PARIS—The lyrics “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls” (from The Kinks’ “Lola”) neatly sums up the gender mix-and-match runways at the Fall/Winter 2018 menswear collections on show in the French capital.
A number of designers presented both their womenswear and menswear collections at the same time, marking an about turn from the past. Gender-fluid clothing, or pieces designed for both sexes, stole the show, taking some daring twists and turns thanks to designers like 44 Studio, Palomo Spain and the new British brand Art School London.
Silhouettes this season included a mash-up of suits and baggy outer-layers, mixed with street-wear, skirts, and scarves, all swirling into one flowing bundle of fabric. These creations were found alongside some more conventional, masculine designs, as well as the truly eccentric. For the latter, think the F/W2018 collection from Walter Van Beirendonck who presented one of the most striking shows of the week, with his weird waterproof looks that came in a bold range of colors.
The Belgian designer’s collection couldn’t have been further removed in style from the dandy looks presented by Spanish brand, Palomo Spain, which opened the men’s shows this season with a high-camp blend of men in dresses, and male models in soldiers’ outfits and frilly designs that looked like they were made to be donned for a Shakespeare play way back when.
Art School London
With their gender fluid F/W2018 collection first shown on the London runways earlier this month at the London Showrooms, this week in Paris, the two young designers behind this quirky collection, Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt, looked good in glittering make-up as they did the legwork to figure out how buyers, or the peeps that come to Fashion Week to buy designs and put them in stores, would place their collections in house. In the menswear or womenswear section, or both?
They have already landed at Selfridges in London and H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles, so time will tell.
Walter Van Beirendonck
Groupies gathered outside an industrial building where the Belgian designer clad skinny male models in a colorful array of waterproofs and bright prints that looked like something from a comic book outing to the world’s rainiest island for freaks. Surely, fans won’t be disappointed here.
This Japanese brand mixed up men’s and womenswear on the Paris runway, with one of the brightest, most youthful collections of the week. Retro-looking sportswear, woolly yellow winter coats for boys, frilly skirts worn across the torso, or even the tartan trend of the season, were all on show at Facetasm this season.
It doesn’t get much more gender fluid and pushing the envelope than 44Studio, whose F/W2018 collection included a range of skirt suits for boys, not to mention what looked like a male wedding dress made of plastic.
A few designers claimed there were politics sewn between the hemlines of their designs, this season, including Rick Owens–famed for his catwalk-conquering penises of 2015–who alternated between what looked like ripped up sportswear-turned-couture, and a cross between a kimono and a futuristic samurai coat, made of shiny panels, presented in different colors.
The American designer rarely disappoints when it comes to far-out designs. This collection was not one of his wildest but, still, there were men in braids, models wearing puffy-looking bags tied around their legs, sports couture in a cheerful mix of red, white and blue stripes, or fur and padding for anyone who still has a winter.
Tartan may have been popular on the runway this season, but no one did it quite like Juun J which mixed and matched three different tartan patterns for one look, and decided to use puffa jackets as scarves for others, this season.
Comme des Garçons
A true original, you can never really go wrong with Rei Kawakubo’s Japanese label if looking for quirky design.
Boris Bidjan Saberi
Even the manliest of men would find it hard to get cold in this outfit.
Futurism, deconstruction, and the Samurai is cool again.
Woo Young Mi
It wasn’t all skirts, tarts and tartans on the runway this season. Classical looks also got reworked, like the lapels on the hipster raincoats shown by the cool South Korean designer.