The latest AW collection from well-known Korean men / women wear designer Juun.J is simply called Archive. It features a variety of shapes and forms of the designer’s signature commitment of gently deconstructing classical tailoring over the last ten years in what perhaps can aptly be described as an androgynous or genderless street style experience.

Mixing men and women on the runway and making sure that all clothing is wide or raffled, that all models wear pointy ankle boots, that men wear their hair long and women short, that military combat khaki as a color and bomber outfits breathe the uniformity of a uniform, that no tattoos or beards or piercings or jewelry or other characteristics are visible, that there are many turtlenecks on display, as well as many oversized coats and sweaters, not to mention hoodies and yet more hoodies, virtually guarantees that gender is almost impossible to distinguish in some of the runway pictures. In fact, the one good way to distinguish differences between men and women is to be present at the runway show, where you can see how the models WALK.

This is gender neutral streetwear in classic and traditional shapes and cuts of elegance spiced up with kinky leathers, ghetto hoodies, military colors and shades, and lots of dangling straps, belts, and fastenings. Its motto is Supersize. The theme is Archive 10. The logo and the brand Juun.J. The style an urban deconstructed Chic Militaire.

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Words by Sandro and photos from Juun.J.

This is the second time that Best Dressed Man is reviewing Boris Bidjan Saberi in Paris and again the show theme offered a stark example of what has become a common cause among many of the menswear fashion avant-garde in its portrayal of a modern young road traveler (or urban climber in this case), who often seems to go, not by the comfort of AirBnB from cosmopolitan city to cosmopolitan city supported by urban settings of neon lights and concrete or suburban sprawl, but rather by severe hardship and pain like a Silk Road Warrior across the Sahara desert from Algiers to Timbuktu, but then without a rally car or a racing team – and rather self-reliant, dapper, enterprising, and aye, why not DAFT – as in so ambitiously silly that the normal risks we take in life have now become an afterthought.

And if then you read the press release that the inspiration for this grand winter collection is the experience of the designer himself as an ICE CLIMBER, then all of a sudden things start falling into place. For was not this week a meter of snow recorded for the first time somewhere in the Sahara desert? Or is he climbing on Antarctica?

Indeed, a closer scrutiny of this winter-way-beyond-Moncler collection by Boris Bidjan Saberi shows all the elements and gadgets of extreme sport climbing – but modulated into a grand fashion statement for the ages: Harnessed pants, vest-jackets, parkas & trenches, woolly-warm hand-knit jumpers, webs of vertebral braids, optional removable pockets, removable linings, adjustable straps, climbing knots, double or triple fastenings, and – to top it all off – of course anti-snow blinding goggles and even military crampon mountain boots (the latter provided by the brand Salomon just for this occasion).

Yup, that may be extreme, but it is also beautiful. And actually much to the point for a young man in this urban life of today which requires a serious mountain or ice climber’s attitude – as well as the necessary equipment and style – in order to survive. Thus this latest collection of the BBS on-the-road menswear is shown here to breathe some serious class and has a remarkable freshness of style born out of hardcore hardship of risky and hazardous endeavors.

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Words by Sandro and photos from Boris Bidjan Saberi

Masanori Morikawa from Japan is back on the Paris runway this time with a new ‘dadaist’ collection simply called ‘blue’.  And shades of blue it has: Police, Turquoise, Topaz, and hints of Spanish blue are ubiquitous in this interestingly layered deconstruction of styles and fabrics that the designer likes to practice in each new collection, and this time around accentuated by ‘classical tailoring with recomposed silhouettes’ – a veritable rhapsody in blue (with some bold reds for contrasting effect), which according to Japanese legend must indicate all the angst that youth has while living in modern society.

The motive is hidden in the details where quite originally – and as an example of how modern technology has an impact on fashion statements – we can perceive tassels, cords, belts, and shoe laces dangling about as if they are headphone jacks which get lost in the shuffle of an urban street city center cellphone manoeuvre when you are quickly trying to call a friend but when you are prevented from doing so by the doors of the bus or the train suddenly opening.

In this sense Masanori is right on target by quoting that this patchwork of classic-modernist streetwear is meant for young men who like to go by the saying ‘too fast to live too young to die’. And it explains the ‘Police-Topaz blue pretty well in terms of angst and vain cosmopolitan dreams of living in large and nameless cities around the globe. And perhaps so specifically in Japan – which, as lore has it, is rather crowded and full of people.

So wear blue. Not navy or royal blue. But police – turquoise – topaz blue.  Wear different layers while tassels hang from all elements of your urban outfit as if you are some type of cosmopolitan pirate. Hey, and wear a simple blue hat. Hey, and as an accessory add perhaps to wear what is called ‘an amplifier bag’ so that the batteries you carry for all your electronic equipment fit in nicely without disturbing anyone else.

