Paris Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2024 is the final stop on the month-long European menswear tour, with previous layovers in London, Florence, and Milan. As ever, the packed six-day schedule features the city’s most storied brands – chief among them this season Louis Vuitton, where Pharrell Williams began the week’s proceedings with a blockbuster menswear debut for the house that took place on the city’s oldest standing bridge, Pont Neuf. Meanwhile, at Dior, which is scheduled for Friday, Kim Jones will celebrate five years as menswear creative director of the house. New collections from Loewe, Givenchy, Hermès and Dries Van Noten, among others, will also feature alongside an array of rising talent.
Here, in our ongoing round-up, is the best of Paris Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2024, as it happens.
The best of Paris Fashion Week Men’s S/S 2024
A feeling of lightness – in both construction and spirit – has defined Véronique Nichanian’s over-three-decade tenure as artistic director of Hermès’ men’s universe. It was a philosophy on full display in the light-filled main hall of Paris’ 1939-built Palais d'Iéna, where Nichanian presented a collection the house described as ‘as soft and sweet as a summer breeze, stirred by a tender strength’. It was nearly impossible not to be seduced by the vision (more so since Paris is currently in the midst of a sweltering heatwave), which began with an airy semi-sheer shirt with subtle grid design and just-cropped trousers, before moving through a gamut of lightweight layers, from abbreviated shorts and gauzy tailoring to twill shirts constructed from Hermès scarves. Equally seductive accessories included tote bags constructed from grids of cord, double bridle-leather belts and shimmers of palladium-finish jewellery. ‘The summer is serene and joyful, the air is cool, the allure unequivocally sensual,’ said the house.
A series of fountains by American sculptor Lynda Benglis had been installed in the Loewe showspace at Paris’ Garde Républicaine. It was the first time the collection of works had been shown together in a single location, said Anderson, noting that particularly with the central trio – which reached upwards to the roof and sprayed water out onto the catwalk – he was fascinated by the way they dwarfed the viewer who is forced to look upwards to their height. It was this feeling of perspective – of looking from the ground up – which inspired his latest menswear outing, designed to feel like you were looking up at the model through a fish-eye lens. As such, elongated wide-leg trousers and jeans sat high on the waist, the upper half comprising tucked-in shirts and cropped knitwear, or shimmering sculptural pieces which recalled twists of fabric but appeared solid to the touch.
‘I wanted the idea of looking up at someone, as the audience was looking up at the statues, [it’s] the idea that the torso becomes smaller and the leg longer. The look became dwarfed, but I liked that,’ he said after the show. It provided a continuing exploration of what he described as ‘turning the straightforward into something not so straightforward’; as such, there were enormous tops which evoked swatches of fabric (complete with an equally large dressmaker’s pin as adornment), crystals which ‘swarmed’ across shirts, trousers and sunglasses, or beautiful leather jumpsuits which sliced open down the sides. Though beyond such theatrical gestures on the runway, it is perhaps Anderson’s biggest trick that among it all there was a true proposition here for real-world dressing: the perfect wide-leg jean or chino, a colourful argyle-knit jumper, a slouchy tuxedo jacket and banker shirt. ‘Everything derived from the idea of the wardrobe,’ said Anderson of the extraordinary collection, which continued to cement his near-unparalleled position as a designer setting the agenda for the season ahead.
As ever, Officine Générale creative director and founder Pierre Mahéo began his latest runway show with a letter to attendees, earnestly laying out how the S/S 2024 men’s and womenswear collection came to be. This season, he noted that while he loved the monochrome silhouettes presented as part of the previous show in January – ‘I’ve always had a penchant for using similar shades from head to toe,’ he wrote – for this latest collection he instead wanted to inject warmth and colour after ‘these cold and rainy last few months in Paris’. He also described a want for reduction: ‘rather than add, I looked to remove, lighten, and strip away. Little by little, I began to wonder whether simplifying may become a language in itself, the season’s defining mood.’ It led to a collection which demonstrated Mahéo’s knack for uncomplicated elegance: whether elastic-waist cotton trousers, languid dresses or matching pyjama-style shirts and trousers. ‘Colour, lightness, optimism, simplicity,’ concluded Mahéo, facets of the collection which looked particularly appealing in the heat of the sun-soaked courtyard of Monnaie de Paris.
