With so-called co-ed shows with both male and female models almost becoming the rule for men’s fashion weeks -- the reverse rarely applies -- Dior’s Kris Van Assche cried halt.
In a show that married rave culture and mosh pit punks with haute couture, the Belgian designer insisted that young men had the right to wear something better than mass-produced one-size-fits-all street and sportswear.
“Rather than accepting that all people want to wear is sweatshirts and jeans, I want to claim back the idea of tailoring, a new tailoring, one that talks to young people,” he told AFP.
Called “Hardior,” a play on the hardcore ravers that inspired him and the storied brand’s handmade traditions, Van Assche’s autumn-winter collection married classic super-tailored black Dior jackets with short, ankle length trousers.
His highly-worked makeover of casual and street wear forms even extended to bomber jacket suits, with the collection’s mostly black trousers, coats and shoes often matched with acid red, orange and greeny-blues.
Men’s fashion “is all over the place” right now, Van Assche admitted. “Some big labels are not putting on shows and others are mixing men and women.”
‘No to androgyny’
And he questioned the androgynous look that has gone hand in hand with the trend for more unisex and oversized clothes.
“There is nothing more lovely than a girl in a man’s suit, it’s an interesting contrast,” he said.
“But if men’s clothes become feminine we lose the contrast, and that doesn’t interest me,” he added.
“At a time when we are questioning ourselves I do not doubt. I know what a Dior man should be,” Van Assche declared.
With Yves Saint Laurent deciding not to hold a men’s show this season, most of the other big Paris names -- and a legion of smaller ones -- have been slipping mini “capsule” female collections into their menswear line-ups.
But some hugely influential designers like Dries Van Noten have held the line with a notably masculine Mod-tinged show, while Cerruti stayed all-male for its retro 1930s gangster collection.
Hermes stuck to its classic template with some highly desirable waisted leather jackets and a Debrett’s dozen of expensively casual looks that oozed suave elegance.
Like Dior, Korean label Wooyoungmi also tried to give more old-school menswear something of the street without losing its class.
And nothing says establishment more than the Prince of Wales overcheck that ran right through the collection.
But designer Katie Chung said its romanticism was actually inspired by Irish poet and wit Oscar Wilde who spent his life sending up his betters.
“We really believe that men today are still poetic. We’re trying to bring together this classic men’s wardrobe that’s romantic and sophisticated with street wear, like hooded jumpers and jogging pants,” Chung told AFP.