Wednesday 7th April

| BY Paul Toner

10 Picks of Paris: Hed Mayner is our First Designer to Meet

After the global Covid-19 outbreak forced all menswear shows to be cancelled early last summer, a rescheduled and fully digitalised Paris Fashion Week Men’s, July 2020, was to be the guinea pig of what is now considered the new normal in our industry. Five days of solely URL fashions – where the kitchen table became the new front row and ticket-less shows democratised the catwalk – showcased the city’s menswear talent to an entirely new audience. Digital fashion week meant these designers were now operating on a global stage. The possibilities were limitless.

We’ve picked the Paris menswear designers who have taken virtual fashion in their stride, who have defied convention and used this state of flux to tear out pages from the rulebook and completely rewrite it. Each has made navigating this strange, on-screen fashion world we now reside in all that more exciting. Long live these digital shapeshifters.

The Israeli designer Hed Mayner makes clothes that are harmoniously un-sized and sculptured. He wrestles heaps of fabric into poetic modes of protection for the human form, and created his SS21 collection in the thick of the first lockdown, at a moment when, he says, “people started dressing up more for themselves since the streets were empty”.

With interior over exterior in mind, the Karl Lagerfeld Prize winner at 2019’s edition of the LVMH Prize worked in ivory, beige and gentle blue, crafting layered, swollen tailoring that, when peeled back, revealed lightweight wools, thick cotton and the most sublime linens. Mayner says this collection “has a sense of reduction”, with him utilising simple shapes and strong textures to create genderless wearables that make for a pragmatic, everyday uniform.

Which fashion designers were you inspired by when you were growing up?

“Growing up, I was inspired by uniforms, military clothing, workwear, vintage clothes, religious clothes. Later on, I was exposed to and impressed by the work of the Japanese designers of the 1980s and the Belgian designers, and many others came after.”

What does home mean to you?

“I feel at home in many different places. To me, a home is a place that keeps you warm and restful. I think it’s also an idea or a mental state we try to define, but when someone doesn’t have a home it’s definitely the worst thing.”

What’s your take on digital fashion week?

“I think the fact that fashion week managed to run digitally was a great way to overcome the obstacles. That also marked a new era where you can do without being physically present. It created new equality and undermined what existed, but I also really hope it will change, even if just partly, in the near future. The fact that it is impossible to travel freely has made the bureaucracy even more massive, and the way everything becomes imaginary prevents us from seeing things and experiencing them more fully.”

What’s the best thing about showing in Paris?

“There are many good things – the fact that Paris has become like a second home to me, the people I work with and the time we spend together while preparing the show, the people you meet and the fact that your work is put into context.”

What’s the worst thing about showing in Paris?

“I have a fear of flights, so the worst thing is having to fly, but at the same time, after not travelling for a while, I also miss it.”

Portrait by Young Kyu Yoo. Taken from Issue 53 of 10 Men – NO PLACE, LIKE, HOME – order your copy here.