Paris Menswear Day One: Sankuanz stages show under Eiffel Tower
Can we give it up big for Sankuanz, who managed to pull off a brilliant agit-prop style video, shot in the depths of night, using the underneath and inside of the Eiffel Tower as its catwalk?
Founded by the designer Shangguan Zhe in 2013, Sankuanz is very possibly China’s single most influential indie fashion marque. The clothes are eye-catching, aggressive and confrontational; mashing up eras and moments – nightclub rockers encountering skateboarders; femme fatales bumping into techy amazons.
There is nothing terribly subtle about Sankuanz, but that is the whole point of the exercise. His fashion is intended to jolt as it juxtaposes eras and attitudes.
The result: dystopian dandies in fringed chain mail tops; hand-painted camouflage battle coats or tuxes embroidered with crystal crosses. Dark-hearted moody babes in leather firemen’s coats; pagoda-shoulder lurex nuns' dresses; lime-green hoodies and broken-chalk-stripe bankers' suits.
The cast marching angrily underneath the giant tower, or scowling directly into the camera as they paraded around the wrought iron corridors of France’s most famous tourist sites. Several wearing metal studded masks worthy of Pulp Fiction.
All appearing in an excellent fashion clip, mixing fashion images with dipping drone shots of the Eiffel Tower, directed by Feng Liang. Quite how he managed the shoot remains a mystery. Call it Chinese chutzpah.
Talk about a great video and tough-chic collection from the softly-spoken Zhe, a 2015 LVMH Prize finalist and the designer who – after a modest teaser video from the opening house, Berluti - got the latest Paris menswear season off to a dynamite start.
Taakk on the tracks
“Is there somebody out there who knows where we will be in 10 years, 20 years? I’d love to meet them. Maybe I already have,” intones the narrator in a charming fashion video from Taakk, the subtlest of the new generation Japanese fashion designers of recent years.
Shot as a train journey along railway lines and a rocky seashore in Japan, it carefully highlighted this collection’s strengths – soft classy yet quirky materials; marvelous green moiré velvet jackets; perfectly styled modernist M-65 jackets and orchid-blotch print sweatshirts.
In a completely digital season, designer Takuya Morikawa sent editors a package of three fabrics highlighting their subtlety – transforming cotton into nylon trim, all the better to make an M-65 hang as it should. A gentle touch from a gentle designer and house.
Bluemarble’s bad-boy mashup
This fresh French brand began its show video with a young man arriving late in an office, even if he was a noticeably dissolute after-hours sort of youth. Using slick video montage techniques, designer Antony Alvarez took his models on an extended tour of the planet: from university lobbies and gilded mansions to giant cellars and massive vistas of Icelandic expanses.
For fall, Alvarez wants his Bluemarble boys in wide pleated pants with studded metal pocket piping; mightily billowing trousers; cloud-print bomber jackets; gold necklace-print silk disco shirts; parachute parkas in yellow and pink. In a word, Instagram-driven rather than sartorially succinct.
Perhaps not the next big thing, but a proper fashion statement from Alvarez, who only founded his house in 2018, and full marks for the inexpensive brand enhancement thanks to this snappy, punchy video directed by Hedi El Chikh.
Whatever else, a fully digital fashion season does unearth some talented film directors.
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