PARIS, France — Lucas Ossendrijver and his team are some of the most talented menswear designers in the business. That’s not necessarily to say that their place is to instigate game changing about-turns like, say, Mrs. Prada. However, as a weathervane for fashion’s zeitgeist, their work is some of the most refined and cerebral stuff out there. Today’s show took place in a curved white space dotted with a framework of tall, bright lights — sound pretty standard? Ossendrijver likened it to a garden — albeit an ascetic, monochrome one — and paraded models amongst his trees of light wearing garments peeling off in layers of ‘night forest’ camouflage and British tailoring. Their coats were pressed into creases at the back, finished with a rough hem and encrusted, at times, with the nylon and Velcro details more often found on a fireman’s safety gear than in high fashion.
Fabrication has always been Ossendrijver’s driving obsession and a subtle strong point to his oeuvre, and here the unlikely iterations of outdoor garments (worn over, under and around that suiting) were luxurious and intriguing, from the reflective silvered shearling to the geometric patterned "polar fleece" cut from ultra-soft cashmere. Despite discussions of fashion’s uplifting power backstage, the designer borrowed from Ovid for the season’s graphic message; the word "Someday" extracted from the melancholic quote “Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you”. By the looks of this triumph, Ossendrijver’s been listening to his own advice: as all thought of Lanvin’s recent woes dissolved away as these masterful designs marched by.