PARIS (AP) — The photogenic front row at Valentino’s show had “Riverdale” actor Charles Melton, NBA player Jaylen Brown and Stevie Wonder’s model son Kailand Morris among the seated notables, ensuring cameras stayed busy snapping at Paris Fashion Week.
However, the vibrant collection didn’t need VIPs to promote its message, a color-rich ode to world culture.
Designer Virgil Abloh, meanwhile, literally sent spring wafting into the air Wednesday with the offering for his Off-White brand, which attracted renewed interest after the designer last year became artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear – the first African-American to head a major European fashion house.
Here are some highlights of the men’s spring-summer 2020 runway shows.
VALENTINO’S EXOTIC UTOPIA
Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli crossed frontiers, mixed high and low, and blurred cultural boundaries to bring back an encyclopedic show.
A brown djellaba, a loose robe traditionally from North Africa’s Maghreb region, appeared on top of a pair of gray sartorial office pants. Camouflage print sneakers capped the look in a clever, triple contradiction that is typical of the cerebral Italian designer.
It was a style the house nicely summed up as “exotic utopia.”
Combat-style shirts in eye-popping hues created the display’s highest creative point. Piccioli then channeled fantastical landscapes in sporty sweaters featuring luscious prints of trees and oceans. The designer credited the prints to the work of British artist Roger Dean, who applauded from the front row.
The only drawback of the 47-look ensemble was the contrasting colors and competing references, when worn altogether, sometimes came over a tad busy.
OFF-WHITE GOES ROMANTIC
Thousands of wild white flowers planted in a grassy field dazzled Off-White’s guests inside the Carreau du Temple show venue, a 19th century former market hall styled with decorative forged-iron.
The romantic decor seemed to be the starting point for menswear styles that shifted from the usual hard, urban Off-White aesthetic in a dreamier direction.
One cropped-sleeve sweater evoked gentleness with its thick, huggable knit and round, boxy shape; black combat pants below sported a soft touch, owing to fine speckles of white paint.
Elsewhere, a sheer white anorak in loose, lightweight material seemed to float down the torso; its long A-line shape cleverly evoking a 19th-century Parisian dandy’s evening coat.
The piece de resistance? A giant arty patchwork scarf with intricate detailing that enveloped the model and recalled the paintings of Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt.
Fenty, the new fashion house of singer-turned-designer Rihanna, is rolling out clothes online on a “See-Now-Buy-Now” basis to coincide with fashion week.
It’s an open question whether this kind of business model will garner the same attention as a conventional catwalk show, but commentators say Rihanna’s immense personal celebrity will bridge the gap.
The 31-year-old marked the launch of the online collection, entitled “Release 6-19,” with a pop-up at New York luxury store The Webster until the end of June.
Previews of the garments were sent by the LVMH-owned house to media and featured color-rich, sportswear-infused dresses with ruched detailing.
Meanwhile, oversize printed T-shirts, which Fenty said were aimed at “championing the immigrant experience” of Barbados-born Rihanna, also were a centerpiece of the collection. The 31-year-old singer found fame after she moved to the United States for her career as a teenager.
Rihanna this year also made history by becoming the first black woman to head up a major Parisian luxury house.
The unisex collection by Parisian it-designer Alexandre Mattiussi was the first big hitter, Tuesday night, of the Paris menswear calendar.
Despite its lofty location, the grand Grand Palais, the spring-summer 2020 show was a study in tasteful minimalism.
Two neat rows of simple wooden chairs led to a bare runway. The clothes designs, which only sparingly used color, took up this pared-down vibe and ran with it.
Clean monochrome silhouettes emphasized the shoulder — be it the human shoulder exposed with garment’s arm lopped off, or a constructed, rounded or oversize shoulder that evoked the 80s.
Indeed, the 80s was a dominant theme. It produced one of the best looks in the show in the form of a statement fuchsia sleeveless jacket.
All the 54 looks were handled with sensitivity through a simple formula: Any bold item, such as a coat in zany monochrome gingham check, was paired with an unfussy black undergarment to perfectly toe the line between exuberance and elegance.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K