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus
A typically tight-lipped Rei Kawakubo said in a brief statement on her latest Comme des Garçons Homme Plus collection that ‘in order to find a new world we have to go beyond reality’. Symbolic of this was a motif evocative of the curtains of theatres, which appeared not only as a trompe l’oeil print across garments, but also in the construction of draped tailoring which opened up the front and back and was held in place with tie fastenings (not unlike traditional curtain ties). But despite the theatrical mood – bold spiked hair pieces and headbands made in collaboration between Arai Taeko and Gary Card featured discarded glasses, model fish and paint brushes – there were plenty of real-world wardrobe propositions from the Japanese designer, whether the striking simplicity of the opening pinstripe tailored jacket with overlaid white poplin collar, elongated shirting or the latest collaborative sneakers from the brand and Nike ACG. Hybrid pieces also featured, like a pair of double-toed derby shoes or a tartan jacket with sleeves protruding from the chest.
‘For spring, I was thinking about how young men in the 17th century would go on a “Grand Tour” to see important destinations across Europe, and come home more cultivated,’ explained Acne Studios creative director Jonny Johansson of his latest menswear collection, which imagined a contemporary sightseer incorporating the spoils of their travels into an eclectic wardrobe. As such, there was an amalgam of colour and texture: antique-silver coated denim, bleached knitwear, patchwork trompe l’oeil, postcard-inspired prints and a colour palette inspired by the bold hues of Venetian Murano glass. ‘It reminded me that when you’re travelling, you choose to pack your really personal garments, and these get mixed up with new-found pieces, maybe historical garments, or merchandise you bought from a tourist shop,’ he continued. ‘You experiment with what you have in your suitcase – you feel kind of free to change your identity, and to be more eccentric with your style… It’s about an accumulation of things you’ve picked up along the way.’
In an echo of longtime collaborator Pharrell Williams, who showed his debut menswear collection for Louis Vuitton on Pont Neuf earlier this week, Kenzo creative director Nigo also chose a bridge over the Seine as the backdrop for his latest show. The narrow Passerelle Debilly footbridge provided an altogether more low-key – but no less charming – setting than Williams’ blockbuster, a reflection of the playful ease which has defined the Japanese designer’s tenure at the house so far. ‘A ready-to-wear wardrobe suspended between east and west,’ described the press notes of a collection which was inspired by City Pop, a radio station Nigo listened to during his formative years in 1980s Japan. He said that in the collection the station’s unique ‘mélange of pop, funk and boogie’ was reflected in poppy, preppy silhouettes and a bold use of colour and print (like the array of floral motifs which ran throughout, or a collaboration with Japanese graphic artist Verdy). Other pieces ‘code switched’ between eastern and western wardrobes, like the judo uwagi kimono, reimagined here as a chore jacket.
British designer Kim Jones celebrated five years at the helm of Dior menswear with a trick: all at once, models rose from the floor of the vast grey box constructed by the house in Paris’ Ecole Militaire. The sci-fi-like gesture prompted an outburst of applause from the audience, the models circling the runway before disappearing back into the floor again in threes (they rose once more for the grand finale). The collection, Jones said, was a celebration of Christian Dior’s creative directors – ‘from the silhouettes of Yves Saint Laurent to the embroideries of Gianfranco Ferré; the cabochons of Monsieur Dior to the textures of Marc Bohan.’
It was Saint Laurent, though, that he said was most formative to the collection’s construction: here figured in looks which merged masculine and feminine (shrunken cardigans embellished with crystals, tweed jackets hung delicately on the shoulder, abbreviated shorts) with a broad use of colour. Saint Laurent’s 1959 collections for the house were a particular reference, Jones noting inspiration from the ‘volumes, vents, pleats and necklines’ in his tailoring and outerwear this season, notably in a series of elegant A-line trench coats. Criss-crossing cannage motifs also appeared throughout.
‘Dior is an haute couture house: it is all about the clothes. At the heart of Dior is silhouette, shape, technique and fabrication of the very highest order. I like to think that in my five years of being here I have never forgotten this,’ Jones said. ’It’s a culture we have inherited from womenswear past and applied to menswear present. And for the first time in our collections, it is a collage of influences from different Dior predecessors and eras we wanted to pay tribute to at once – together with some of our own. All are connected through texture and technique alongside some of the Dior pop icons, particularly the cannage.’
