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    Boom time for menswear as Paris Fashion Week returns

    PARIS (AFP) – The fashion juggernaut returns to Paris this week, with Saint Laurent rejoining the line-up and menswear on a hot streak, even if the industry remains wary of economic headwinds.

    The changing world of menswear is evident on red carpets around the world, where the likes of Timothee Chalamet and Harry Styles have helped redefine male style, ditching monochrome tuxedos in favour of daring outfits and bright colours.

    Just last week, Vogue declared that “the night belonged to menswear” at the Golden Globes, and stores have been reporting unprecedented growth in the sector for months.

    So the buzz is deafening around the menswear shows hitting Paris from today, boosted by the return of two big hitters in Saint Laurent on today’s opening night, and John Galliano’s Maison Margiela closing the week next Sunday.

    Saint Laurent has not presented a men’s show in the official calendar since Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello took the reins in 2016, preferring one-off appearances in exotic locations such as Marrakesh and Venice.

    In Milan last week – where fashion shows have not even finished as the industry caravan decamps for Paris – the talk was all about who would succeed flamboyant creative director Alessandro Michele at Gucci following his recent surprise departure. In Paris, the big unanswered question is who will take over at Louis Vuitton following the early death of Virgil Abloh in November 2021.

    Models present creations by Fendi during the Autumn-Winter 2023-2024 Men’s fashion show, as part of the Milan Fashion Week, in Milan on January 14. PHOTO: AFP

    The label got fashionista tongues wagging when it announced that Thursday’s show is being handled by wunderkind Colm Dillane, the man behind hot young Brooklyn label KidSuper – along with an accompanying film shot by French director Michel Gondry.

    While many are worried about the impact of possible recessions, tightening environmental regulations and inflationary costs, menswear is seen as a bright spot.

    “Saint Laurent, Gucci and Givenchy are working almost better in men’s than women’s at the moment,” said Director of Buying for Paris department store Galeries Lafayette Alice Feillard.

    “We’ve been seeing this exponential growth for two or three years… It’s really taking off,” she added.

    Even men’s undies are gaining ground on the female market.

    Male underwear was up 3.3 per cent in the first 10 months of 2022 to EUR400 million (USD435 million), against 2.5 per cent growth in women’s lingerie (to a still dominant EUR1.5 million), according to figures from the Salon International de la Lingerie, which is held in Paris this month.

    “Menswear has greatly evolved in recent years,” said luxury expert Serge Carreira of Sciences Po university.

    “It has created a major new field of expression, innovation and research for the houses.”

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