A city currently in flux between rioters and the runway proved to be a democratic setting for designers to unfurl bold denim concepts for Fall/Winter 19-20.
The amount of denim presented at Paris Fashion Week Men’s last week was less than previous seasons, but the pieces that made it onto the catwalk were impactful with a high level of attention paid to tailoring, new finishing technologies and current street style trends.
Here’s a look at the denim highlights from Paris.
All eyes remained on Virgil Abloh and his collection for Louis Vuitton, an eclectic ode to Michael Jackson, humanity and the melting pot that is New York City. Dense with voluminous silhouettes, intricate layering and outerwear that could double as security blankets for when the times get tough, Abloh served a sophisticated vision outside the streetwear scope that most know and expect from him.
Take the washed grey denim trench coat in the collection, executed with patriotic stars and stripes and precise tailoring, or the loose-fitting pleated jeans. In an interview with Vogue, Abloh said, “Yeah, you know, they thought it would be streetwear,” adding, “it takes an intense amount of time to do something subtle.”
However, if streetwear is what the people want, Virgil Abloh delivered in his Fall/Winter 19-20 collection for Off-White titled “Pubic Television.” Streetwear’s de facto colors, neon green and orange, was represented, along with graffiti prints, checkerboard patterns and chunky sneakers. Models drown in extra-large sling bags, inflated puffer coats and oversized suiting that referenced ’90s dad fashion.
Abloh wiped clean the subtle pleating that controlled Louis Vuitton’s baggy jeans and allowed Off-White’s versions to flow and puddle with the same vigor as jeans by ’90s alt-brand JNCO. Drawstring waists were cinched with multi-colored laces. More branded utility belts hung loosely.
Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia has long been among the crew of luxury streetwear forces ushering in the return of baggy. The New York Times recently wrote, “Mr. Gvasalia has made shocking, exciting tweaks to silhouette and form over the last few years; like him or not, he has helped to evolve fashion.” And the evolution continues for Fall/Winter 19-20 with loose fit jeans with ’90s washes, baggy cargo jeans adorned with keychains, cut and paste denim constructions and camouflage/denim hybrids.
The collection was inspired by the dark side of the Internet. Jeans with lasered logos referenced the wide world web, while the show’s first look—a black turtleneck top and relaxed blue jeans—was a homage to Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Copenhagen-based label Han Kjobenhavn found comfort revisiting the ’90s for its Paris Fashion Week debut. The collection checked off all the nostalgic necessities like dad suiting, soccer jerseys, touristic Denmark-themed tops and sweatpants. However, the line took a turn toward embellishment with denim. Frayed seaming and shading swirled across black and indigo high-waist straight cut jeans and jackets, offering a bold fashion moment with commercial potential. Not to mention a reprieve from the extra-wide jean silhouettes that flooded most other collections.
The deep sea served as the inspiration for Chinese designer Shangguan Zhe’s collection for Sankuanz. While the collection was rich with patent leather trousers, second skin tops and goggle-like glasses, Zhe recreated the protective feeling of scuba gear in denim with skinny jeans and slim denim tops. The jeans were embellished with bold, waterproof zippers. The denim pieces also hinted to a return of dirty washes—another ’90s fashion trend the denim world is due to revisit. The collection came together with croc-embossed belts with exaggerated metal tips, square-toe footwear and boxy accessories.