The French fashion houses of Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermes all unveiled their spring/summer 2022 menswear this weekend, with diverse but meaningful collections.
Here's a look at what went down the runway.
At Dior Homme, creative director Kim Jones embarked on another collaboration, this time with rapper Travis Scott. Unlike for previous shows, however, this was not someone else's art splashed across Jones's designs, but something more fundamental, with the two men designing the collection together from the ground up. With Scott often spotted wearing Dior Homme, the resulting tie-up feels so natural, as if it was always destined to be.
Riffing on Scott’s upbringing in Houston, Texas, the show, dubbed Cactus Jack, was awash with desert-influenced tones of faded sunset pinks, warm sand, ochre and hickory, lifted with hazy sky blue and pops of citrus green, in a way that will resonate with this region. Scott’s preferred trouser of slim-cut flares was used throughout the show, with and without side zips, with cowboy-ish medallions up the side and in glossy satins the colour of wet sandstone.
Slim-cut suits and knee-length coats arrived in mottled satins, while lapels were folded closed and held with jewellery, as the Dior logo was rethought across knitwear, to read Cactus Jack, instead. The saddle bag pioneered by John Galliano reappeared as a double pannier man-bag, and even a faded snakeskin print travelled over V-neck jumpers, flares and hoodies.
Over at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh presented his latest collection as a filmed tableau, with dancers, GZA from Wu-Tang Clan playing chess and Goldie – one of the UK originators of drum and bass – swinging a samurai sword.
Taking cues from the defined shapes of the Japanese samurai armour, Abloh added padded shin guards, pieced body protection and even skirts to a base of tracksuits, in outfits befitting a modern-day warrior.
Suits came in rose pink and mid-blue, tied with matching belts, as well as washes of neon greens and pinks. Bags were plentiful as corner-embellished suitcases, gun holster-style body packs, monogram belt bags and Speedy holdalls – sword carrier optional.
With every look multi-layered, and often worn with balaclavas, the message seemed to be less about personality and more about personal protection. In light of recent high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of US police enforcement, that hardly should be surprising. Abloh is a black American man, after all, so this is a message that is personal to him.
Politics aside, the show also revealed LV's first Nike Air Force 1 collaboration, in different colourways and with LV monogram that will have sneakerheads salivating.
At Hermes, Veronique Nichanian sent out a pared-back collection that she named Double Game.
Describing her work as “clothes, not fashion”, this distinction is important as it best sums up Nichanian’s approach, creating pieces that are as effortless as they are essentially timeless.
Many pieces are reversible, to bolster that unfussy mentality of being multipurpose, while the palette of soft putty, grey, sand and beaver felt relaxed as pleat-front trousers and lightweight shirts enlivened with the occasional blast of yellow (as a daisy intarsia knitted jumper) and even sky blue, as a crocodile shirt.
Unsurprisingly, there was a large focus on bags, which arrived as artfully cut totes and even a weekender size, built on top of a skateboard deck. Belts, meanwhile, were simply knotted lengths of rope, and shoes were comfort staples of high-top canvas lace-up boots. If easy, elegant quality is your thing, then this is undoubtedly the collection for you.