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Dior SS21 menswear collectionPhotography Oscar Anderson

Let’s get phygital: everything you missed from the Paris menswear shows

From Loewe’s ‘fashion show in a box’ to Kim Jones’ poignant collab with Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo

Is it just us, or is fashion feeling just a little bit confusing right now? Never mind the fact many of us are still hunched like gargoyles over makeshift desks trying to make sense of the outside world as the coronavirus continues to hold it in its grasp (wear a mask, kids!), the digital shows are basically a free for all where SS21 menswear clashes with Couture, Paris and Milan have been flipped back-to-front, and Resort and Cruise collections are being dropped… well, wherever and whenever their creators feel like dropping them. 

One thing that’s remained constant across this wholly abnormal season, though, is the creativity shown by designers facing a whole new set of challenges in these most UnPrEcEdeNTeD of times. Locked down in cities across the globe, some of fashion’s biggest players have channelled uncertainty into multi-disciplinary projects that speak of the medium’s ability to transport us to another world. 

From Jonathan Anderson’s cute Loewe ‘fashion show in a box’, which dropped through editors’ letterboxes and invited them to get their craft-on, to Kim Jones’ highly anticipated follow up to that Judy Blame-inspired collection, fashion continues to flourish in new and unexpected ways – which we’ve rounded up as part of a handy guide to what went down at Paris Fashion Week’s first (and tbh probably only) digital outing. 

Stay tuned for Milan, coming soon.

LOEWE

Having previously debuted a fashion show in a box as part of London Fashion Week’s phygital (catchy, no?) outing, Jonathan Anderson revisited the idea when it came to his latest Loewe collection, with Instagram awash with gleeful editors’ uber-glam arrivals. This time around, gone were the dried flowers and positive mantra cards, and in their place were a series of fabric swatches, cut-out silhouettes of atelier staff, and paper dolls ready to be assembled into a teeny-tiny and incredibly wholesome kitchen table-top runway show – all housed in an uber chic, Loewe-emblazoned file we’re sure will take pride of place in no end of home offices from here on out. Alongside this ran a 24-hour festival curated by Anderson, in which the designer sat down to conversations with photographer (and frequent collaborator) Tyler Mitchell and actor Josh O’Connor, and invited musician Kindness to curate a series of live performances on the Spanish label’s IG channel. 

As for the clothes themselves, on the agenda for the new season were a succession of pleated and draped tunics presented in painterly washes of bold pinks, blues, and yellows, pieced-together kits that felt like they could have been home-spun, and dramatic overcoats with circular cut-outs or puffed-up sleeves, all in a palette of classic overcoat hues – think chic camel, deep bottle green, and monochromatic black and white.

Y/PROJECT



Though I’m definitely an advocate for the body positivity movement, there will never come a day when gazing upon Glenn Martins’ iconic janties won’t make me deeply regret not being born Linda Evangelista (FYI those are a cross between jeans and panties for the uninitiated). Drawing inspiration from iconic movie Dangerous Liaisons for SS21, this season the divisive garment was paired with an OTT bustier bolstered by dramatic puff sleeves, in a line-up comprising bold-shouldered leather trenches, ruched corsets with adjustable drawstrings, adidas popper-inspired pants, and the kind of XXXtra wide trousers kids who came of age in the early 00s would bemoan for sucking up an inordinate amount of water and sloshing around their legs awkwardly (but like, make them fashion). Debuted via a series of lo-fi lookbook-style images, the label also released a host of short video clips that showed the process that goes into getting the money shot.

BOTTER

Presenting via short film in which they talked of their responsibility as fashion designers to speak on the industry and its injustices, and voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, which gained momentum as their SS21 collection was coming together, Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter of Botter presented a series of understated, refined tailored styles, alongside the more artistic, thoughtfully avant-garde pieces they’ve become known for. Crisp white cotton trousers with a subtle coral-inspired print were finished with a string of cotton reels around one model’s neck, stray threads trailing across his chest, while baseball caps were embellished with delicate flowers. Poignantly, one reissued sweat reading ‘Do You See Us Now?’ was also among the offering: in words spoken to introduce the film, “As Botter, we stand-up and stand for the people” Rushemy explained.

