OPINION: My Favourites from Paris Fashion Week Menswear AW20

Now that my year has finally settled, I’m slowly progressing through all the fashion weeks I’ve missed and putting in the time to view the collections and throw out there into the universe my opinion on all the threads.It’s unlikely I’ll feature all designers and it’s certainly unlikely I will feature all the designers you’re particularly fond of. I just hope if we have a difference in opinion it doesn’t leave a sour taste in our mouths. Please feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section below the post. I’m always eager to engage in dialogue.

Without any further ado… Here’s my take on what I like from the Autumn/Winter (Fall/Winter) 2020 Menswear Collections at Paris Fashion Week.

ALYX Studio

If you glanced through images of me at events, you certainly wouldn’t say I have an appreciation for the understated, restrained and polished in fashion. Which is probably why most people don’t get to see me on an everyday basis. Black, grey, white; those are my foundational colours. My building blocks. Strong, angular shoulders, lengthy arms, nipped waists, slim legs and tapered hemlines are then factored in as the cement, ceiling and roof of my style. Add a statement accessory such as a bold hat (or hairstyle) and a gorgeous clutch and you have the garden and security gate of my style house.

So it was not surprising when I kept going over and over Alyx’s menswear offering at Paris Fashion Week (PFW) when I came about it. Matthew Williams has always had a good eye for detail, as finessed taste for structure and undoubtedly a die-hard obsession for technique. All of which are great, because now that fashion is swinging its dick back the other way around, flimsy fitting clothes because ‘we’re all about volume right now’ just won’t cut it. We’re interested in being courted by form-fitting men’s attire that leaves plenty to be desired. It also doesn’t hurt that Williams’ ethos includes working with sustainable fabrics and connecting tech with human emotion.

Follow 1017-ALYX-9SM on Instagram via @alyxstudio.

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Acne Studios

As a disclaimer, I’ve never considered myself the Acne Studios target market, so looking through their Paris Fashion Week Menswear presentation I was a little bemused. Couldn’t pin it down to whether it was because parts of the collection reminded me of other designers such as Jenevieve Lyons, or if it really was somewhat of a fragmented collection. Anyhoo, far removed from the basics, denims and staples easily found here in South Africa, the presentation had some really great outerwear moments.

I also enjoyed the extra length jumpers, textured layering and inclusion of snake print – which doesn’t seem to be fearing extinction any time soon. There was also a cycling shorts pants suit ensemble that called out my name. Essentially, I’m a firm believer specific looks resonated with my dramatic disposition, giving Acne Studios a fair standing in my books that I may very well fall in love with their look on active daywear. 

Follow Acne Studios on Instagram via @acnestudios.

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Ludovic de Saint Sernin

Okay. So I can’t decide if I’d prefer to be a vampire and own this collection or be the Head of Wardrobe on the set of a vampire flick set in apocalyptic earth 3050. Either way, the sultriness of the fabrics, the seductive flow of the cuts and the flirtatious formation of the garments has me wishing I had places to be that required very little dressing up.

I’m here for the cinched coats that seemingly flow into pants, the accent furs add a measure of glamour and vogue, superfine knits in extra length suggest weekends of lux series binging, blushing daywear means if I have to go out I at least don’t have to look as dated to the trip as I feel, and if that’s not enough – a crimson coat with a silver snake-weave belt is plenty ‘stranger danger’ to scare off randoms who think they have the right to speak to me in public just because they recognise my face. Essentially, I’m here for this collection and all its storytelling.

Follow Ludovic de Saint Sernin on Instagram via @ludovicdesaintsernin.

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dunhill London

dunhill London’s PFW AW20 offering is by far their most dynamic collection – in my opinion. It’s a breathtakingly poised shifted into a time where the dunhill London man is younger, much more adventurous and has extended his personal tastes to include elements outside the confides of British territory without losing any of the royal heritage the brand is formidably known for. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this collection was a evidence fabricated in response to Brexit.

There’s volume in structure or is that structure in the volume, that gives this modern man an edge and an eclectic mix of prints and textures; it’s somewhat reminiscent of 60s-70s punk rock in the UK, polished off with some major European sensibility. The dark and mystique-like colour palette lends itself to conforming to everyday workwear ideals for a young professional whose role and responsibility in his career is not hindered by his taste in fashion and sense of personal style.

Follow dunhill London on Instagram via @alfreddunhill.

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Sacai

#Argh I died a simpleton death when scrolling through this collection. I’m weary to blame it all on its militarism and utilitarian outlook, but, I also can’t deny it. Like a troop of fashion soldiers dispatched to reign in society back to its stylish ways, the collection presents plenty of moments where layering up or down would do just perfectly. The technical capabilities of Sacai provide a collection that can easily embody both your physical body and your personality.

