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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It seems like Glenn Martens is finally coming of age with his grand and eternal Y / Project. After exploring for years all kinds of interesting memes & themes (underground, French imperial chic, emaciated drug chic, etc. you name it), this cult and celebrity designer from Belgium finally somehow perhaps realized that there is some commercial value to be had to employ his formidable talents towards everybody’s classic favorite of today: Urban Chic.

In fact you could say that that Mr Martens is now no longer arriviste (a beginner) but rather arrivé – that he has arrived. For these grand Y / Project collections are now finally going to go full mainstream. In bigger and brighter venues and no longer shown for a select cult following in tumbling steamboats (not kidding) or underground clubs. And this is best for all of us as Mr Martens acknowledges himself while we read the press release, that it is really all about ‘wearability’ and to make things ‘easy and elegant’ – and not just for the show – as if to say, New York, Shanghai, London, Milan — here I come.

As such, always first on the calendar, the Glenn Martens Y/Project makes for a great and appropriate opener of Paris Fashion Week Homme every time, this time miraculously coinciding with what Parisians fondly know of as the once-per-year Fête de la Musique (an across the city music street festival where pick up bands and musicians make musical mayhem and sounds in cafés, bars, restaurants and on the streets), with the hottest and most suffocating day (over 100F°) Paris had seen in over a decade, as well as with the summer solstice.

And thus, thanks to Y / Project SS18, an easy and elegant kick start for fashion season Paris commenced with the perfect BANG – for summer has arrived.

Words by Sandro and photos from Y / Project

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Everyone’s favorite classic white court shoe — but in natural rubber.

The concept, in fact, is very simple and traditional but new and creative nevertheless: Take classic court shoes, do 30 years of research in how to work and design natural rubber into different forms of liquid latex, make brand new type of elegant shoe wear on the high of the market. Thus, this innovative yet elegant French brand (www.both.com) has been around only since last year and is showing BDMOTP today their latest collection SS17. And it sticks to basics as you can see, not only as to the shape and form of the shoe wear, but also where colors are concerned. Because you can only get them in Khaki, Nude, Black, and White.

A nude natural rubber court classic.

As far as style is concerned the court shoe of course is the typical urban chic which is so very popular and ubiquitous today on the high end of the market. In fact, everybody does it. From luxury brands willing to show casual chic to sports brands promoting their latest designer styled capsule collections to designers and fashion houses themselves, everyone and everybody just LOVES to make a beautiful court shoe. And with BOTH, here for the first time, we find them in what is aptly called ‘sophisticated rubber’ – let’s do not call it liquid latex – by veritable French independent design label.

Simple yet elegant.

As a final point of importance for this new high tech sartorial marvel BDMOTP likes to note that unlike most branded court shoes, the BOTH court shoe thankfully does not show off any mark, name, stripe, or color that could identify with it either one brand or the other. No sir, this court shoe is simply made for you, to be discrete, pretty, functional, and, of course, very comfortable – regardless of the price.

And that should be what chic is all about: BOTH fits like a glove around your foot!

Discrete, chic, and khaki.

Words by Sandro and photos from Both.

It’s said that a good perfume never goes out of style, and thus BDMOTP was lucky enough to be offered an exclusive in Paris on a new perfume by Boris Bidjan Saberi called 11 (eleven) which matches the designer’s most recent fashion collection and accessories under the same name.

Photo from the Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 collection

Photo from the Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 collection

It used to be the case of course (in a now long distant past) that only a real house of perfume (think Guerlain, Dior, Fragonard etc.) would be able to come out with the latest bottled scent so as to set the trend, but today scents and essences and fragrances have become so ubiquitous that trying to dictate the latest style in scent is no longer just the domain of specialists, but has become a must-and-have-all for the latest brand of celebrity (mostly singers, performers, entertainers, sports personalities, and influencers), as well as for almost every designer and fashion house on the block, and not to forget to mention of course for every luxury car and watch maker – everything, anything, to promote a name by means of the fifth sense, which is called smell.

Photo from the Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 collection

Photo from the Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 collection

So here is the exclusive deal: of the new men’s fragrance called 11 by the fashion designer from Barcelona, Best Dressed Man was given a sample for testing and since the fragrance wheel is divided in either the opposites of Floral (more feminine) and Woody (more masculine), and Oriental (sensuous) and Fresh (sharp), we would like to place this essence somewhere between Fresh and Woody, noting that indeed it has 11 (eleven) ingredients.

The top notes are super fresh (that’s the smell which you smell first and then evaporates immediately), the heart notes (the notes that you smell right after) are pretty earthy actually, and the base notes (the ones that remain) are softer and sweeter and verge on the Oriental side of things rather than the Fresh. Clearly there are no Floral notes in 11 but then again it is of course a men’s fragrance.

