Bode, Phipps, Hed Mayner – The First Day of Men’s Shows in Paris Was A Showcase of Emerging Talent
As the fashion crowds land into the heat of Parisian sun, a new dawn of talent rises. This season more so than ever before, the first day of Paris Fashion Week seems to be the unofficial day of emerging names. While London Fashion Week is most known for its up-and-coming names, the same can’t be said about the French equivalent, its schedule overflowing with big fashion houses and established brands. But things change, and the Paris opener seems like a great way to ease into serious fashion coming up in the next five days. Recognised international names of tomorrow like Palomo Spain, Bode and Phipps are sharing their day with smaller, but commercially successful brands like Heron Preston, Cmmn Sweden and Ami. Day 1 of Paris has officially become an unmissable spectacle in its own right. Who were our absolute favourites? Scroll down and find out.
First up, Bode. Tradition is a sweet instrument when used properly, and Emily Bode is doing it right. Known for her intricate ways of handling textiles, and utilising fine deadstock and vintage fabrics in her designs, the French catwalk debut of the NYC-based designer was an unexpected meeting of past, present and future. The silhouettes – slightly childlike and informed by mid-century workwear uniforms – were clearly taken from old photographs, but, thanks to the rich, multicoloured textiles, seemed every bit modern. For SS20, Bode was inspired by her familial ties to the Bode Wagon Company, a wagon building workshop from Ohio dating all the way back to 1824. Stories of a travelling man unravelled as his simplistic clothes became adorned with traditional American craft techniques and fabrics he found on his way, travelling everywhere from the Deep South to the West Coast. The knitted polo spelling out the brand’s name was just an example of the ways an elaborate vision can translate into easy-to-wear, easy-to-buy pieces. This is probably why Bode won the CFDA award for best Emerging Designer this year, and is one of the 2019 LVMH Prize finalists. Start putting your pennies on the side – this one is worth saving up for. Lucky for all of us, there’s about six months before these Bode pieces hit the stores.
Exactly an hour after Emily Bode, a fellow American had his Parisian catwalk debut too. Spencer Phipps, another one of this year’s LVMH Prize finalists, took us camping. Somewhere in the Middle America, cowboys and hikers came together in the mind of activewear-inspired Phipps. The unique casting, showcasing character in place of model clones, was a nod to the designer’s sense of humour with fashion, taking this opportunity to show more than just beautiful clothes. Titled Like a Rock, the collection’s eclectic mood board saw everyone from mountain trekkers, Johnny Cash and Neil Armstrong. Or at least that’s what we saw – the Western cowboys coming together with the space cowboys and serving some functional glam. And when they’re thirsty, there’s the Phipps water bottle hiding in their Phipps backpack, probably filled with something that isn’t water. The designer elaborated on his sporty sensibilities with the SS20 show, injecting new fabrications and an elevated storyline into a market that’s already saturated with activewear. Unlike the Patagonia one, the Phipps hiker probably has some psychedelics hidden in their pocket. We already know Matches Fashion bought a big chunk of the brand’s AW19 collection, coming online soon. After this stellar outing, we’re pretty sure they’ll be buying into this one too.
Backstage photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.
Easy, breezy, beautiful. Israeli-born, Paris-based Hed Mayner has a touch of a fashion angel, crafting piles of fabrics into garments that look as light as a feather. Boxy jackets, billowing shirts and oversized trousers. The body underneath was hidden poetically, like it descended out of a naturalist painting. Reducing classic wardrobe pieces to the core of their function. That was the ethos behind Mayner’s SS20 collection, one that was elaborated in ways menswear shows only rarely are. A game of layering, giving and taking lines from the body through morphing of traditional silhouettes. Linens, wools and thick cottons looked pure, especially in the organic colour scheme Mayner decided to paint with this season. Did it feel stripped down? Absolutely not. While the subtlety of fabrications and colours created the first impact, visually dissecting each of the looks revealed there is so much more in there too. Both sculptural and fluid, the wearer of Hed Mayner’s clothes was given absolute freedom of movement and expression. Once you’ve got these clothes on, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are going. The only important thing is – you’ll be looking pretty damn flawless on your way.
Backstage photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.