Ludovic de Saint Sernin turns up the heat, Sacai elevates workwear
Opening the final day of Paris Men's Fashion Week was none other than rising star Ludovic de Saint Sernin, who braved the freezing temperatures of Le Marais on Sunday morning to present his bold and sultry designs. Having become one of the industry's hottest commodities, due to his laid-back androgynous and sensual looks, the 31-year-old designer staged the first show for his eponymous label since the announcement of his appointment as creative director for Belgian label Ann Demeulemeester last December. The designer's first garments at the helm of the iconic maison will not be revealed until March, with a show during women's fashion week.
The former LVMH-prize finalist and winner of the Pierre Bergé de l'Andam prize in 2018 says he is "living his dream". And no wonder. The creative designer, who has worked for the likes of Saint Laurent and Balmain, launched his independent menswear label in 2017, and soon after expanded his range to include womenswear. Since then, his brand has been on the rise and he has managed to build up a large community of fans and loyal followers; many of whom were sitting in the front row of his long-awaited show held at the multidisciplinary space 3537 rue Francs Bourgeois.
The first three black and elegant looks that opened the show provided a glimpse of what is in store for Saint Sernin's creativity at the head of the minimalist brand Ann Demeulemeester. An uncontrived approach to fashion that gave way to the designer's most recognisable designs, yet with a more mature look and showing a perfect mastery of his business potential, reflected in an extensive and diverse collection of garments, ranging from the sexiest corsetry to the most minimal taupe knitwear.
"I can give you a private show," repeated the electronic song by Offaiah playing in the background, setting the pace for the models' confident stride. Knotted tops were uniquely adorned with glamorous boas, paired with low-rise trousers that revealed underwear bearing the brand's name. The subtle logo 'LDSS' was omnipresent throughout the collection in a sparkling format, on labels or even on tone-on-tone full denim looks. Among them was a long-sleeved jumpsuit, probably one of the most understated looks of the show, worn by Russian supermodel Irina Shayk, which contrasted with the bikini or mini briefs in the same fabric.
There was no shortage of the brand's signature lightweight, sheer tops or the "naked" dresses in pale white for both men and women, revealing the models' bodies as well as their intimate lingerie. Shiny skater-cut mini skirts, sophisticated white coats with fur and feather finishes as well as oversized and textured trousers that captured the attention of all the cameras present, rounded off a show that, in some way, said that "good things have only just begun."
A different, almost apocalyptic tone greeted the midday crowd at the Carreau du Temple. Bright orange lights and a grey stone floor invited them to step into space for the presentation of a co-ed fashion show inspired by the cult film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. Founded in 1999, the Japanese brand, like Ludovic de Saint Sernin, opted for strictly black opening looks, with no shortage of platform military boots and tight leggings over which layers of architecturally structured garments were layered, revealing the common thread that would run through the entire collection.
Chitose Abe's masterful tailoring, honed by his experience working at Comme des Garçons and Junya Watanabe, as well as having collaborated on one of Jean Paul Gaultier's couture collections, was reflected in every detail of the garments. Impeccable, gender-less looks ranged from functional denim pieces replete with pockets to tweed looks featuring mini-skirts and short jackets.
However, nothing is as it seems at Sacai. Garments at first glance, such as jackets or coats, transformed into something else when revealing their backs, managing to conceal quilted anoraks, bold volumes and cut-outs and even pleated skirts over tight-fitting or tailored trousers. Parkas or tailored windbreakers were among the designs on display. The garments were carefully layered in a way that was tremendously aesthetic, without losing their hybrid character and functionality.
Workwear made for space, featuring delicate knitwear or bold prints reminiscent of Nolan's film, in which a new collaboration with Nike, reinterpreted Air Footscape or trek-style pairs, stood out. A touch of luxury was provided by a premium alliance with Moncler. And to the delight of streetwear insiders, Abe went one step further, opting for a high-end collaboration with Carhartt WIP, which has also recently ventured into luxury with a capsule collection in collaboration with Marni.
Coats paired with knitted jackets, oversized parkas with fur details, bombers featuring multiple pockets or even the American workwear brand's signature "chunky" jumpers were paired with adventurous, parachute-cut pieces, not to mention the season's ever-present hoodies.
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