Paris menswear: Sphere, the incubator, grows up
Sphere, the incubator salon and platform for young talent showing in Paris, suddenly looked like it grew up this season, as a group of emerging designers unveiled vibrant collections.
Previously, France’s Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode had developed a space called Designer Apartment for fledgling talent, though too often it featured barely-out-of-college student collections that didn’t really look professional.
Sphere, on the other hand, seems far more serious, with bona-fide young professional fashion marques making polished and original clothes. Moreover, its new location inside the Palais de Tokyo provided the airy space and natural light these designers needed.
Disparate yet all dynamic, collections shown were by Arturo Obegero, Uniforme, LGN (reviewed earlier here) and Valette, who all showed striking ideas and subtle advances in menswear. While a virtual tour of the collections by another five labels is available on the platform.
Arturo Obegero: Sequined seduction
Spanish-born Arturo Obegero has flamenco in his fingertips, and his spikily glamorous collection for guys and girls had plenty of Gitano grit.
Elongated jumpsuits in black crepe; flowing pajamas in striped silk viscose; surgically cut super skinny Latin lover suits in, jersey, pinstripe or crepe. All looked great.
“We’ve been locked up in pajamas at home, so I wanted dandy pajamas to make you feel sexy and beautiful when you go out,” explained Obegero.
Nona Source, the LVMH fabric company that supplies high-quality dead stock to young designers, provided the marvelous crepe used in tuxedo shirts, the same Arturo wore prowling about Sphere.
For grander entrances, he dreamed up a humungous turquoise sequined ball gown. “It’s like Pina Bausch on acid,” quipped the designer.
Arturo’s video of super skinny flamenco dancers and black-eyed femme fatales dancing and emoting around a dance studio loft had plenty of pep. Crowning his season, seven of his cast staged a mini show before the video inside Sphere – a sexy indie fashion moment from a designer well worth watching.
Uniforme: Work wear with flights of fancy
Work wear with some wonderful differences from Uniforme, by the French duo of Hugues Fauchard and Rémi Bats.
The duo describes its DNA as “conscious minimalism,” though the net result was a cool reinterpretation of French aviation imagery.
Their elegiac show video featured a couple of guys in the charming rural enclave of Vexin, in northern France. The two young models playing with an enormous model airplane imagining possible flights and journeys.
A metaphor for the universal desire for travel in the lockdown from the Uniforme duo, who were recently named as finalists for ANDAM’s Pierre Bergé prize; as well as being picked out as a special guest for the “Sustainable Style” initiative at Pitti 100 in Florence.
For Spring/Summer 2022 they showed sun-bleached aviator jackets with a hand-silkscreened cockade on the back; jumpsuits in parachute fabrics with contrasting knitwear shoulders; and cool linen safari jackets with double-face military belts.
Nearly all made by traditional French artisans and suppliers with excellent finishes – including a colonel’s interior stitching for pockets. They even presented a great pair of black leather brogues made together with Weston, finished with a silver trim and their signature strip logo at the back.
“With this collection, we wanted to say that you can dream of fashion, flying, or anything else. What inspired us to go into fashion in the first place is that it’s an industry where anything is possible,” said the duo. And they succeeded.
Valette Studio: Camus couture for men
Savoir-faire and subtlety was the key to a very fine collection from Pierre-François Valette, whose brand is called Valette Studio.
An alumnus of the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, who later cut his teeth at Isabel Marant and Saint Laurent, Valette focuses on materials and techniques to create a modernist French aesthetic.
His summer 2022 collection was inspired by the writings of the great French existentialist author Albert Camus, seeing a romantic adventurer from North Africa who develops his own wardrobe as a tribute to couture and handcraft.
Striking oversized, yet perfectly cut tailored trousers, chunky cable knitwear with earthy finishes; and a couple of great trench coats trimmed with braided wool were some of the standouts. Made in faded pink, pistachio green, dry denim blue, and old burgundy red, the color palette was truly attractive.
Plus, Valette also showed the T-shirt of the Paris season, a wonderful hand-embroidered image, and exact replica of ink drawing of his in-house model. Camus would have found it cool, we bet.
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