| Jessica Camille Aguirre |
PARIS (dpa) – Sitting in a cafe near the Ecole des Beaux-Arts after the Lanvin haute couture men’s fall-winter 2015 fashion show recently, two male models compared notes.
Fresh-faced and slim, the models talked about how to find inexpensive lodging as they travelled and who among their acquaintances was doing what. At one point, one turned to the other and asked if he was planning to return to university.
Yes, came the reply, and the other contemplated it. The boys were university age, as models often are – that is, until recently.
The fashion world has made a distinct move toward celebrating style icons of all ages in recent months, and it’s become increasingly en vogue to recruit brand emissaries from surprising parts of society. Most recently, 80-year-old literary titan Joan Didion became the face of Celine.
If the past week is any indication, the trend could soon start making more regular appearance on the runways. From Lanvin to the Versace show, in which 41-year-old model Eva Herzigova modelled a red dress adorned by actress Kate Hudson, a wider array of models belied the preponderance of youthfulness.
But paradoxes abounded during the first week; if Versace’s contoured dresses and cutout curves were redolent of old-school Hollywood glamour, many of the men’s shows seemed caught between a classic conservatism and a shiny future.
At Dior Homme recently, designer Kris Van Assche described his season’s concept as conflagration of the two. “I started with an idea of the sartorial with hyper-formality of the evening tail suit and the dinner suit,” Van Assche told Hint magazine. “Here, I wanted to bring formality into the world of the technical and utilitarian, to produce a techno-sartorial collection.”
This instinct was clear not only in the clothes – whimsical takes on the tuxedo, dense and impeccably tailored floor-length coats, layers of denim, accents of shearling and neon piping – but also in the presentation: the show began when a black curtain rose on a line of musicians in the middle of the runway, who accompanied an electronic beat by composer Koudlam with violins and trumpets.
The show’s theatricality was matched by Thom Browne’s show, which took mourning attire as its inspiration.
The effect, not at all macabre but rich with references, made for stunning silhouettes underscored with delicate embroidery and rich lace.
At Lanvin, the mood was a bit more fresh if still rooted in classicism – blowing the suit to just slightly oversized, or bringing the waist up on a pair of elegant slacks for an entirely new effect.
Designer Alber Elbaz told reporters he had been exploring questions of functionality and provocation, but the show represented neither lack of vision nor a clinging to safety – each look appeared to be capable of formality and playfulness at the same time, with floor-grazing shawls and fur, leather or snakeskin accents paired with sombre prep school palettes.