Paul Smith’s latest outing saw the British designer return to familiar ground for a collection which he called ‘The Suit (But Different)’. Continuing recent seasons’ exploration of the relevance of tailoring for a new generation, Smith began with a catalogue of reference points which spanned 1970s to present day. A sense of playfulness was key, said Smith – his desire is to overturn tailoring’s stuffy connotations – with riffs on the ‘Canadian tuxedo’ (a denim jacket and barrel-fit jeans), and what he called the ‘morning suit’, a blazer worn with tailored boxer shorts. Workwear and utility wear were also prescient references, while a typically bold colour palette – pops of red, blue and pink inspired by a single frame from Lawrence of Arabia – was utilised throughout.
‘Tailoring is so often thought of as such a serious business, but I’ve always been keen to show people how much fun you can have with it – especially now,’ said Smith. ‘So, while this show is an homage to suits and tailoring as an art and form of craft – one that requires a huge amount of skill and expertise – it’s also about putting humour and joy back into smart dressing. I’ve always been interested in the question of “what exactly is a suit?”, and I hope this show serves as something of an answer.’
Junya Watanabe Man
For several seasons, Junya Watanabe has placed collaboration at the forefront of his menswear collections, uniting with a vast array of brands often in a single show – Carhartt, Oakley, New Balance, Palace and The North Face among them. For S/S 2024, though such collaborations continued, he proposed a new approach. ‘My collection is comprised of many collaborators, however this time I focused on Junya Watanabe (womenswear) as the main collaboration,’ the Japanese designer explained. ‘The idea and the way of my approach in creation of Junya Watanabe is completely different to Man, so they are different brands to me. I wanted to incorporate clothes like Junya Watanabe into Man.’ It marked a shift away from the work- and utility-wear silhouettes for which he is synonymous towards the more dramatic, poetic gestures of his womenswear collections: elongated sleeveless trench coats came in patchwork fabrications, collarless tailoring with Chanel-like bouclé tweed panels, and a series of leather jackets appeared constructed from hundreds of belts. For the devoted Junya Watanabe Man customer, a sense of groundedness remained in utility cargo pants (worn with fitted ribbed vests) or jackets which drew inspiration from fireman’s uniforms, hi-vis vests and workmen’s overalls.
Dries Van Noten
‘Disrupted elegance,’ described Dries Van Noten of his latest menswear collection, an exercise in reduction that nonetheless retained the Belgian designer’s poetic gestures of colour and silhouette. Set amid the abandoned glamour of a condemned building in Paris’ 17th arrondissement – the vaulted show space saw paint peeling away from the walls – it began with the simplicity of a trench coat, subtly elongated to reveal just a slither of trouser and leather flip-flop beneath. ‘It is a reflection on refinement, celebrating subtle details and nuance over bold gestures’ read the collection notes. ‘The power and clarity of reduction. Stripping away extraneous over matter.’ Indeed, there was little in the way pattern – save for a series of subtle 1970s-style prints later in the show which the notes called ‘non-obvious’ – Van Noten instead focussing on refining the way a garment looks and feels on the body. The plays on texture were most seductive: the lightness of a sheer mousseline top or featherweight technical parka, the raw edge of a wool overcoat, or the shimmer of pailettes across sequinned shirts and shorts.
A strong menswear collection from Matthew M Williams saw the American designer look towards what he called the ‘archetypes of smartness’ for a reconsideration of contemporary elegance. He began with the school uniform – ’a dual symbol of democracy and constraint‘ – here reimagined in precise high-waist tailored trousers worn with shirts, ties, and shrunken jumpers. He called the school uniform our ‘formative discovery of elegance’, using it as a jumping-off point for a beautifully constructed collection of tuxedo-style tailoring – gently nipped at the waist of the jacket, fluid in the trouser – which culminated in a pair of black and white sleeveless jumpsuits without side seams. Amongst it all, convincing sportier elements reminiscent of his work at own-label 1017-ALYX-9SM – T-shirts covered with enormous eyelets to expose the skin beneath, slick-to-the-body tank tops worn with slouching denim jeans, and a series of utility-style bags which wrapped around the waist and hung on the back.
