Monsieur Lacenaire is quality French menswear brand which has been making high-end urban streetwear since 2011. In the SS17 collection, for which we visited the presentation you can see here below, the general theme was dubbed La Flânerie Parisienne, which translates as a Parisian stroll. Are you the type who likes loitering (not a crime in Paris), strolling, sauntering, lounging, dawdling, moseying, or loafing about – then indeed you would be welcome in Paris as this is one of the most Parisian of all qualities – provided you understand the art of conversation of course – and if you know how to dress well and present yourself properly. Thus enter Monsieur Lacenaire to dress you for summer so you will feel comfortable, youthful, sporty, and of course decontracté – which means easy-going or just relaxed.

So indeed this must be the first time that BDMOTP had witnessed a presentation where the theme was based upon the simplicity of what is called REST. Rest in a chair. Lounge away. Take a seat. Don’t hurry. And of course, if you want to, lay down. In Monsieur Lacenaire of course.

So how did designer Brecht Evans from Belgium express this very simple yet interesting theme for the brand? Well, as all Parisians know who love their city parks, there are two parks in particular which are more beautiful than all others in the city, and that is because they were formed and shaped by André le Nôtre himself – le Jardinier du Roi, the gardener of the king. And as it so happens these two gardens are very well kept and still exist in their original state, one being the Jardin de Luxembourg in front of the French senate, the other one les Jardins des Tuileries in front of the Louvre. Indeed these two are virtual enclaves and enclosures of REST in what is otherwise a bustling sprawling and busy metropolis.

So Brecht Evans went to the Jardin de Tuileries and took the dreamy image of the boats that are floated there daily by kids in the central pond of the park; he took the image of the lounge chairs that are standing all around in these gardens freely for people to take a rest or a break; and aye, he took on the pastel colors which summer clouds bring when kids play about in these parks. And that is in all its simplicity the central theme of this quality collection for Monsieur Lacenaire SS17.

Rather remarkably this Proustian reverie and dream world indeed still exists today even in the age of terrorism – so thank god! Toy boats gently floating on the waves of the pond. Gazing at the summer clouds. A small amusement park for the children not far off in the Tuileries. Flowers. More clouds. More flowers. Beautiful ladies trotting the terraces. People chatting and talking. Birds flying carelessly about. Stretched out lawns where it is not forbidden to sit. Patchwork shirts and linen trousers we wear, we are young and care free, and we have no worries. We lounge, loiter, and walk about telling our friends whatever comes to mind. In Monsieur Lacenaire of course, a quality menswear for those à la recherche of the quality of life du temps perdu.

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Monsieur Lacenaire press.

One of the issues with young designers is that often they are excellent in design and in the sartorial arts, but that they are quite confused about where their inspiration for their beautiful creations may come from. Or perhaps that they know it very well, but that they do not always know how to express it in words precisely.

Thus Valentin and Florentin Glemarec – two young Parisian brothers who studied Fine Arts at the Ecole du Louvre – presented us with a formidable ICOSAE show with some real serious swag and some real serious quality, but which left us questioning the show press release as seriously confusing. But that is fine, as with time will come those words that fit the story you want to tell in arts. In any art.

A few clear signatures are nevertheless already visible within the work, and two of them are mentioned on the ICOSAE web page as inspiration. The two brothers believe in deconstruction, which of course is a very Parisian thing, but meanwhile they also believe that the original traditional look needs to be preserved so as continue the look, the brand, and the image – if not the style.  And this is precisely what we see, when you notice on the runway the open and torn shoulders in the classic jackets and coats, the open cuts on different colors in the pants, the extra belts and strings, all set inside an original look that anyone would recognize, but deconstructive just the same.

The net effect, therefore, is very urban, very cosmopolitan, not precisely chic, but elegant nevertheless. We used to have rock chic, and this sells quite a bit to larger crowds who like streetwear – think Diesel or Philippe Plein, but the ICOSAE work is much more elegant and indeed much more URBAIN, in that you can wear it after a ballroom fight, and not before an ordinary fight in a bar. In fact, let’s take that back that it is not chic and call it chic-punk for gentlemen and not for boys who like to play; a sartorial art fit for an interview with the vampire or for some strictly urban pirate’s dream.

In short, this was a very satisfying show, despite the brutal heat – which was largely absorbed by the earth and the grass that had been laid into a 16th arrondissement loft in the form of an actual lawn fit & ready for lawn bowling, croquet, or perhaps even some tennis, but upon wish the models felt quite comfortable.

ICOSAE, so very Parisian pirate urban chic on a summer afternoon. In English just say swag!

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Posted by Sandro and photos by ICOSAE press office.

 

Acne studios indeed is well known for its highly stylized precision and accuracy, and this time around with creative director Jonny Johansson in charge it proved no different: Summers in Sweden are apparently empty and often rainy and seeking shelter one would need a tent or some waterproof cloth which is easily foldable and practical, so there we have the main inspiration for this deliciously provocative summer collection – Nordic minimalism bordering on the scandalous. Wear your tent as a parka or a poncho over your head before taking naked to the lake or the open air sauna – but aye, you are still going to need your rubberized guru slippers to walk over there. And probably a towel. Cap this off with a nice baseball hat against the sun and let your hair flow freely over your shoulders. Smell the good old scent of birch wood perhaps and take a dip. Then drape your poncho or parka back over your body and slip into something comfortable resembling old tablecloth but finely knitted and stitched. Something like made of silk anorak or with striped cotton poplin. Eat some raw fish on crackers.

