// SWEET LITTLE NOTHINGS AT LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERNIN //

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It only took a few seasons for Ludovic de Saint Sernin to turn into one of Paris’ hottest brands, quite an achievement for someone still in his late 20s. De Saint Sernin’s vision is strong, subversive, humorous and uncompromising. His last show gathered industry insiders who clearly showed their support, such as Rick Owens, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and Willy Vanderperre who shot the designer’s last campaign.

Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s work is about intimacy, gender -and above all skin- a dismantling of our society’s archetypes to propose a new and sensitive approach towards men and women alike. If the French designer sees beauty in fragility, he’s also challenging the social norms of conformity and suffocating standardization. His incredibly sensual show underlined a Kunderian lightness of being, which was evidenced by his choice of tactile materials, such as breezy taffeta, silk satin or sheer organza.

De Sernin took on certain codes to reformulate them his way, such as military-inspired styles for instance. A belted nude colored trench was worn as an outfit against bare skin, with a pair of matching leather sandals and nothing else. Reworked cargo pants were tight on the hips and flared at the bottom, hugging every possible curve. He even paired one of those with a nude, asymmetrical bandage top, a nod to the early 1990s. Other references to that era were also clear, from Alexander McQueen’s infamous ‘bumsters’ to Helmut Lang’s exposed nipple tops, but de Saint Sernin offered the ultra low waist pants covered with Swarovski crystals and reworked the classic polo shirt with an erotic cutout.

He also presented his own version of sleek tailoring, focusing on body-conscious suits, which featured no pockets and concealed buttons. Avoiding unnecessary details to underline sharply cut lines is one of the designer’s signatures, borrowing from the sexiness of womenswear to avoid traditional men’s finishes. When a model came out wearing a simple towel wrapped around his waist, it offered an instant breather to a delighted audience. In a fashion landscape filled with logos, celebrity lines and trying way too hard clothes, de Saint Sernin’s reductionist and intelligent approach could be the way forward.

/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /

/ Runway pictures by Luca Tombolini /


// A LEAN MACHINE AT CELINE //

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One of Hedi Slimane’s many talents is to play against expectations while sticking to his guns and that’s precisely what he did with his last Celine show. If David Kramer’s artworks for the brand -featured online and within the invitation book- made you think of sunny LA afternoons and psychedelic pursuits, you were in for a surprise when the show started.

Tapping into the 1970s and some of his beloved icons and musical references, the French designer elongated the silhouette to new extremes. His jeans were rather slim, slightly flared and sat at the waist, which made his models’ legs look even longer. Slimane also used abbreviated blouson jackets that minimized the torso area and shoulder line. A formal, double-breasted pinstripe jacket -trimmed with a red carnation- was casually worn open over a denim shirt, which instantly brought French singer and composer Serge Gainsbourg to mind. If Gainsbourg’s style was négligé and looked accidental, it was in fact the complete opposite as every element of his persona and attitude were carefully chosen and mixed together.

That sense of studied nonchalance was also evidenced in Slimane’s choice of accessories, such as an unpretentious but surprising straw tote worn over the shoulder or straightforward white sneakers, which went against the current trend of gigantic and over-embellished numbers. Such longing to reconnect with authentic clothes is without a doubt one of Slimane’s driving forces and there several garments to covet in his show, from sleek black leather pants and stripy overalls to a military print trench or a slim black suit. The pointy white boots were a nod to 1970s kitsch, and they added a playful touch to the overall silhouette. Think disco pimp dancing to CHIC.

/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /


// A LAIDBACK APPROACH AT HERMÈS //

Véronique Nichanian celebrated her first three decades as Hermès' menswear artistic director last year, and she managed to keep her finger on the pulse with this last collection.

