PARIS – Dior took over Paris’ iconic Place de la Concorde for a menswear show Friday whose theme was none other than the city of Paris itself.
Inside an annex, fashion editors joined a front row including Naomi Campbell to marvel at the heritage house’s spectacular decor. It created a near-life size Parisian bridge, replete with fake birds and fake water lapping underneath via plasma screen, just for the 15-minute collection.
Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2022 menswear displays.
DIOR’S CITY OF LIGHT
Paris Fashion Week is back from its virus-induced slumber. At least that was what some front-row fashion editors uttered upon seeing Dior's elaborate reconstruction of the Pont Alexandre III bridge, with its giant three-dimensional gilt-bronze horse statues and staff-holding nymphs that models had to duck underneath. Million-dollar sets like this have not been seen in seasons.
In pastel hues that reflected a winter morning, models snaked around the Parisian vista, past the iconic image of the Pont Neuf bridge and by the Musee d’Orsay — while a recording from house founder Christian Dior on the meaning of fashion echoed around the hall.
In fashion terms, the beret -- that archetypal Gallic symbol -- made a fall-winter comeback for British designer Kim Jones. This normally limp Parisian staple was reimagined in a structured form, evoking the Saville Row tailoring of Jones’ native London. It was one of many instances of Dior’s Parisian styles having a clever U.K. twist.
Marking 75 years since Dior’s “New Look” changed the face of fashion in 1947, Jones said he delved into the archive to work on the original house styles such as the Bar Jacket that curves in at the waist. Here for men, the Bar silhouette was given a very British makeover, tailored yet constructed intentionally unkempt and loose in patterns such as Glen plaid. Such tailored styles were never buttoned-up but infused with a street vibe — gray sneakers with messy laces, or white pants with elasticated hems.
LUCIEN IN PARIS
One of the stars of the television hit “Emily in Paris,” British actor Lucien Laviscount said he felt like he was “dripping in Dior” — dressed by Jones to attend the house’s menswear show on Place de la Concorde.
Fresh from the success of his role as the Season 2 love interest, British banker Alfie, Laviscount said that visiting Paris for Fashion Week meant that “my feet haven’t touched the ground. This is my second time in Paris. To come back I feel humbled and honored.”
Lost for words as he looked at the decor of iconic Parisian bridges, and almost as excited as the journalists interviewing him, all he could say was “wow... This is Lucien in Paris!”
As for whether the Yorkshire-born actor will return for Season 3, that remains a tantalizing mystery. “Am I coming back? ... We’re in talks,” he said.
THE ART OF THE INVITATION
The age of email and rising environmental awareness doesn’t seem to have left much of a mark on the fashion industry’s antiquated system of invitations. Season after season, gasoline-guzzling couriers crisscross Paris to personally deliver ever-elaborate, often handmade, show invites.
Top houses vie for the wackiest or most imaginative idea that often bears a clue as to the theme of their runway collection.
Jil Sander’s show details were printed on a huge white balloon hidden inside a box while Loewe’s invitation, a three-meter pink silk satin ribbon, unfurled dramatically from a small metal cylinder.
Yet Louis Vuitton’s was possibly the menswear season’s most inventive: Multicolored toy twin woodpeckers on a pole with the house monogram from top to bottom. It symbolized the childhood obsessions of the late designer Virgil Abloh, who died in November.
JIL SANDER IS MINIMALIST
Jil Sander’s husband and wife design duo Lucie and Luke Meier were in fine form Friday for a typically pared down showing for the Milan-based brand.
Since 2017, they have continued in the minimalist vein of house founder Jil Sander, who has stepped away from the creative helm, but whose designs once gave her the nickname the “queen of less.”
In the American Cathedral of Paris, guests on Friday evening sat around a large ribbed light balloon referencing perhaps the upcoming Chinese New Year. The fashion brand has announced that it is celebrating the Chinese New Year with a six-piece capsule collection.
The clothes had nomadic edge, with minimalist ethnic headwear and broad clean proportions in statement coats. The color palette was restrained. Flourishes to the pared down aesthetic included white tops made from white floral-like embroideries that morphed into scarves, and myriad black detailing in another neckpiece.
Leather boots and flashes of leather lapels gleamed in the ecclesiastic setting.
PAUL SMITH’S CINEMATIC FASHION
At the heart of the fashion icon’s fall-winter display was the evolution of cinema — from the black-and-white era to technicolor and ending with contemporary film.
The movie musing was a springboard for the 75-year-old British designer who has built a reputation with his bold use of color — including his fluorescent pink flagship store in Los Angeles.
Monochrome nickel gave a beautiful sheeny quality to a loosely tailored double-breasted coat — evoking the era of pre-War cinema. Sepia, the reddish brown hue associated with the monochrome images of early cinema, was evoked in printed baggy corduroys and an emerald green leather jacket evoked the start of technicolor.
Still, the cinema theme felt a bit lost on many of the other designs shown Friday.