High Concepts Flourished at Paris Men’s Fashion Week

Presented in a “phygital” format, the marquee event offered compelling collaborations and hyper-conceptual takes on menswear in equal measure. We round up our favorites below.

Virgil Abloh’s Skyline Puffer Jackets

The award for most WTF design goes to Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh’s wearable cityscapes, two jackets lined in 3D architecture that were presented during a live-streamed runway show unveiling the brand’s fall-winter 2021 menswear collection. The Paris Skyline Puffer is adorned with familiar landmarks such as the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral, while the New York City Skyline Puffer showcases an amalgam of global skyscrapers, including the John Hancock Center in Chicago and Hong Kong’s I.M. Pei–designed Bank of China building. Shot at the Tennis Club de Paris against a modernist set inspired by the Barcelona Pavilion, the choreographed film, titled Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light, mixed in elements of poetry, dance, and music. —Nate Storey


Thom Browne Childrenswear

The perfect school uniform apparently resembles Thom Browne’s childhood Catholic school getup. the dapper American designer conjured an ode to his favorite schoolhouse outfit: a completely gender-neutral ensemble for children. It appears that his namesake gray suits have shrunk tinier than they already were, comprising a gray jacket, knit sweater, gray shorts/skirt, leather oxfords, and tube socks with Browne’s signature stripe motif. 

Unveiled in a short film by Cass Bird, Thom Browne Childrenswear features a miniature version of his signature wardrobe that was introduced part and parcel with the 2021 menswear collection. The black-and-white vignette is set in a midcentury office mise en scène where debonair children tap on vintage typewriters in choreographed fashion. These objects—no doubt completely foreign to them—result in a boredom-fueled tantrum. Bouncing off of the walls, the children are all wearing more or less the same thing, yet look completely different in their garb. “They were jumping on the desks and throwing things at each other,” Browne told The Cut. “They were being themselves. [Even though] they’re all wearing the same thing, the personalities of each and every one of them is so apparent.” —Gabrielle Golenda


Loewe x Joe Brainard

Lately, Jonathan Anderson has used his platform to celebrate the creative forces that influenced him, from ceramics pioneer Ken Price to the beloved Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. This season, the Loewe artistic director turns the spotlight to Joe Brainard, the late multi-hyphenate known for vibrant collages and autobiographical stream-of-consciousness texts that seem to transcend time. And the striking visuals of the Tulsa-born artist’s pansy collages are on full display in Loewe’s A/W 2021 collection, which translates his delicate floral formations onto vibrant tactile knits and tent-like trousers that elongate to reveal full artworks. 

On Instagram, meanwhile, Loewe hosted conversations between close friends and collaborators of Brainard, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1994. “[His] artwork and writing have a relevance not only to today’s world but to the future too, because people everywhere are delighted and encouraged by his openness, kindness, and courage, as well as the pleasure he took in sharing his work with his friends and admirers,” Ron Padgett, an American poet, explains in one of the videos. “Then there’s his artistic genius, which never goes out of style.” —Ryan Waddoups


Dior Homme x Peter Doig

Since Kim Jones joined Dior Homme as artistic director, he’s landed a multitude of high-profile artist collaborations—Daniel Arsham, KAWS, Hajime Sorayama, Kenny Scharf, and most recently Amoako Boafo—that have yielded some wildly imaginative and over-the-top takes on traditional menswear. The latest creative force joining the French luxury label’s roster is Peter Doig, widely considered one of today’s greatest living artists. The Scottish painter turned out to be an ideal collaborator. His unsettling landscapes, which blend reality, memories, and cinematic references, translate seamlessly to the collection, which is marked by swirling painterly motifs that seem to swim freely across clean-lined jacquard coats, windbreakers, and semi-diaphanous shirts. Dior debuted the collection in an audience-free runway show, inspired by “the ceremony of the everyday,” which was backdropped by enormous wooden sculptures that resemble speakers—and a vast, swirling artwork that’s signature Doig. —Ryan Waddoups

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