PARIS (AP) — Dries Van Noten went 80s, Rick Owens dabbled in abstract musing while sweltering celebrity guests such as model-actress Naomi Campbell got an exotic taste of wanderlust from Louis Vuitton.
Here are the highlights of Thursday’s menswear collections for spring-summer 2018 at Paris Fashion Week.
LOUIS VUITTON’S GREAT ESCAPE
The sun beat down on VIP guests attending Louis Vuitton’s open air show inside the storied Palais Royal gardens.
If some were dreaming of being whisked away from the stifling heat in the French capital, they were in luck. Designer Kim Jones channeled wanderlust and the magic of isolated world archipelagos for Vuitton’s next spring-summer collection. It was a welcome escapism.
Starting with Hawaii, Jones reimagined the familiar Aloha shirt with a shiny sheer outer layer that evoked the sparkling ocean. But his collection was more about island-hopping and a sense of spirited adventure than any one geographical location.
“I was inspired by the idea of an island and of travel. Of moving easily from place to place, and experiencing these different pockets of civilization,” Jones said.
Sneakers and logo-adorned sandals, indigo denim hats and oversize Monogram bags slung across the shoulder accessorized his relaxed looks. Baggy pants — gently pleated and loose at the hip — were on-trend.
Sports also was very much in the air, inspired, the fashion house said, by the extreme sports often practiced in far-flung locations. Neoprene scuba tops and shorts were reimagined in luxurious multi-colored bonded leather.
This was backpacking and trekking — but not for the budget traveler.
Naomi Campbell caused a stir when she arrived at the Vuitton show at the last minute, joining American rappers Travis Scott and Tyga in the front row.
Campbell was passing through Paris after attending the Cannes Lions Festival, where she hung out with The Weeknd.
Nearby, British singer Lily Allen, a friend of designer Kim Jones, sported a sheeny Louis Vuitton menswear look and said she was excited to be able to make the show.
“It usually falls on the Glastonbury (festival) weekend, this show, so I’m never really around. But I’m not there this year so I thought I’d pop over,” she told The Associated Press.
“Me and Kim (Jones) used to live together years ago. We were flatmates. He’s the loveliest person in the world. He’s one of my treasured friends,” she said.
RICK OWENS’ INDEFATIGABLE CREATIVITY
The ever-creative Rick Owens doesn’t so much put on fashion shows as transport guests to a parallel universe for 15 minutes each season.
The U.S.-born designer was in fine form Thursday with a surreal collection that almost looked as if it would be at home in outer space. Models stomped in huge moon boots in black and gray across the shimmering metal podium structure outside Paris’ Palais de Tokyo.
White punk vests with cords that evoked alien-like sinews exposed flesh on waif-like male models with visible bones. Torsos sported large sections of voluminous shiny technical fabric that evoked space suit textiles.
But the styles might also have been inspired by punks, goths, soldiers and even sculpture. And that’s the point: Owens’ clothes intentionally provoke myriad interpretations.
Coats came sleeveless or had long arms that obscured the hands. Some jackets were rendered off-kilter and otherworldly by tiny silhouettes that scrunched up the models’ torsos.
ISSEY MIYAKE’S DESERT TREK
It was man versus the elements for Issey Miyake.
Designer Yusuke Takahashi imagined a journey into the inhumanly hot desert for the spring-summer collection.
And sweating fashionistas — who fanned themselves with program notes against the sweltering Paris heat wave — didn’t need to exert themselves trying to imagine how that desert might feel.
Loose double-face cotton jackets, sometimes in a cross-over style, were presented in earth colors. Below, baggy cotton North African-style pants with pleats and a floppy waist fastening followed pants cut above the ankle with a rippled texture that evoked the roughness of sand.
Later, the desert was suggested again in the rippled patterning on some decidedly un-summerlike dark coats. One enveloping, oversized, shin-length coat provoked moans of sympathy for the male model from guests in the front row.
But the program notes reassured that the fabric was “lightweight and designed with functional elements in mind.”
DRIES VAN NOTEN’S BEAUTY
It was in the former Paris offices of French newspaper Liberation that Belgian designer Dries Van Noten chose to showcase his collection.
Male models walked by against a backdrop of shelves with myriad multicolored files. And a retro-bookish mood filtered into the styles as long socks that were pulled to mid-calf in varying colors.
Thursday’s elegant show marked a return to the ’80s. It’s a significant decade for Van Noten, as it marked his breakthrough as a designer as part of the radical Antwerp Six group of fashion designers.
High-waisted pants and shorts alongside soft oversize ’80s jackets were worn with oversize shirts. They were rendered thoughtfully in tonal colors such as ochre, sienna, dull green, chestnut and cadmium yellow.
Suede boots added a touch of class. While, floral and fern prints betrayed Van Noten’s love of flowers.
The collection was muted but that did not detract from its beauty.
This story has been corrected to show that Vuitton designer Kim Jones is a man, not a woman.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K