Thursday, July 25, 2024

Paris Fashion Week: men don their suits again at Walter Van Beirendonck, LGN, Kenzo

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Translated by

Nicola Mira


Jun 20, 2024

The suit will undoubtedly be next summer’s stand-out garment. Refashioned with creativity, and reinterpreted in all manners of styles, suits are a staple of every runway show. They were especially prominent on Wednesday, the second day of the Paris Fashion Week Men’s Spring/Summer 2025 shows, featuring the sensual elegance of LGN Louis Gabriel Nouchi, the vibrant exuberance of Walter Van Beirendonck, and Kenzo’s laid-back chic.

Walter Van Beirendonck,Spring/Summer 2025 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

“We’re better off having a laugh about it,” seems to be the message Walter Van Beirendonck is sending with his new collection, amusing, flamboyant and warm. Van Beirendonck, an ethical designer who champions non-violence and isn’t afraid to speak out, has observed that in today’s world “everything seems to be overly dramatic.” In the face of the extremism and the conflicts that are rocking our planet, he invited his audience to step forward, believing “that anything we do can make a difference.” In his introductory note, he said that “this way of thinking has led me to the idea of the clown. A familiar figure at once happy and sad, who tries to reconcile a circus’ conflicting aspects.”

The clowns in Van Beirendonck’s Spring/Summer 2025 collection charged on wearing spiked rubber shoes, maxi-check trousers and jackets decorated with giant, fluorescent polka dots. Carrying amusing little bags, they also sported miniature pointed headgear, sometimes stuck to the tip of the nose or, in a donkey’s ears version, on the top of their heads. The gang of clowns, clad in wacky, garish outfits bursting with a cheerful hodgepodge of checks, frills and assorted protrusions, strolled around the flower-bordered lawns of the Pharmacy Faculty’s garden, under the stern eye of Léon Guignard, who taught at the university between 1887 and 1927, and whose bust, half-hidden by the vegetation, sits near the botanic laboratory.

The angry cawing of the garden’s ravens was smothered by a throbbing funfair refrain, while Van Beirendonck’s crew marched on with a sad smile, despite being decked out in colours both vibrant and tender, infused with a breath of freshness and even candour. Madras and gingham fabrics in blue and candy pink collided with swathes of orange and vivid green. The theme of the collection’s prints was the plush toy, bunnies and teddy bears with Kalashnikovs instead of arms.
Everything was voluminous but also lightweight, almost floaty, for example the shirt and trousers covered in sky-blue threads, like thin shaggy hair. A lightness that was emphasised by an array of see-through items made in sheer tulle, nylon and other high-tech fabrics, which the Belgian designer used to fashion shirts, shorts and polka-dot trousers, as well as a series of amazing flesh-coloured, totally transparent sweaters. To give an airier feel to the looks, jackets and shirts are slashed at the armpits, letting the arms slip out of the sleeves.
The last part of the collection consisted of a succession of jigsaw-style looks with oversize jackets, coats and trousers in faux suede, in a more traditional palette of white, grey, navy, black and beige. Finally, Van Beirendonck presented various jeans, a small top and oversized dungarees, all of them seamless. The garments, glued together and welded with red tape, have been jointly developed with Dutch denim brand G-Star Raw. A collaboration that spawned an experimental capsule collection launched on Thursday June 20.

LGN Louis-Gabriel Nouchi, Spring/Summer 2025 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The mood was sultry and sensual at LGN Louis Gabriel Nouchi, its new collection inspired by Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Capturing the essence of scents and fragrances, as they are described in many passages of the novel, and transposing them into garments, is no mean feat. Nouchi has opted to render these olfactory sensations, often highly evocative, by means of fabrics, for example a linen jacquard hinting at the texture of human hair.
“I’ve worked on menswear’s essentials thinking about primal instincts like desire, bestiality and violence. These instincts live within us, and I have expressed them, for example, by means of long vertical slits, like those in Fontana’s artworks,” said Nouchi, winner of the ANDAM Prize exactly a year ago, speaking to
Black was the show’s dominant colour, featured in some 30 total looks that included impeccably cut suits, and darted trousers matched, alternatively, with a tank top, a see-through shirt languidly unbuttoned to the navel, or a polo with a plunging neckline. An elegant four-pocket parka was worn over a pair of biker shorts, while silk pyjamas sported a pinstripe motif. A few looks in maroon and white cropped up elsewhere in the collection.
Leather was the signature material, used for the bulk of the looks: generously cut shorts and trousers in glossy leather, jackets in worn leather, and tops, skirts and longline tunics made with assembled leather strips. “We’ve worked extensively with leather, especially in ultra-saturated versions, with ECCO.kollektive, formerly At.kollektive,” said Nouchi. The label presented another collaboration, with Puma, for which LGN has re-designed the iconic Mostro model. Also in the pipeline for Nouchi, a partnership with the Almine Rech gallery and artist Sasha Ferré.

Kenzo, Spring/Summer 2025 – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Kenzo too put the accent on suits, but with a more nonchalant, sportswear vibe, and a marked streetwear attitude. Japanese designer Nigo staged his sixth show for the LVMH-owned label at the heart of the gardens of the Palais-Royal, where the models stepped around the gardens’ central fountain, the ground around it covered in golden sand.
Nigo has delved into Kenzo Takada‘s archives, as signalled by two trench coats with a long strip of dark fabric dangling down the front, inscribed with the words ‘Kenzo Paris 1970’. The collection blended the Japanese heritage of Kenzo’s founder and its current creative director, with the label’s Parisian spirit, evident in a yellow mesh sweater and in a black jacket both featuring a design of the Eiffel Tower set amidst cherry trees in bloom. The drawings are by graphic designer Verdy.
For next summer, Nigo is celebrating nature with a series of looks in green and with printed jungle motifs, featured on various suits. But Kenzo’s suits are worn with a streetwear vibe, over openwork fishnet sweaters decorated with patches made with pearls and all kinds of metal bits, or over hoodies in the same mesh material, the face half-hidden by the hood.

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