PARIS (AP) — Dior mania descended on menswear at Paris Fashion Week Friday as more than a thousand admirers packed the magnificent Place de la Concorde to see their favorite stars, some nearly risking their lives in middle of traffic.
Caretakers for the show’s VIP guests, including David Beckham, Naomi Campbell and Korean BTS band members J-Hope and Jimin, navigated the crowd like salmon swimming upstream.
Inside, Dior menswear designer Kim Jones paid tribute to Yves Saint Laurent, who became the world’s youngest couturier at 21 in 1957 after the death of Christian Dior.
Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2023-2024 collections:
YSL: A TRIBUTE
In 1958, Saint Laurent presented his first collection for Christian Dior. It was a global event where the designer drew thousands upon thousands of screaming fans filling the avenues. Some things never change, even in 65 years.
Kim Jones used that women’s collection as inspiration for the men’s, reflecting its contrasts between masculine and feminine and British tailoring versus haute couture.
Jones also captured her fluidity to produce a gender-neutral display of soft shapes and loose waists. Unbuttoned, fanned-out suits cut a pretty trapezoid silhouette, as did clever white-knit sweaters with cut-out sleeves to billow like a poncho.
Jones did his homework. In his Saint Laurent debut, he ditched the cinched waists and long fabrics of Dior in favor of more fluid shapes in which the body disappeared, effectively inventing the trapeze silhouette.
Some Jones looks, like an updated sailor shirt, were taken straight from the 1958 archive.
But this sublime spectacle was much more than a mere tribute. The three-dimensional printed shoes followed contemporary sheer organza vests with tiered bands and looked aggressive yet feminine. Off-the-shoulder tailoring on an embellished pearl coat simultaneously evoked a gangly rebel and a blooming flower.
THE STARS OF DIOR, THE DRAMAS
The unique fusion of celebrity, art, hysteria, beauty and floating perfume at the Dior show simply overwhelmed the senses. It began with remarkable filmed performances by actors Gwendoline Christie and Robert Pattinson reciting excerpts from poetry, interspersed with images from the Dior collection.
“I’m really, really happy to be here at the Dior show,” Christie told the AP. “It comes as no surprise that Kim Jones is one of the best living designers we have today. I am also very lucky because he is an old friend of mine.
But even the genius Christie, star of both the Dior show and “Game of Thrones,” seemed overwhelmed when reporters dumped her in a split second after the arrival of BTS’s Jimin, who was recently announced as a Dior brand ambassador. .
PAUL SMITH TURN OF THE CENTURY
Smith stepped into the history books for a thoughtful exhibit that seemed to meld 1970s London with the city of the 1870s.
A puffer coat with a plaid cape showed it off perfectly. It flared out at the back, as if it had been made in Baker Street and Sherlock Holmes might have used it if it came with a pipe.
Elsewhere, a high white collar had a prim, 19th-century feel, while a dark velvety coat with a large collar sported a lovely chunky texture.
Those old-fashioned musings made fall-winter look more austere than usual, but it was a welcome change.
The 1970s, a Smith touchstone, was also on abundant display. Designs included puffy plaid coats, vibrant blue patterned pants, and colorful loose-fitting suits with broad, rounded shoulders.
The best looks were those that fused the two eras, like a loose-fitting cerulean trench coat with voluminous layers, twinned with a striped blue silk foulard.
BOTTER IS SUPERLATIVE
Flashes of bright color and kinky quirks infused Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh’s fabulous fall co-ed fare.
If there was an overarching theme to Botter’s ever-creative and eccentric show, it was surely chance.
A blue bikini sewn humorously on top of a shimmering satin shirtdress. The outer layer of a suit jacket was peeled away to reveal a snakeskin-like underlayer. A mermaid look featured salmon print on a fitted vest that descended to a billowy metallic satin “tail” skirt. A neon pink knitted sweater tucked into the front of another sweater was probably an ironic jab at how chilly the Paris weather has been lately.