classic LA retro style.

All colors are glorious – think bubblegum pink, fluo-mandarin, or kryptonite green, so that your ‘nonchalance etudiée’ (your studied cool) as the press release would have it, becomes effortless while spotting the latest LPF near the sands of the beach or by the side of the pool. For no party is necessary when you always do things in style. French-Malibu style. By LPF.

Words by Sandro and photos from Julien Pellat – Finet.

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