Sensing the modern man's current need for ease, relaxed shapes and simplicity, she loosened the silhouette this time and reduced her color palette, too, sticking to neutral tones with occasional dashes of color. The key item within the collection was the pant, and the French designer paid particular attention to volume and proportion. Most styles were long and baggy, with the exception of a few cropped numbers that looked perfectly appropriate with the brand's new leather sandals.

Nichanian also used prim checks and pajama style stripes -mainly for coats and shirting- to evoke an informal feeling, which gave the collection a holiday vibe. Of course, the French House is all about intricate luxury, and buttersoft leather pants looked as cozy as an old pair of jeans. For the show finale, Nichanian crafted exquisite printed pieces, which looked refined and nonchalant at once. Loose shirts were styled with cropped stripy pants and foulard printed jackets looked slim and elegant. It was smart from Nichanian to refer to the House's unique heritage while keeping the silhouette cool and minimal. The beauty and precision of those prints were enough to win you over.

/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /

/ Backstage pictures by Geordie Wood /

/ Runway pictures by Jean-François José /


// SIES MARJAN Men's SS20 BACKSTAGE //


/ Photography by Merel Hart /

www.siesmarjan.com

// A LONGING FOR TRUE BEAUTY AT BERLUTI //

Showcased in the sunny and peaceful Luxembourg Gardens, Berluti’s last collection -designed by Kris Van Assche- was a tribute to timeless beauty and meticulous craftsmanship. The Belgian designer was searching for new and contemporary ways to reinterpret the cherished notion of elegance and his vision came to life seamlessly.

Tailoring was one of the show’s strongest points, as it looked equally great on men and women. Double-breasted, sleeveless, fitted or elongated, the jacket was a key garment within the collection and it gave a reassuring sense of structure from the very first look. Van Assche used tailored lines as a canvas to express a more personal vision of luxury, made modern through his use of embellishment and controlled exuberance. Cropped and colorful bombers were worn over jackets and pants. Dreamy feathers also appeared on sharp-looking suits, while chunky chains adorned sleek city bags.

If formality is a Berluti trademark, Van Assche also wanted to underline a more sensitive and spontaneous approach towards the brand, which was evidenced in his stunning use of color. Seeing orange, purple, chartreuse yellow, bright blues and fuchsia pink on the runway was a feast for the eyes, as it added an uplifting vibe to the brand’s proposal. Garments referring to motorcycle gear gave a dynamic edge to the line-up, and Van Assche kept exploring the boundaries between sporty and dressy. A sleeveless jacket, worn with a baggy pair of shorts and graphic sneakers, propelled the brand into our present time, nicely connecting the speed of the street with the patience of craft.


/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /

/ Backstage pictures by Merel Hart /


// A SOFTER TOUCH AT LOUIS VUITTON //

Our world may be getting increasingly fast -and patience may have become the rarest virtue- Virgil Abloh wanted to slow things down at Louis Vuitton this season, and his last show for the House had a meditative and tranquil quality.

Attracted by the power of the flower -as a natural wonder and symbolic expression of change- Abloh focused on a vision of masculinity in motion, giving his silhouette a languid and fluid feel. Pleated, pressed-crease trousers were loose and voluminous, while a mauve shirt in nappa goat leather featured one single oversize pocket, which is all that you need to carry life’s essentials. That generosity also defined Abloh’s outerwear, which was on the roomy side again, and included lightweight parkas and hooded anoraks, as well as military-inspired styles and generous trench coats. Contrived effects are not relevant in menswear right now and the designer fully embraced this longing for ease.

This does not mean, however, that the collection didn’t feature experimental shapes or daring accessories, such as pleated monogram bags or flower-covered totes. Abloh seemed to be referring to the formative years defining the passage from boyhood to manhood, and how clothes play a crucial part within that period. He did offer intricate tailoring, but in vibrant and uninhibited shades -such as fuchsia pink for instance- and innovative technical jerseys, which added a sculptural quality to his suits. 

