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LONDON, United Kingdom — This menswear season, according to BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks, was all about escapism. Despite a tense political situation in the UK and the world at large, it seems designers’ activist instincts are being exercised elsewhere. “They seemed to be opting for fashion as a rejection, rather than a reflection,” he says. “I think that made for some extremely beautiful collections.”
One of his favourites was British label Craig Green, “menswear’s number-one reason to be cheerful right now.” The designer’s clothes, while complicated with challenging processes behind them, manage to strike the balance between conceptual and commercial that draws the industry in season after season.
Overall, this season’s stand-outs, however, showed in Paris, where a haute couture sensibility reflected on menswear, particularly at Dior Men and Louis Vuitton. Kim Jones’ collaboration with artist Daniel Arsham had an otherworldly effect. “It was almost like they were looking back at Dior Spring/Summer 2020 from the distant future, and recreating something from artefacts like Mr Dior’s telephone, Mr Dior’s clock, Mr Dior’s desk,” says Blanks.
Raf Simons’ first show for his namesake label following his departure from Calvin Klein felt like a reintroduction to his early golden years, and the “joy of being home” in Antwerp, and reintroducing himself to his constituency. Meanwhile, Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson was “talking about escape and romantic, young nomads,” in a collection that bought joy.
Menswear came to an end with a Grand Palais memorial that paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, in a variety show that included video testimonies, acting cameos and musical performances. “You’re sitting there and thinking,” Blanks says, “who else would the fashion industry do this for?”
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