May 17, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
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This week we highlight the key denim looks to emerge from the Paris S/S 13 runway shows.
For S/S 13 inspiration, Phillip Lim looked to the practice of Mixed Martial Arts, a sparring technique combining elements of Japanese karate with Brazilian street fighting. The result was a collection achieving restrained simplicity and tough swagger all at once. The clothes took influence from authentic practice garments; crisp denim tees resembled karate uniforms, while baggy track pants like jeans had an urban edge. Severe bleach washes in off-white with rich indigo seam pooling punctuated the Zen effect, while clean batik-like block patterns resembled traditional Japanese norens.
Acne creative director, Jonny Johansson’s fourth ever menswear collection looked back to the foundations of the brand with clever ways of handling denim. According to the show notes, the theme was inspired by archival county prison looks, which were skillfully translated into sleek, lightweight denims and shredded and destroyed fabrics. Fitted jackets, baggy shorts stopping just below the knee and longer trousers opened the show in the brand’s typical dark blue or black denim. These were followed by cropped all-in-one’s that channeled classic prison jumpsuits, while off-beat tonal pairings had a uniform appeal. Playing heavily on the functional aspect of the collection’s theme, the clothes were straight-forward and wearable (as one would expect from the Acne label), and offered a practical yet directional mix of sleeveless denim tees, slouchy pants and collarless truckers.
After an 18 year-long break from Menswear, Issey Miyake returned as creative director this season with a tribute to washi, a centuries-old Japanese paper used to make clothes. In true Miyake form, the collection seamlessly merged hi-tech with tradition, as the material was manipulated to create knit, woven, and even water-repellent clothes. Silhouettes were substantially sporty — boxy tees, roomy shorts and anoraks were key items — and reflective details seemed inspired by the growing trend for cycling denim. The mostly black-and-white palette complemented the clean-cut lines, while the crisp washi-like chambray and coated denims injected a slick and sporty finish.
A pleasant denim surprise emerged from the luxury brand, Louis Vuitton this season. The menswear label (headed up by the directional and talented Kim Jones) often plays with a sporty edge to vamp up the premium designer pieces but the runway this season combined yachting references and active elements with a strong Japanese attitude. This brought authentic Boro patchwork textiles and Sashiko stitching techniques into the outfit options, currently a top surface trend for denim. Jones also reworked denim tops with beautiful kimono-inspired necklines, cementing a Japanese fisherman aesthetic.
Despite the strong 50s vacation vibe explored in his S/S 13 show, Bill Tornade presented a good selection of re-worked denim pieces in raw, deep indigos to sit alongside the summery fare. Photo-print palms and hot house Hawaiian repeats were grounded with a somber selection of core denim workwear pieces. The chore jacket featured prominently, as did a slimmed-down and smart worker pant with cuts sitting neat on the shoulder for a tailored, beatnik attitude.
Parisian brand No Editions explored crisp, conceptual denim styling for S/S 13. The brand used bias-cutting to create clean yet noticeable surface texture on jackets and shirts, including tailored jackets and mandarin collar tunics. We loved the elongated trucker shape for men, melding classic Western detailing with a chore coat length. Graphic color blocking came in the form of glossy tone-on-tone prints and also played with the diagonal line. The overall impression was sleek and modern for denim-on-denim looks.
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