We are all mad here, it’s not really a competition.
With an addictive penchant to all things whimsical, I often found scenography to be a mainstay of Paris Fashion Week Mens (PFWM) to be more alluring than the style overdose itself. Because embracing whimsy truly helps us escape ourselves.
It’s always exciting to see which interpretation of Alice in Wonderland‘s whimsical world will demonstrate Thom Browne’s immense talent for scenography, what with an artistic rendition of The Year of the Dog last season. This time, preppy oceanside motifs of whales and lobsters behind picket fences and lollipop style pinwheels were in his charming rabbit hole underground. It took innumerable times to better grasp the entire setup, almost as quickly as David Bowie’s tunes broke the gates free to 70s kids, starting with men in cone hats and fake beards wandering the lush greens with wheelbarrows full of flowers! Were these really our modern day gnomes? The outfits were all mismatched solid, child-like prints of animal motifs with oversized checks in pastel hues of frothy pink, mint green, sunny yellow, with large prints and white piping. The nautical theme was used excessively as massive lobster or crab silhouettes, embroidered in threads or with pearls, over jackets, as a split on one blazer, as kneecaps on shorts and trousers, and as all over Nautica-style motifs. The cameo of pinstripes and seersucker stripes was a break from the bold and gingham, played on a mix of proportions from tiny shorts to oversized jackets. There were interesting pieces of luggage for the fashionable travelers, with animal motifs and colorful briefcases. It closed with a massive khaki jacket with a rainbow paint print of lobsters. It was a subtle nudge of embracing oneself as you wanted, in any shape and size, and not to conform to what the world wanted. Perfect.
Whimsy has no bars with Rei Kawakubo’s lineup of Ken Dolls, latex coiffs and all with impeccable make up to make this man-dolls akin to previous seasons of flamboyant proportions. To think that the fashion takeaway was in fact simply the suit. Classically, it was a three piece suit, with fitted shirts, bibs and bowties, often well tailored. However, given the epic scenography, the stylized fits were akin to a Willy Wonka of sorts, with synthetic and shiny fabrics pleated around the fitness of the models. With excessive cuts and wraparounds, there were plaids and tie-dyes and bright purples and pinks, all in sparkly fabrics that gave way to shaggy looking camo printed dolls. In isolation of styling, the suits could work for summer daywear, though a series of black suits and polka dots and brightly colored and printed lapels gave themselves well to the nightlife phenomenon. On point with former dinosaur heads, this time the obsession with crocodile jaws as trophy necklaces were the rather macabre accessory to shiny printed suits, evoking a mix of haute horror, which is probably one of the first times such a term has ever been coined.
Images courtesy WWD.