And don’t forget that style-du-jour de l’année 2017 which we see plastered over every runway in Europe today: OVERSIZED sweaters, coats, pants, cuffs, collars, and shirts.  And then finally, of course, don’t forget them BLUE lacquered shoes, for those shoes are soo 2017. Police – Topaz blue. So that in the end you will have arrived at being a real urban Dadaist, protected by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi (an old Zen ritual of purity and simplicity in which things handmade and irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze, cracks, or beauty with deliberate imperfection are highly prized) because you are wearing the latest collection Christian Dada.

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Words by Sandro and photos from Christian Dada.

Someone had to do it. So leave it up to two young Parisian designer brothers from a bespoke family (dad was a London tailor) named ICOSAE to redefine and deconstruct Vermeer’s famous Girl with the Pearl Earring into today’s sensitive, brooding, yet elegant young man: Le Jeune Homme à la Perle – the young man with a pearl earring.

Here ICOSAE presents a dark (lots of underground shades of black fabrics and metallic detail in embroideries and accessories backed up by patchy prints) and rebellious collection, yet according to signature as we have witnessed in a prior show, still elegant and classy despite its penchant for deconstruction and provocation in both cut (oversized coats), shape (cut and turn sleeves), design (monster lapels), fabric (a mix of modern and traditional), and even color (the blood red on black being a primary feature following a ‘family conflict theme’ with the catchphrase that blood runs thicker than water as per the press release).

We had dubbed this particular style ‘punk chic’ last time we wrote an article when ICOSAE was presenting its first show, but this being their second we will have to redefine (or perhaps rather further deconstruct) the description of the style into something more subtle and sensitive as the direct and unavoidable result of every model on the runway boasting that marvelous metallic earpiece with ONE shiny pearl so softly and gently dangling from a small pendulum just below the ear. For that’s no longer punk, but rather swag. And frankly one could only imagine bad boy boogie John Galliano coming up with similar ‘innovation’ before it becomes – if ever – mainstream.

Nevertheless this is what youth is for: To give a distorted twist of sensitivity & sensibility either faux or real to traditional rebellion and a raw, ruckus & raucous approach to life, and then to match the style to go along with it, which now, despite all because of ICOSAE, will be available near you at your local Urban Chic outfitters of uppity menswear for the trendy and the bold in shapes and forms of true elegance and style. Punk Chic gone Pirate Swag – think Boy George, George Michael, and especially Adam Ant of the past, then Captain Jack Sparrow of today, only to culminate in what will be perhaps every second or third millennial gentleman of the future.

For what, if not for ICOSAE, is a real angry young man without a dangling PEARL earring?

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Words by Sandro and photos from ICOSAE.

Some fashion shows are so good that they develop their own cult following. And this is one of them. The way some people were used to follow the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, or Metallica on tour from city to city, there are also people who follow fashion designers from city to city, to see and revere their latest work in awe and adulation. Like rabid football fans, they dress up in the same style as that their heroes latest work would dictate. And like Justin Bieber fans they scream while taking pictures outside the event even if they have no ticket to get into the venue. And so it oddly is as well with Glenn Martens Y/Project show, which year after year, like good old Burgundy wine, only just gets a little darker and better still.

One must then wonder therefore what it is precisely with Belgian fashion designers that makes them special and stand out. For Belgium is a small country yet they have so many well-known designers. Here is just a simple five who are showing this week alone in Paris: Glenn Martens, Walter van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela, and of course Raf Simons, who need no introduction to a fashion public. So perhaps that it is not coincidence that Glenn Martens harks from the dark old city of Bruges, that obscure and hidden left over from a dark medieval past which never completely seemed to have reached modernity – not even until today. For was not this city the capital of Old Burgundy, a 14th century empire that stretched all the way from Switzerland to Amsterdam? And which mysteriously disappeared within the deep mist of European history?

Sorry that it needed that long introduction but only then will you perhaps understand a little bit about the origins of the creativity of this fabulous and fascinating show which gets better every year. The press release describes the work as ‘graphic tailoring woven into structural elegance’ as a technical description and almost every time there is an underground scene in the show ambiance but the effects of the materials used, the form, the shapes, the colors, and the cut and the design with Y/Project somehow always become visible upon the faces of models on the runway expressed as a strange but intense form of self-confidence.

And it is for a reason that they seem to breathe and represent the cockiness of princes or pashas. Can you spot Napoleon, Henri the IV, Louis XIV and other notables past in the runway line up in the slideshow below? Not only in the patchwork prints and the design, but in the faces of the actual models? For indeed it is rather remarkable what kind of confidence grand clothes can make for man: The confidence of the Prince – oddly fitting in the age of Donald Trump – which as the theme for this Y/Project show Glenn Martens aptly calls ‘the real Slim Shady’ after the nickname of the rough mean street alter ego of rapper Eminem.