Photo from the Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 collection

Photo from the Boris Bidjan Saberi 11 collection

The creators themselves (essence 11 is created by BBS in collaboration with Geza Schoen) describe the product as having ‘Vegetable Tanned Horse Skin Notes’.

Finally the Boris Bidjan Saberi fragrance is rated as being a 22% essence, which probably puts it somewhere on the scale between Cologne and Eau de Toilette, rather than on the list of the higher concentrations of Eau de Parfum or simply Parfum, perfume –, which of course is not only the name for a world famous product known for smell and scent, but also the selfsame title of a thriller of a book by Patrick Suskind (original in German) from 1985 (highly recommended as an introduction into the world of scent).

Proof of timelessness of essences: an old advertisement for perfume for men, no credits needed because it is from 1935; the name of this perfume is “For a Man” in French; “elegant at night” it says, it is made for “the elegant man who likes perfume that gives energy and activity”

Proof of timelessness of essences: an old advertisement for perfume for men, no credits needed because it is from 1935; the name of this perfume is “For a Man” in French; “elegant at night” it says, it is made for “the elegant man who likes perfume that gives energy and activity”

Indeed a good perfume – like any good and original scent – never goes out of style, and at BDMOTP we are confident 11 will be around for a very long time.

Words by Sandro and photos by Boris Bidjan Saberi.

Always save the best for last.

Because there is no substitute for class, here is Agnès b. After all this is the designer who once worked with Quentin Tarantino to create the style and the characters of Pulp Fiction. She also worked with David Lynch. And it must be said it often takes a great stylist – perchance always – to create a great film. So that neither the brand nor the name needs an introduction by Best Dressed Man.

Therefore we like to close with the Agnès b. feature shoot because it puts the perfect finishing touch over one fashion week homme in both range and variety of styles which today come out of France, and for which the country is well-known, if not famous.

Here is a small Anthology for the week.

Fittingly the week opened with grand old style deacon Lucien Pellat-Finet who under the motto ‘the bad taste of yesterday is the good taste of today’ playfully recreated what is universally known as a style of French Pop.

As the week continued there was Officine Générale with a new collection, a rather new brand (2012) based upon a French style notion of, well, being French and therefore inevitably French Nonchalance. A casual style most ‘decontracté’.

Our Fashion Tour de France continued to Commune de Paris 1871 where we identified a rebellious form of what we dubbed Workman Chic. Super French indeed.

So here is the closer. And no comments left. As there is no substitute for French Class.

Voilà Agnès b.

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Words by Sandro and photos from Agnès b.

Best Dressed Man was very kindly received last week at the Paul & Joe showroom & atelier on rue Commines in an area of Paris in what may be considered the local garment district in order to get a preview of the latest Paul & Joe men’s collection for purposes of this short article. The facility, well-hidden in a friendly courtyard was conducting big brand business during the day as large package orders were being hailed out in order from the premises in order to be shipped to Taiwan. Entourage and decoration are everything in fashion they say, and so it remained with us that the people at Paul & Joe were friendly and hospitable, that the designers were available, and the press agents attentive and to the point, while we visited a large showroom set up in a lavish and lush animal and flower and jungle theme, an inspiration which of course you will be able to find back in the preview of the AW 17/18 menswear collection. In the middle of the room there was a life-size panther mannequin sitting under a tree as a quiet bland orange light gently changed the shades on floral patterns and rustling leaves.

The new collection is classy yet simple and straightforward in a trademark Paul & Joe style but also accessible in its range, and it holds enough elegance to keep spoiled urban chic critics at bay especially because we find here yet again one of those where-have-you-been-until-now retro 80’s looks and designs in plain and simple terms. Jungle flower patterns with animal faces occasionally glimpsing through (the love of animals is a recurrent theme with Paul & Joe), but best 80’s feature of all is that remarkable and recognizable bland set of colors as well as the rather simple cuts and designs which define this forgotten decade handsomely, and which Paul & Joe managed to bring back in delightful fashion.

This retro style is more necessary today than ever before because all of life today often seems to run us simply by as we rush on in the double fast lane of digital technology and a complete lack of real-time personal communications.

But the 80’s was an era when people are still talking face to face and at least one decade before the onset and onslaught of the age of information and the internet. It explains well therefore why also other good brands besides Paul & Joe, like for example Carven or ACNE have recently created 80’s retro looks, because in a time when nothing of traditional value still seems to appear what it once was, it is only normal that people start looking for a safer and a simpler world of yore.

So gentlemen please allow Paul & Joe to bring this lost and forgotten style back for you in beautifully simple and classy fashion with their coming menswear collection for AW 17/18.

(An honorable mention deserves a showroom item perched high upon a mannequin which can only be described (now that we are talking 80’s) as a furry Pimp Coat (in white no less) in what may very well be a classy tribute to ‘Rick James’ and the character ‘)

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Words by Sandro and photos from Paul & Joe.

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