‘With our world conditions under increasing threat, jubilance seems like the wrong note but maybe it’s the only correct moral response? Beyond being nice to each other, isn’t personal joy what we are put on earth to do?’ said Rick Owens of his latest collection, presented in the deco forecourt of Paris’ Palais de Tokyo. Under enormous scaffold towers which erupted with plumes of colourful smoke, he settled on a collection of ‘grim, determined elegance’ entirely crafted from the colour his clothing is perhaps most synonymous with, black (‘a formal, restrained, albeit admittedly drama queen, black’). Voluminous trousers in wool, silk and cotton faille pinched the waist and flared at the hem to drag along the damp floor (rain drizzled as the show went on), while T-shirts in silk and leather wrapped seductively around the body. Most dramatic was a series of elongated hooded looks, which saw models trudge, monk-like, into the mist.
Homme Plissé Issey Miyake
‘A refinement of what is quintessential to the brand,’ said Homme Plissé Issey Miyake of its latest collection, held in Musée des Arts Décoratifs and titled ‘Everyday, One of a Kind, Now and Hereafter’. As such, the collection reflected on the Issey Miyake offshoot’s essential element – the plissé pleat – beginning with an enormous roll of pleated paper which was unfurled along the runway. As the show went on, the Homme Plissé design team cut the paper into sections, revealing garments from the collection inside which they then placed on the models by hand. Typically colourful – this season, colours were inspired by hues that could be extracted from natural materials – the various pieces went onto the models’ bodies with ease, an encapsulation of the brand’s effortless philosophy. Fresh for the season were a series of horizontal-pleated garments, which lent a sculptural silhouette, and the voluminous ‘Wing’ coat, inspired by the wings of birds.
‘That’s the long-distance runner, the quietness is loud too,’ read a quote from American artist David Hammons on the accompanying notes to Grace Wales Bonner’s latest collection, titled ‘Marathon’. A meditation on the determined grace of long-distance runners – ‘the unwavering spirit striding, soaring’ – saw the British designer look towards the legendary marathon runners of Ethiopia and Kenya, Eliud Kipchoge and Haile Gebrselassie among them. In an ode to ‘long journeys and life missions’, Wales Bonner elucidated that several of the garments were imbued with a sense of time: Tibeb fabric was hand-woven in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, raffia hand-embroidered onto skirts and vests, while macramé garments were adorned with glass beads from Ghana (recent collections have seen the designer double-down on handcraft). Such crafts take time and practice, which Wales Bonner linked to both the art of the marathon and her own ongoing practice as a designer – ’the point where mantras repeat without effort, where routine transcends into a tranquil flow’. A new collaboration with Adidas Originals also featured, including a replica of the Neftenga sneaker worn by Gebrselassie to win the Berlin Marathon in 2008 in a world record-breaking time.
On the seat of each attendee at Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh’s latest show was a keyring, created alongside artist Daniel Von Weinberger and featuring the discarded heads of Barbie-doll-style toys. The collection notes explained that they were a contemporary riff on voodoo dolls, a reflection of the collection itself, which looked past popular understandings of the practice – namely, that such dolls are used to inflict harm on others – towards the origins of ‘vodou’, which began in Haiti. Here, vodou has a more expansive outlook: ‘everything within the universe affects everything else... We are all a unity, the notion of the unity of all forces of nature is central to vodou,’ read the notes. It provided a reflection of the designers’ own border-crossing approach, which they call ‘Caribbean Couture’ (Rushemy was born in Curaçao, and Herrebrugh has family roots in the Dominican Republic). A vest, jacket and trousers in intricately woven plastic spoke became symbolic of interconnectedness (‘a continuous flow of energy’), while other garments featured works by Haitian artist Day Brièrre, printed on organic silks and woven into jacquard using their signature algae yarns.
Pharrell Williams‘ blockbuster Louis Vuitton debut saw the polymathic musician shut down Paris’ Pont Neuf to present a star-studded first menswear collection for the brand (guests included Beyoncé, Rihanna and Jay-Z, the last closing out the evening with a musical perfromance). Tracing a metaphorical line between Virginia, USA, where Williams was born and grew up, and Paris, the collection featured varsity wear inspired by the Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, alongside riffs on the house’s signature ‘Damier’ check. The historic show ended with a performance from Virginia-based gospel choir Voices of Fire. ‘When you come from a culture that has been purposefully blocked and set in disadvantaged situations, you can’t imagine what’s even possible. But there’s this narrative that’s changing,’ said Williams. ‘When I say the sun is shining on me – and it’s shining on all of us – listen, this is a French house but they went right back to America and found another Black man, and gave me the keys.’
Read our full review of the show here.
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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