Aha, so THAT is what grand clothing can bring out in a man, and it also explains the cult following of this fabulous and highly creative work of the sartorial arts called Y/Project.

Glenn Martens, the fashion cult hero Slim Shady from Bruges

Glenn Martens, the fashion cult hero Slim Shady from Bruges

And did anyone notice that Glenn Martens is an Eminem lookalike?

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Words by Sandro and photos from Y Project.

 

Something very French about this FIRST runway show (after 23 years of having a well-known brand and boutique in Paris) by Lucien Pellat – Finet, old Don of the French fashion scene, and something très Pop – Culture.  Not only do promotional tie-ins and markings of John Matos (aka the Graffiti artist called ‘CRASH’), as well some latest designs and images of the new installment of the grand animated movie ‘Discpicable Me 3’ feature in the work and art, but we also notice that not without a twist or hint of irony the fashion avant garde – the frontrunners – is exploring some long-since washed-out pop-imagery like for instance skulls, hemp leaves, and aye, even the Popeye-esque ubiquitous image of the lighthouse (yes a lighthouse, that retro pop image par excellence when pop was still innocent).

Interestingly this eclectic strand of DNA made for a novelty patchwork of fashion which rendered good homage to its purported mission statement that the ‘bad taste of today is the good taste of tomorrow’, which perhaps should have more appropriately read that the ‘bad taste of yesterday is like the good taste of today’ but hey, it pretty much matched very well the precise and indicative words in French from the press release which we don’t want to withhold from you: That the style of the LPF collection represents a ‘nonchalance étudiée’ – a form of studied nonchalance (bingo), carried by what can only be described as an L.A. MAN (not an L.A. Woman although the reference bears a point in case) of yesteryear – who perchance likes to go on ‘noctambules en balade à l’orée du jour, sur les longues avenues d’un Los Angeles circa Nineties’ – get this as per the press release – on night-walks at the break of dawn along the long avenues of Los Angeles around the nineties.  Wow!  Hence the slippers and PJ pants. And who will undoubtedly be very lucky not to get shot or arrested while never returning home.

Let’s call the LPF style L.A.:  A study in the REDUX and FLUX of pop-culture; pulp fiction in fashion.

That’s not to say though that this collection does not breathe some serious style or class.  You MUST know therefore that for the LPF collections only the very best and precious materials are being used (alpaca, cashmir, fleece, etc.), that the sourcing is state of the art, and that items are made either in France, Scotland, Italy, or Japan, and that yes that you can even notice the effects thereof by simply looking at the pictures – it shows in the colors and in materials coming out much better and brighter. Add to that that the simplicity of the styles on display and it will make the LPF menswear very universal and timeless, and all of a sudden the pop-culture ‘méli-mèlo’ (mix) is all but forgotten and substituted for some serious French style. Probably precisely WHY Lucien Pellat – Finet (we’ll call him LPF to popularize his name) was honored by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture to be the Opening Act (first show on the fashion calendar in the new year) in a series of French fashion weeks to have kicked off and which has officially commenced today Wednesday January 18, 2017.

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Words by Sandro and photos from Lucien Pellat–Finet.

It is indeed a fitting a closure for Paris Fashion Week this summer to end with the latest Agnès b. collection pour homme as she is the grand old dame herself who has been setting the standard, if not the tone, for many things, and not in the least in fashion for men in France and beyond. Thus it behooves us to carefully translate from the French the few words she wrote to tell of her inspiration for the collection SS17, as they are meaningful:

So, the Parisien …

Cynical, gentle, mischievous, crazy, with a critical mind and on principal – revolutionary. Perhaps he always has a certain sober elegance …, but always makes charm of mistakes or flaws, and puts a personal touch on the way to wear clothes, so simple, that by the cut and the color alone they become beautiful.  – Agnès b.

Voilà!  This SS17 collection in all its variety is as good and as beautiful as ever, so not much more remains to be said as we are closing this Paris Fashion Week Homme for the summer of 2016, a long and crazy summer so far, revolutionary indeed, but leaving you in the good hands of Agnès b. and of course in style and with elegance – a certain sober elegance …

As a small bonus in the pictures below, please know that Agnès often works with guest designers who are asked to partake in the runway shows. We are sure that you can spot the one cowboy on the runway which is the work of designer Adrien Beau.

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Posted by Sandro and photos by Agnès b press.

