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The level of creativity and quality displayed by some of the designers at last weeks Paris mens Fashion Week was at times exceptional, from Junya Watanbe to Louis Vuitton . The abundance of new and emerging brands is raising he bar in terms of quality as brands aim to compete with one another in what is becomming a ‘squeezed’ market place.
Collections such as that of Adam Kimmel – as already shown on slamxhype – showed a conceptual level of creativity which ranks amongst the biggest fashion houses. The quality of the brands pieces was clear for all of us who were lucky to be present at his launch event last week – a gathering which will stay in the mind of many for years to come. However, such dramatised fashion does raise major issues not only for Adam Kimmel but also other brands who follow such distinctive seasonal styling. Using Kimmel once again as the example, many critics will be left wondering how lovers of the brand can go from Urban Cowboy to Masked Gambler to Compton Connoisseur, a complete image re-invention each season, at a high price point.
Other brands such as Lanvin appeared to have taken inspiration in part from the geometric, gothic styling of brands such as Rick Owens and Damir Doma, perhaps a dangerous move for houses which position themselves as one of the highest markers of standards and stylish living in the fashion industry.
May it be said therefore that some brands are trying simply a little too hard to sell clothes? If Kimmel is too distinctive and Lanvin is comprimising its style then what is the answer?
As a viewer of Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus show last week, it was impossible not to be in awe at the level of creativity on display. The recurring skull motif, allinged with skirts and dresses for men was simply an extension of previous collections - adding a new twist. Surely the distinctive styling which maintained its sense of being easy for the wearer to asymilate into their Comme Wardrobe is the focus which all brands should be looking to, is the true marker of style, design and utility in an age of austerity? Ann Demeulemeester and Dior Homme, were also amongst this selective group of designers who managed to maintain their relationship with previous clients yet add something new to their collections, no easy task in todays market.
With the emergence of brands such as Visvim and Haversack, both of whom produced strong collections, which easily rank amogst the top displayed at fashion week, it is easy to see why older houses feel threatened. Maybe now is the time for the brands who occupy household name status to focus on their heritage. After all the clothes have walked down the runway, it is their reputation which gives traditional houses their market position. Perhaps going back to basics would reallign their client base, before they fade into ‘bit-part players’ in the fashion industry.