With great colour splashes, in solid, print or spot doses, the collection gives us pieces that can be worn separate from the full look with other staples in your wardrobe, added to highlight your grey suit when en route to work or even don as is for a statement making moment at an event or somewhere inconspicuous over the weekend. Sacai’s language of engaging the wearer and the viewer is evident in this collection and its heartwarming to see an affinity to human connection, something so soft and sensitive, being displayed in the addition of gorgeous neck accessories made of precious metal rings, interlocked to create chains, reflective of that personal connection we so eagerly desire.

Follow Sacai on Instagram via @sacaiofficial.

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Loewe

I must admit, I have a soft spot for Loewe and Jonathan Anderson has yet to fail me. It was charming to swift through the visuals of this collection stemming from Anderson’s desire to make men feel pretty with a magical wardrobe that can transform them into any character they desire. Consider utilitarian elements juxtaposed with evening wear nuances, delivered in fine knits and weaves against a backdrop of chunky landscapes and you have the hybrid that is Loewe’s AW20 men’s collection at Paris Fashion Week.

I’m stanning the details: shrunken shoulders giving garments an updated shape, double breast coats in double-knit wools for added luxury, thick embroidery borders to create graphic silhouettes on outerwear, elongated shirts and tunics for lazy opulence drifting towards dreamscape holidays and not to (forget to) mention the crystal-emblazoned thick-knit jerseys-I mean, these jerseys are to men what tiaras are to pageant entrants. It’s a gorgeous escapade of fun, flirt and form.

Follow Loewe on Instagram via @loewe.

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Dior Men

Whimsical magic. An abundance of happiness. Beauty in its purest form. Controlled splendour. Tactile textures. Romantic. Just some ways of describing the lewks served to fashion society by Kim Jones for his Paris Fashion Week AW20 collection for Dior Men. As I repeatedly obsess over the presentation visuals, I can’t help but playback Roy Orbison Jr.’s ‘Pretty Woman’ in my head – because, wow – the lyrics are appropriate for how anyone will feel when walking down the street in these ensembles.

There are light hearted motifs and accessories on caps, hats, blazers and coats blended gently in with strict silhouettes and offset with charms off belt loops and bags in various shapes and sizes. The palette, although muted, shares accentuated highlights on collars and the inside lining of jackets and coats. It’s like witnessing the epitome of an international embracing his Parisian routes through the exploration of heritage nuances in modern times. 

Follow Dior Men on Instagram via @dior.

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Valentino

O Valentino, Valentino, wherefore art thou Valentino? Deny thy streetwear and refuse thy hypebeast; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and we’ll no longer be blind to thy.

Oh, we are so very happy that Valentino has taken the turn for the best in menswear by returning to the art of refined tailoring, extremely polite elegance and severe bromance. Of course the return to structure and integrity didn’t come with absolutely no street style influence, but, it was pared enough to keep us happy. With a foundational colour palette within the monochrome stable, dashes of the last of spring and summer protruded thanks to thoughtful details.

Maison Valentino presented a great holistic collection that provides pieces for every experience for every man from partaking in indoor indulgences to exploring the great, adventurous outdoors. Jungles concrete or otherwise would benefit sincerely from this presentation of transitional pieces juxtaposed against set staples for the season. Fabrics are tactile, prints are romantic, set pieces are structured and tapered and outerwear is privy its to duty and responsibility to serve and protect its wearer while retaining a high-end status of style.

Follow Maison Valentino on Instagram via @maisonvalentino.

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Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh

I’m not sure where to start, so I guess a confession will do. I’ve never really followed the tales of Off-White, in particular because of its sports style heritage and then the overwhelming hype the brand gets from anyone – it was just too much to consume. Now that I’ve taken a peek into the Paris Fashion Week collection, I’m starting to sense a change upon me with regards to my stance to Off-White as a brand.

Apart from this collection being the only one, by far-in my opinion, the most visibly evident of a brand moving forward and evolving into a new chapter in its life, it also happens to be a collection from start to finish that presents looks and pieces alike that serve the guy on the group in all aspects of his active life. Today’s affluent young professional wants to be slick at work while able to easily transform into something more street cultured later for beers with the guys. And should he need to step it up for ‘Date Night’ this collection will not fail him and his street cred will remain intact.

Aptly titled, ‘Tornado Warning’, the collection shows the designers beginning steps into finer tailoring for a more refined, suited look. Perhaps this is the calm before the storm, when the serving will be a fully-blown formal spectacle.

Follow Off-White on Instagram via @off____white.

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