The consistent and the insistent: Thom Browne, Hood by Air, Diane von Furstenberg and Altuzarra, in New York
The inconsistency of New York infuriates some. I find it quite energising. It’s difficult to write off any designer on the New York schedule – you never know when they’re going to pull it out of the bag. Of course, there are a few constants. Shayne Oliver, a relatively recent addition, will challenge convention; the sickly cyclamen and Buck’s Fizz yellow kaftans of Diane von Furstenberg will not.
You sometimes get the feeling New York makes a meal out of its fashion week – a super-sized meal, in the grand American tradition. The city stages 300 shows, twice a year, in a week which crawls on for longer than Paris. Which in itself wouldn’t be a problem, only you question how much of it anyone really needs to see.
There hasn’t been much meat to get your teeth into this New York, but there’s been some gristle, the sort of stuff that catches in your gums and makes you pause mid chow-down.
Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015: Studious design lessons from Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Loewe, Thom Browne, Hermes
Perhaps it’s all the uniforms cropping up all over the place, or maybe it was Raf Simons’ opening gambit, glorifying his own university years on Wednesday evening, but there’s been a back-to-school feeling at the Paris menswear shows. Many editors share said feeling – bleary-eyed and pale under recently-acquired holiday tans, with shell-shocked expression as they launched into a fully-fledged fashion month barely a week into the new year. Amongst designers, generally, there’s a studious earnestness, to see ideas through, to cross t’s and dot i’s. But, alas, there hasn’t been much deep and meaningful.
If you ascend Paris’ Eiffel tower – say, during a free moment during the spring/summer 2015 menswear shows – you can look out on a vista relatively unchanged from the first day the tower was opened in 1889, of Baron Haussmann’s neoclassical façades and wide avenues. French law ensures that: Second Empire plans are in many cases more or less followed, with “alignement” law still in place to regulates a building’s height according to the width of the streets it borders. It’s fabulous for a sight-seer who gets to step back in time, almost. But many argue it’s choking the development of the city as a whole. Personally, I see a parallel with much of Paris fashion, where tradition can often choke creativity.
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