The idea of blossoming and transformation continued throughout the show and silhouettes became more dramatic, with added luggage and bags carried by the models themselves or hanging on abstract structures hovering around their bodies. Was Abloh evoking the baggage every man carries from puberty to adulthood, or was he referring to his own nomadic lifestyle? The presence of kites on some of these looks indicated that the Vuitton man was, without a doubt, ready for take-off.

/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /


// KOMONO X ANTWERP FASHION DEPARTMENT //

KOMONO is proud to announce its official partnership with the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. For centuries, Antwerp has been the home to innovative fashion: from intricate lace to the game-changing Antwerp Six. Today, Antwerp remains a key city within the global fashion scene with the Royal Academy as the main incubator for new talent and innovative design. KOMONO has spawned from this hub of creativity and aesthetics, and brings the essence of Antwerp to the world.

KOMONO will work together with a selected number of master students in the creation of a capsule eyewear collection linked to the students’ personal work. Our mission is to aid the students’ exploration of innovative forms, their search for new colour combinations and their pursue for the original treatment of materials – and this related to the eyewear category. Workshops, given by our designers and product developers, will develop the students’ skills in 3D drawing/printing, tech sheets, material knowledge and manufacturing. The students will be given complete transparency and accountability as they will be involved from blank page to finished product.


Read more on the Antwerp Fashion Department collaboration.

// RAW ARTISTRY AT S.R. Studio. LA. CA. //

One of the key highlights of this anniversary edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence, Sterling Ruby’s debut show had the right mix of refinement, primitivism and boldness, with striking use of patchwork, bleaching and printing. Turns out the American artist has been fascinated with clothing since his teenage years and the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail was impressive.

In the 1990s, there were several moments of rapprochement between fashion and art, most famously with Helmut Lang ending on the cover of Artforum in October 1995. Ruby’s show felt like a seminal moment, too, giving his presentation the edge of a performance. There was a nomadic and savage feeling in his silhouette, from prairie-inspired frocks to asymmetrical ponchos, worn with matching loose pants. A fully bleached pink denim ensemble, composed of a shirt and matching jeans, looked sharp and relevant, while woven knits and faux-fur trimmed separates had a naive and innocent charm. 

Rich in textures, colors and contrasting volumes, the collection had real energy, which the audience felt straight away. The American artist will not go for the seasonal format, but it seems that he will return with a second collection at a later stage. He partnered with  SSENSE exclusively and the less intricate pieces are now available online. Ruby also managed to feature strong messages on his clothes, which gave us food for thought. A long, elegant black dress, printed with two burning candles, seemed like a beacon of hope for humanity’s future. This was an accomplished proposal and the clothes were instantly desirable. 


/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /

srstudio.com


// YOUTHFUL OPTIMISM AT MSGM //

Celebrating his brand’s 10 th anniversary within the Pitti Uomo schedule, Massimo Giorgetti was in a cheerful and energetic mood, balancing trendy tailoring and fuss-free sportswear with graphic prints and vibrant colors. Not willing to indulge into any kind of retrospective -Giorgetti would rather look forward than dwell on the past- the Rimini- born designer charmed his audience with an upbeat collection that took water as its main inspiration, evoking gorgeous summers outdoors and lazy holidays by the seaside.

Giorgetti surfed on the current wave of early 1990s inspired tailoring, which was a prominent story during the menswear shows seen in Florence. If the collection’s jackets and pants were completely on trend, a MSGM line-up wouldn’t be complete without clashing prints, joyful shades and unexpected combinations. An exclusive bandana motif looked great and refined -wickedly mixed with animal print- and tie-dye effects were strong and alluring. Giorgetti kept the silhouette relaxed and easy, with boxy shirts and roomy shorts.

One of the best things about the brand is that it offers relevant fashion at an accessible price point, and MSGM showcased its new underwear line in the finale, which also a 1990s flavor. There are plenty of MSGM men out there who love individuality and clothes that emphasize self- expression. Now, they will be able to sport the brand inside and out.