DIOR

Though Kim Jones’ tenure at Dior has spanned just two years, the designer has already made a huge mark within the maison’s history, with his over-the-top, extravaganza-esque shows and (perhaps more importantly) his wildly brilliant vision when it comes to the future of menswear. Following on from

AW20’s emotional tribute to great friend and collaborator, stylist Judy Blame, this time around Jones turned his attention to another artist whose work he admires: rising Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, whose finger-painted figures and brushed emblems are seen across pieces from a significantly smaller collection than the designer’s last (no big surprise when you learn it came to fruition in his Notting Hill home during lockdown). 

Debuted via a short film in which Boafo and Jones discuss their mutual respect for each other’s work – soundtracked by Aphex Twin collaborator Chris Cunningham and directed by Jackie Nickerson – also revealed was the fact that, in place of royalties, Boafo requested money be invested into a foundation intended to support young artists in Accra, with Dior also making its own donation to the cause. 

BORAMY VIGUIER 

No stranger to finding unique and innovative ways to debut his esoteric collections is rising Paris-based designer Boramy Viguier, who cut his teeth at Lanvin before going it alone. Using deadstock material and working out of his tiny apartment in the French capital, Viguier put together an understated, utilitarian offering made up of vinyl croc-stamped overcoats and bomber jackets, boxy tailored shirts, clean, cropped trousers, and a succession of buckets hats, all crafted from deadstock materials and debuted via a trippy, infomercial-like film soundtracked by Viguier’s now-signature chanting. 

RICK OWENS

Rick Owens’ contribution to PFW’s digital edition was a short film in which he dressed Tyrone Dylan Susman in a new collection he’d named Phlegethon – after the boiling river of blood detailed in Dante’s Inferno, in case you’re wondering. With the collection made up of classic Owens styles including sharp-tailored wool coats, drop-crotch trousers, and a succession of more relaxed looks incorporating trackie tops and cropped trousers (as well as some pretty hun-tastic bubblegum-pink hi-tops), the understated film is soundtracked by meandering techno, punk anthems, and disco classics, as well as quiet chattering and the occasional cry of “Ugh, I love this look!!!” from Owens. All in all, it makes for pretty mesmerising viewing. 

HERMÈS

Conceived with theatre director Cyril Teste, Hermès’s men’s collection presentation was somewhere between a fashion film, photoshoot, and livestream. Presented live on the house’s website, the piece showed a backstage-esque area filled with models, who moved from space to space, followed by cameras as they went. Rather than focusing on recreating the glitz of the runway, the film was poetic but self aware, and deliberately unpolished. 

There’s been a lot of talk about how fashion, an industry so centred on people, connection, and the body, will adapt to a digital world. Here, it was easy; as in the house’s own production (where skilled artisans work crafting pieces by hand), the human touch was central. Models were gently guided to their places, or handed accessories to put on. Designer Veronique Nichanian was seen straightening up a jacket. With close-up details showing the kind of details you’d never catch on a runway, the film – described as a “live sculpture” by Hermès – acted as a tribute to the many, usually invisible hands who make fashion collections, and the shows that debut them, as magic as they are. 

GMBH

For SS21, GmbH used their spot on the digital Paris Fashion Week schedule to debut a short film by artist Lars Laumann. Telling the true story of LGBTQIA+ activist Eddie Esmail, who staged a fashion show in Sudan in 2010, Season of Migration to the North details his arrest, his journey to Norway, his application for asylum, and his attempt to settle in Oslo, where he struggled to fit in due to racist and religious oppression within the city’s gay community (which GmbH founders Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik, both immigrants based in Berlin, have faced themselves). 

The collection itself came about despite both Huseby and Isik being struck down with COVID-19 earlier this year, and utilised the few materials the two had available. The result is a refined but wholly GmbH offering made up of wool trenches, leather trousers, and shorts, silk shirts and flowing, button-down smocks, cut-out, close-knit sheath dresses, and understated tailoring in a palette of black and red punctuated with zips, studs, and flashes of scarlet red.