PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston March 2021

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W h a t i s t h e new normal, and how do w e d e s i g n for it? That's the question underlying the menswear exhibitions at Men's Fashion Week. As the fashion houses presented their collections virtually, we got a better under- standing of how the industry is responding to the dramatic changes we've seen during the last year. Artistic director Virgil Abloh presented Louis Vuitton's answer in the form of high- concept art — exploring deeply ingrained societal issues that touch on our perception of what is real while examining the unconscious biases we hold and their relevance to the clothing we wear. Fendi continually asked "What is normal today?" via a loop throughout the show; the answer is "business as usual." The pandemic may be with us, but the message seems to be: Let's make clothing that is sleek, multifunctional, playful, and elegant. Vuitton's collection, "Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light," was streamed via YouTube as a 15-minute short film. It was inspired by the 1953 essay "Stranger in the Village" by James Baldwin, which explores the author's experience as a black man living in a village in Switzerland, contrasted with his life in America. Diving into the familiar archetypes of the Artist, Architect, Drifter, and Salesman, F rom the Celine equestrian flag bearers to the torched finale, this exposition is a full fashion fantasy grounded by the epitome of French Renaissance — the Château de Chambord. Much like the backdrop's mix of architecture that straddles French medieval and classic Renaissance, Celine creative director Hedi Slimane brings together both punk and romance in a mix of studded leather, heavy knits, capes, fur boots, and creepers. Though appearing Old World, he's actually holding up a mirror to present-day society — the shedding of society labels and trends. You can be both the knight and the prince. Majestic and punk. Creating the perfect heartthrob of a man (with style, no less) is the real power of Slimane. The initially jarring masterpiece melds jackets and ruffled collars with beautiful men donning delicate earrings, thick- chained necklaces, and studded beanies. Utter perfection. Did you catch the fully studded lapel on that tailored jacket? Keeping this show on replay is my new obsession. I want every single piece in this collection. So should you. We are in a new renaissance. Doug Voisin THE NEW NORMAL? TEEN KNIGHT POEM Abloh explores the rules and myths we create around people, art, and ideas. He also addresses artistic ownership by referencing objects, such as the simple paper cup, which are devoid of ownership. LV introduced several pieces that continue its trend of multifunctional garments that merge technical fabrics into time-tested staples. We saw oversized graphics, blurs of neon-pink contrasting with more traditional sweats and tops, a classic two-piece suit, an oversized LV embossed trench coat, a futuristic reflective silver jacket, and some nicely tailored classic overcoats. It feels less reflective than recent chromatic collections of the past, slightly more buttoned up and full of the overt messaging that Abloh has become known for. In contrast, Silvia Venturini Fendi's response was lo-fi and far less conceptual than LV, mixing exquisite tailoring with conceptual artist Noel Fielding's work, in a collaborative effort that resulted in fresh looks rooted in Fendi's historical excellence. Mixing Technicolor imagery from London's underground club scene, the Italian fashion house focused on staples, well- tailored outfits in classic earth tones mixed with electric tailored puffers and top coats in vivid cobalts and saffrons. It's a collection that looks and feels very 2021, with one eye on the past and one looking towards the future., Celine 2021 Louis Vuitton 2021 Louis Vuitton 2021 Fendi 2021 Fendi 2021 Celine 2021 38

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