Paris Men’s Fashion Week S/S 2019 Part 1

Achtung's seasonal review on Paris's greatest fashion moments: Valentino and news on Berluti and Rochas

Ah, finally we are in Paris. The men’s schedule here is brimming with big shows and will have three big debuts at Louis Vuitton with Virgil Abloh, Kris van Assche at Berluti and Kim Jones at Dior Homme. Van Assche has taken a page out of Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe brand-building book and has hired M/M to do his new ad campaign. The torso and face of a Latin-looking model with a pair of Berluti shoes tied around his neck is all over bus shelters here. It’s also clever because the crocodile leather shoes look like football boots around a player’s neck and after all it’s the World Cup in Russia. Also, it will be interesting to see Dries Van Noten’s first show now that he belongs to the Puig group. The Catalan fragrance maker is amping up the fashion volume and today French Interparfums SA has followed suit and announced the very talented and so far under the radar designer Italian Federico Curradi at the house of Rochas Men’s. Everyone wants to have a piece of the booming men’s wear action.

News: (left) Kris Van Assche’s first Berluti campaign by M/M, perfectly fitting to the Football World Cup hype, (right) Italian designer Frederico Curradi was announced the Menswear designer of Rochas

Valentino S/S 2019

Pierpaolo Piccioli has a lot on his hands. Two men’s and women’s collections which he shows separately and not co-ed plus two Haute Couture shows and yes, not to forget pre-fall. And so far he has been nothing but impressive. Really, every show looks fresh and new. No short cuts, no similarities between men’s and women’s, which would be normal. He is even starting to change the show venues and has left the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild and opted to show at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs on Rue Rivoli in the First Arrondisement. No stone is left unturned to be new, desirable and modernize the storied Roman Alta Moda house. For this show, Piccioli tasked himself to make a Valentino collection for the street. “I would never take a graffiti and use it as a print. I want to bring the work of our ateliers to the street. That’s the approach I believe in,” Piccioli mused backstage after the strong show. We applaud his take in a moment when high fashion is confused and considers street wear designers the non plus ultra.

Pierpaolo Piccioli delightedly walked down the runway after his menswear Spring Summer 2019 show

What were the codes?

A hot pink feathered baseball cap, a nylon parka with pink, black and white camouflage print and VLTN logo, a contrasting red zip jacket with black VLTN logo, matching hot pink wide knee-length shorts, logo socks and khaki pink trainers

Piccioli was thinking street wear and brought out the parkas, anoraks, bombers, blousons, warm up jackets, raincoats and capes. Of course in his hands, the cool nylon street front has a hand embroidered back and the volumes and lengths ran from floor sweeping to mid-knee and short. Also back, his witty takes on camouflage in women’s colors.

Who worked harder than les petites mains?

Neon Mania: logos are still on vogue, however, Piccioli took the challenge to alter the usual Valentino logo by printing it in neon colors on coats

Piccioli has clearly spent a lot of time in his graphic design department lately. The Valentino logo as giant V or coded VLTN was everywhere. In times of logo obsessed clients, not a bad idea but done in a more elaborate way as in a camouflage coat with neon green waves of the Valentino letters.

Can there possibly be a new sneaker?

Feather extravaganza: a lot of flamboyant elements clashed with the typical streetwear gear – pink feathers on khaki sneakers? What a surprise!

It must be said. We are tired of seeing sneakers everywhere. Really! And in a way, it’s a little bit Valentino’s fault who started the craze with the modified New Balance running sneaker in camouflage with studs. Piccioli found a fresh spin today by adding pink feathers at the back of his high tops. Of course, the set backdrop was pink as well.

What’s in the bucket?

Mad hatters: at Valentino SS19 every model wore a hat, some were made out of feathers, some out of cotton, some were even knitted

Like a true Haute Couture designer, Piccioli always thinks of a silhouette first and likes to make it as rich and long as possible including headwear. Nearly all his recent women’s collections featured dramatic hats and also this men’s outing. Every look was accessorized with a low sitting bucket hat plus a few baseball versions.

The unexpected Roman street factor?

Political statement: while Italy’s decides to reject refugee boats, Piccioli and his team embrace the African diversity by sending down plenty of models of color on the runway

Italy is the European country which has to deal with most of the boat arrivals of African refuges. And whether you are in Rome, Florence or Milan, the streets are full of black street vendors and gangs of young men looking for work. Our eyes have become used to it and just when Italy has taken a hard course to the right politically, Piccioli has more black men on his runways than ever. A generous reflection of what he sees every day when going to work.