There were plenty of plunging necklines at Dries Van Noten this week
Paris (AFP) - Plunging necklines, short-shorts and bottoms peaking out – this has been a menswear week in Paris with plenty of skin on show.
From upstart brands such as Egonlab to fabled houses Hermes and Loewe, designers have been keen to lay things bare for a more liberated male clientele.
Tiny shorts were the signature look at the Hermes show Saturday.
“Guys have nice legs too,” creative director Veronique Nichanian told AFP. “It’s time to see their legs!”
Short shorts were a key look at Hermes
The backless look – already sported on red carpets by a few celebrities such as actor Timothee Chalamet – cropped up on a few catwalks this week.
Loewe gave it an ironic twist, with an outfit that featured a completely bare back, but a huge rectangular bag carried like a shield on the front.
Things were particularly spicy at Egonlab, the young label by French duo Florentin Glemarec and Kevin Nompeix, who are known for their genderless aesthetic.
They had suit jackets with a square neckline revealing the whole chest and very low waist trousers that offered a shot of the bottom.
“There’s a lot of skin this season,” Glemarec told AFP.
“We wanted to free ourselves from all the codes, especially in tailoring, to replace it with something more creative, more fun,” added Nompeix.
Timothee Chalamet has been an early adopter of the backless trend
The idea, they said, is to encourage people “to no longer be afraid of their bodies, to no longer hide behind clothes and instead use them to transcend who we are”.
It was also about bare feet at Dries Van Noten on Thursday, where everything from sequined shorts to formal coats and suits were paired with flip-flops.
“I like having this naked side, with transparencies, plunging necklines, but also on feet,” the Belgian designer told AFP backstage. It represents “a new form of elegance”, he added.
Buyers were impressed.
“Dries Van Noten never disappoints, but this season was an exceptionally strong collection,” said Simon Longland of British department store Harrods.
- ‘Carnal being’ -
There was a similar vibe with the hotly tipped new Franco-Turkish designer Burc Akyol, showing for the first time as part of the official fashion week calendar.
One of his signature pieces – the slitted, baggy trousers left plenty of hairy leg on show.
Givenchy also put some skin on show
“I’ve always found that people who hide the body in their design are in body denial,” he told AFP. “I like to exist as a carnal being.”
Spain’s Arturo Obegero had his models bare-chested or in a sort of jumpsuit ending mid-thigh.
He imagined an “evening surfer” on the River Seine with a “romantic and seductive silhouette”, he told AFP.
There were also flashes of skin at Bluemarble and Givenchy.
“This nudity is very telling of this moment when there is a lot of talk about gender fluidity,” said Olivier Gabet, a fashion historian at the Louvre.
“Young designers do not compartmentalise. Their collections are often a mixture of men and women,” he said.
This not, however, necessarily about truly genderless clothes, he added, but also a commercial move to hit multiple markets at once.