Sean Suen has been doing runway shows since 2012 Beijing SS13, but this was the very first one in Paris. The place Vendôme was a good choice because we can squarely state here that this was the best menswear show of the week. Despite all the hype, swag, and name that some of the other brands make in Paris across the board, this one delivered. And it proves why young designers from the East today are second to none. Aye, they are probably the best! We should remember humbly that China has a tradition and a history that goes back 5000 years, and that therefore sartorial knowledge and know-how has been there ever since maybe only to explode today – in the age of 24 hours 7/7 fashion.

Just check your fashion radar. And put Sean Suen in your next calendar for this show was loaded, solid, and swinging. In our last cover of him we said his work to have a style of chic-urbain de grande classe – a high class urban chic. But that was when we only had a chance to admire his work hanging from the racks in a showroom. So yes grand class, but just put the man on the runway for a minute and what you will witness is an upcoming star designer. He is going to go really far and we could imagine a famous brand asking Sean Suen to become their lead and anchor. He is THAT good. But he may as well stay with himself.

Elegance mixes flawlessly with the latest materials and fabrics. Style and class seems to come effortlessly. Sean Suen sets a mighty high standards for today for what defines chic for men in contemporary society. And it is not as if it is not edgy as in like Givenchy, which always produces the same. No, on the contrary the Sean Suen SS17 collection breathes freshness, power, and something which we will call the contempt of beauty. For that’s what beauty does. It re-designs in its brutal favor all other things which are not as beautiful to second row, second rate, and second hand.

Sean Suen, welcome to Paris! Vous êtes bienvenue.

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Sean Suen press.

Despite the non-conformist and rebellious inspirations of Christian Dada aka Masanori Morikawa from Japan, this show manages – as it always seems to do – some refreshing element of class or even elegance. Thus it is often interesting to the neutral fashion observer to see that no matter how hard some designers try to deliver a coup of social critique or a dose serious deconstruction, that time and again their creations end up being, well – just swag – stylish and beautiful thereat. And that is really a compliment to the sartorial arts despite that not all designers can pull this off.

But Christian Dada can.

As last time in winter there was a BDSM theme woven into the signature of the CD show, this time around the inspiration came from, and I quote the press release:

Peace, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Love, Life, Paradox, Uniform, Jimi, Dark-side, Poetic, Earthquake, Gun, Police, The Smiths, Insignia, Decadent, Deconstruction, Construction, Imperfect, Perfect.

The artist himself calls his style ‘decadent yet sophisticated’ and he may very well have a point, but here at BDMOTP what we are interested in if we can discover any serious class beneath his dark-side, or any serious elegance beneath his deconstructive sophistication. And we think we can.

For the Palais de Tokyo is a classy venue in Paris for a show. And the Japanese silk weaving in the fabrics is marvelous. So are the different dyes of black in which the Japanese are masters. And some of the jackets and coats are fit for gentlemen. So as anti-conformist or decadent as this collection may purport to be, it still has some serious and undeniable constructive sophistication or class indeed. It’s even got swag! And this must be the talent of the designer to create which in the end wins it from his drive to destroy.

Class.

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Christian Dada press.

Can we say that Barnabé Hardy did it again? Well, to be fair, he does it every time and it is the reason that Carven remains perhaps the classiest Urban Chic menswear brand on the block for some time now. Somehow our favorite Carven designer always knows how to capture the latest trend of light and comfortable elegance in his creations, whether that be winter or summer, spring or fall, retro or new – while keeping perfectly intact the brand’s signature and DNA. It’s quite an accomplishment really to do this year in year out season in season out because it may very well never be easy to find new inspiration, whether that be for us in words when we write about it and try to describe his creations, or whether that be for Carven to think of the next shape, color, form, pattern, and design for the latest collection.

So for SS17 we witness that typical French easy going traveler’s look, très decontracté – very relaxed, very casual, and very carefree. For the sporty man who likes to go in style and class and who leaves the city but who likes to travel light for a weekend trip to some other city – perhaps from Paris to Naples, or Barcelona or Cannes. Light pastel colors that make you blend in with the clouds in the sky, an easy belt pack on your waist rather than a heavy backpack, no socks of course, and those luxurious items only to be found at Carven made especially for you – trekking Jesus sandals, deck shoes, or summer fringed boots. It’s hybrid footwear and heavily personalized – or so it feels.

BDMOTP was at the presentation on the rue de Turenne in Paris which is really the center for men’s tailoring and sales in the city. The show was well attended and was staged – as is so often the case in an old industrial loft setting – with bouncy rubber curtains running from the floor to the ceiling so that the models were not just able to walk, but also able to lightly dance and move and bounce against the curtain – like playful birds – so as to emphasize the lightness of the summer inspirations of the SS17 collection. New menswear was worn loosely and not tightly. An atmosphere easy-going, relaxed, and very casual – the stuff of summer dreams. Yet chic and elegance will always pervades at Carven, no matter the moment.

Carven SS17, casual traveler chic for the summer of …

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Carven press.

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