The Nordic summer fashion dreamland from nature back to home and from home back to nature. Be properly equipped. It is the Nordic equivalent of the Mediterranean look that is so well adopted and so much copied: The day at the beach! The day in the woods at the lake! And best of all: Privacy and no sunglasses needed. Only at Acne Studios.

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Posted by Sandro and photos from Acne Press Office.

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.

Je n’ai pas eu le cœur de présenter une mode fantaisiste, ludique, cocasse… mais plutôt des vêtements simples, élégants, sobres, comme nous essayons tous de l’être aujourd’hui, dans notre vie quotidienne de parisien

I did not have the heart to present a superficial, playful, and funny collection… but rather simple, elegant and sober clothes, the way we are all trying to be today in our Parisian daily life.

(signed Agnès B in the program notes from the show, thereby becoming the one designer at Paris Fashion Week Homme to make reference to the terrorist attacks on Paris back in November both in word as well as in her creations)

That 20’s milkman look (notice the pencil behind the ear)

That 20’s milkman look (notice the pencil behind the ear)

By far the best show we covered during Paris fashion week, this show was an homage to France and to style for men per se as we know it from the sober and distant past. It has a New York or Chicago feel from the twenties and the thirties where you expect a newspaper boy with a Gatsby casquette to appear in order to sell a freshly printed Tribune to a man who looks like Dick Tracy or, hey, why not Dillinger. It breathes class, distinction, quality, character and timelessness.

Whoever said that best of man’s fashion was to be found in Milan? For if this is the future of menswear in France, this return to the sober past of functionality and style will herald a new era in style pour homme: The milkman, the newspaper boy, the accountant, the lawyer, the scholar, the sailor, aye, the journalist – functional all in character, and impeccably dressed by Agnès B. Dandies please not apply.

The idea was always that mode pour homme in France should always come as chic – like, let’s say, as in Givenchy, or Saint Laurent. But now here comes Agnès B with a serious challenge to the global pre-conception that good times will last forever and that we are always entitled to our chic and our success. No, indeed we are not, and Agnès B, either willfully or intuitively, brings us back down to earth with the most functional, practical and most basic of styles for men. The style of the art of functionality and character from the men of yore who knew where was their place and position in society, and what was expected from them. A style for men who do not aspire too much. Or want too much. For men who like to stay calm and keep things simple but classy. This is the functionality and sobriety of a style which can only be compared to that what people must have lived in London in the forties during the Blitz.

And then on a separate and final note in the collection on the runway Agnès B suddenly makes an homage to La France by allowing for a cameo appearance of traditional French dress during revolutionary times. You will be able to find three pictures in the slideshow below.

Vive la résistance!

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Posted by Sandro and photos by Mous.

White Mountaineering Caption

We were not familiar with White Mountaineering so we like to introduce the brand by a quote from a recent interview with a fashion magazine by White Mountaineering designer Yosuke Aizawa from Japan which will tell you a lot about what you need to know in order to get this brand:

“I like to snowboard and when I snowboard I want to look good.”

Indeed White Mountaineering can be said to be making what is called ‘technical outerwear’ and the designer’s roots in loving outerwear and outdoor street wear comes part from growing up in the city while always going camping and exploring outdoors, which when you combine the two comes to stand for urban outdoor street wear, especially when you also must know that White Mountaineering by now is pretty famous for its collaboration with Adidas in making some super cool designer sports shoes these days (only three pairs per collection exists and each pair holds the name White Mountaineering & Adidas together in the logo).

As we mentioned earlier during Paris FW, those type of sporty super cool street designer shoes-slash-sneakers are one of the hottest items on the man’s fashion market of the young and the hip today, and the models on the runway at the Palais de Tokyo here in Paris are wearing the latest items in this genre of collection as proof (although not the Adidas ones).

Thus the brief press release AW16/17 calls the White Mountaineering collection urban outdoor work wear which in a way is a contradiction in terms as to the word ‘urban’ because the models are parading all types of lumber jackets, wood logger coats, and Cherokee pattern inspired parkas, sweaters, and blanket-capes, even hoodies, which is a rather new twist on what the urban dictionary would purport to hold dear as to what is outdoor style or fashion.

But perhaps that we should look it in this way, that when you take all those outdoorsy motifs, designs, and patterns from the mountains, the rivers, and the lakes, and you put them on a local skateboard gang, then you will have created a new urban style, a new urban wave:  Folks, in one sentence, White Mountaineering is Shaun White coming down from the ski slopes and the mountains and turning into Danny Way, street style and all, on super cool Adidas Hip Hop White Mountaineering footwear.

So come on now, you skaters and other young urban pioneers and explorers – you are too sexy, too sexy for your sweater, and too sexy for your sporty shoes …

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Posted by Sandro and photos by Monika Majewska.

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