Transformation and East-meets-West cap Paris menswear week

Jan 21, 2023, 6:50 PM | Updated: Jan 22, 2023, 2:42 pm

PARIS (AP) — As Paris Fashion Week bids farewell to the menswear season, the final day of shows includes collections from Maison Margiela and Sacai.

But fashion insiders won’t have time to rest. Haute couture collections, including from powerhouse Dior, are set to go on display starting Monday in the French capital.

Here are some highlights from Sunday:

WOOYOUNGMI

It was East meets West for lauded Korean designer Woo Youngmi, whose show was more than meets the eye.

The current Western obsession with Korean pop culture inspired Madame Woo to take a look at the shifting relationship between Korea and the West over time.

Delving into the history books, she hit upon the image of the Korean Pavilion created for the 1900 Paris Exposition. The fashion house described it as “a magnificent building constructed in the style of the South Korean palaces but re-contextualized within the Haussmannian environment of Paris.”

This was the starting point of the thoughtful collection, which featured romantic silhouettes fusing the fin de siècle French and English Edwardian styles — through riding coats, sack suits and riding boots — with urban styles such as cargo elements and archival pieces from Woo’s early 2000s collections.

She also reinterpreted jewelry worn by the rulers of Korea’s ancient Silla kingdom in a contemporary, decorative sculptural form.

SACAI UNZIPS

Transformation was at the heart of a disruptive, fashion-forward co-ed Sacai show.

The basic premise was that changing one detail, just a little, can transform an entire visual shape. The black sand that covered the entire venue floor at the Carreau du Temple — perhaps signifying the sands of time — made the point when the slightest movement from guests’ feet changed its shape.

Japanese designer Chitose Abe used zippers to demonstrate shifting silhouettes, taking the same garment with the zipper up or down, and draped around the body in abstract ways.

There was a sense of infinite chaos in the three-dimensional shapes created by tying coats to the back of garments in the mainly black and beige display. The booming soundtrack, and the way models walked in interlocking formations, sometime accidentally nearly bumping into each other, enhanced the mood.

A trench coat was deconstructed into its constituent parts and fanned open dramatically to form a sort of reptilian hood trailing at the back. Sleeves on coats hung limply, without functionality, or were tied up to create infinitely varied shapes that had fashion insiders reaching for their cameras.

THE ART OF THE INVITATION

The age of email and rising environmental awareness doesn’t seem to have left much of a mark on the fashion industry’s antiquated system of invitations.

Season after season, gasoline-guzzling couriers crisscross Paris to personally deliver ever-elaborate, often handmade, show invites.

Top houses vie for the wackiest or most imaginative idea that often bears a clue as to the theme of the runway collection.

The invitation Issey Miyake sent out ahead of a display that played with making complex shapes was a folding origami puzzle.

Marine Serré’s was a series of nostalgic keyrings from the 1960s — a mini vegetable oil bottle and black chain. Covering it was a handwritten note: “My grandfather who was a collector taught me how to find the beauty in abandoned everyday life objects.”

Louis Vuitton’s was, incredibly, a real-sizef movie set clapboard inviting guests to the cinematic show whose set was co-designed by movie director Michel Gondry.

MAISON MARGIELA LOOKS INSIDE

In an inward-gazing take on fashion, and within its new posh west Paris headquarters, Maison Margiela presented a theatrical collection against the backdrop of tableaux scenes from its own groundbreaking couture film “Cinema Inferno” from last year, heralding the return of the fictional star-crossed lovers, Count and Hen.

Guests, including Kylie Jenner, who caused a media frenzy upon arrival, were led to a fake crime scene with a crashed car that followed on from the “Southern Gothic” film noir tale. This was, it seemed, Part II.

Whatever it was — many attending agreed how it was a totally new way to present a show.

The runway designs shown separately were typically accomplished — with drama and detailed execution and styling every second. That included the unnerving, eccentric David Lynch-style swag of model Leon Dame who capped the show in voluminous, snipped away deconstructed trench and veil.

It was Americana throughout. That, mixed with the techniques of Parisian couture that designer John Galliano made famous during his tenure at Christian Dior from 1997-2011.

Tulle skirts, silk chiffon rompers, head pieces, fishnets, glitter and sequins came together in an exuberant cauldron of styles.

Party dresses, sometimes embellished with sequins, were constructed in silks and velvets — and came alongside hot pointed bras.

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Transformation and East-meets-West cap Paris menswear week