Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Paris Menswear Design Directions: Issey Miyake, Walter van Beirendonck and Henrik Vibskov

Walter Van Beirendonck's abstract, painterly design for a voluminous shirt, part of his SS18 menswear collection in Paris. Cover picture of Issey Miyake finale and all photographs by Elli Ioannou. Tap pictures for full-screen, slideshow
We look at three fashion designers with outstanding new menswear collections, showing the way forward for Spring/Summer 2018. While Japanese creative director Yusuke Takahashi's collection at Issey Miyake was full of billowing tunics inspired by the desert, Belgian Walter Van Beirondonck's was dominated by bold colour and abstract, graphic designs while Danish designer Henrik Vibskov took us into the fantasy world of sleep with vivid prints of charming monsters and summery stripes. Story and photographs by Elli Ioannou

Full sleeves and deep blue cotton at Issey Miyake
THE aesthetic of Japanese fashion house Issey Miyake, headed by creative director Yusuke Takahashi, makes a strong contrast to the work of Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendock and Danish designer Henrik Vibskov. Yet their menswear collections have at their core a shared design approach with the emphasis firmly on the creative process at the heart of their collections, a method of working more traditionally associated with art. The treatment and exploration of techniques used in developing new ideas and fabrics is subtle at Issey Miyake while the mixed prints at Henri Vibskov are graphic and the bold silhouettes at Walter Van Beirendonck are like pieces of Pop Art. Both Van Beirendock and Henrik Vibskov use the design process to express their views on subcultures, human behaviour and identity. They take an artistic approach to their design and they like to create an intervention or disruption of the ‘societal norm’ presenting collections akin to conceptual installations.

These designers take an artistic approach and like to create a disruption of the societal norm presenting collections more akin to conceptual art than fashion. 

Overall, the designers included strong directions that were seen at the SS18 collections in Paris and Milan that will be stand-out themes for next spring. Retro references ran through runways, exploring the 1980s, with high-waisted pants and voluminous parkas and suits with padded shoulders mixed with shirts decorated with strong prints and patterns. Sportswear was a feature including leggings, over sized pieces and performance clothing. Exotic motifs and brilliant colours were integral to the current zeitgeist. Stripes featured in in every shape and form ~ vertical, horizontal and diagonal on suits, shirts and sweaters. Socks were also a design accessory worn with sandals or lace-up shoes and long shorts.

 Long, vivid socks & check shorts
at Walter Van Beirendonck
Through the Desert was the overarching theme of Issey Miyake's spring/summer 2018 collection, held in the baking courtyard of the Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris. The inspiration was a journey into the desert where lightweight fabrics and fluid designs would be needed. The house of Issey Miyake manages to maintain it's signature intricate designs while simultaneously exploring subtle yet new techniques. These are fused with a contemporary look to deliver a consistently sophisticated line that is always unmistakably Issey Miyake.

Issey Miyake maintains the house's signature intricate designs while simultaneously exploring subtle yet new techniques.

Fluid tunics with marbled patterns at
Issey Miyake
Like brushstrokes with variations of tones, the Issey Miyake SS18 men's collection includes earthy colours mixed with neutrals and midnight blues. The layered, billowing shapes float in the breeze and are made of textured cottons, linens and polyester using both traditional and innovative fabric treatment. Part of the Issey Miyake oeuvre are the house's signature techniques such as dyeing and shrinking garments, with materials such as jacquard woven with wool, polyester and cotton. The salt-shrinking techniques used in this collection created rippling patterns like water on sand. Creative director Yusuke Takahashi said he went to the desert in the United Arab Emirates which inspired his latest work, the shifting of light across the dunes and stretches of parched earth gave him the ideas for the palette and patterns of the collection. Highlights include beautifully cut khaki suits and dark brown wrap shirts and wide pants, clasped at the ankle in shrunken cotton. There were dashes of colour like the deep, indigo blue of fluid summer tops and jackets and sunset coloured orange collarless shirts recalling nightfall in the desert. The flowing printed tunics and shirts were patterned with marbled designs on light, fluid fabrics.


Brilliant colour and pattern worn with long wigs
 at Walter Van Beirondonck caption
While Walter Van Beirendonck's SS18 show was called Owls Whisper, it was anything but quiet. A blazing yellow runway and matching theatre curtains were set in an industrial garage on a searingly hot day during fashion week and a heatwave in Paris last month. The accessory most used by the steaming guests was the Spanish fan, or the invitation waved in the torpid air. But the hot temperature simply added to the sultry and mysterious mood of the show. There was a nod to David Bowie with long wigs in pastel green, blue and yellow and painted faces in graphic, theatrical make-up. The collection included strong colours in orange, green and metallic gold with matching boots and shoes, sure to be very desirable accessories.  The soundscape of the Paris show was suitably dark and mysterious, with “The Pure and the Damned” by Oneohtrix Point Never, featuring Iggy Pop. The bold colours and shapes of the designs included vivid, voluminous raincoats with cartoonish, oversized sleeves mixed with tailored shorts, brightly patterned knee high socks and gold and green shoes. Tailored and checked ensembles with deconstructed jackets were mixed with sports leggings and shiny fabrics and patterns.

Walter Van Beirendonck uses fashion to explore ideas about society, the universe and nature, all delivered with a unique sense of humour.

Painted faces, mullet wig and deconstructed
check suit at Walter Van Beirondonck
Stand out looks included the jackets and shirts with designs of Picassoesque faces in colourful fabrics with the all of the models sporting the mullet wigs. There were also eccentric padded tops showing built-up abs and pecs and enormous parkas with sawtooth-pattern panelling, suggesting crocodiles and dinosaurs. The sporty leggings and metallic jackets made the models seem like Japanese anime figures. One design had two orange pattens that did look like owl’s eyes in the dark. There were interesting check suits, several with deconstructed arms and shoulder pads. This was mixed up with bomber jackets and tailored jackets with the mysterious, painterly panelled faces.

Walter Van Beirendonck originally graduated from the Royal Art Academy in Antwerp with Dirk Van Saene, Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee in the early 1980s, when they became known as the Antwerp Six. Since 1983, Van Beirendonck has created his own collections inspired by art, literature, nature and ethnic influences. His unusual colour combinations and graphic design are keys to his fashion work. He has a long and varied career, including designing the costumes for U2, working on exhibitions and magazines. The designer uses the medium of fashion to make visual statements exploring society, the universe and nature delivered with his unique sense of humour.

Stripes and flowing shirts and trousers
at Henrik Vibskov
Henrik Vibskov opens his fashion shows with performance art that is often a witty visual statement about the new collection. His most recent show in Paris, called the Great Chain of Sleepers was presented at the L’école de Médecine courtyard. It provided the ideal backdrop, the ordered 18th Century neo-classical columns contrasting with his avant-garde clothes. The process of creating a collection was the focal point of the storytelling. As part of the set design, black pillows with ‘sleepers’ written on them were tied to tall wooden poles, with open books beneath each one, romantically being blown by the wind. An array of men and women dressed in white lab coats unravelled the bundles to reveal ‘duvets’ of assorted graphic prints. They then began to hit them in the style of an Italian grandmother dusting her carpets on the line with a broom stick. The collection included both male and female looks with sporty taupe suits, red and white art smocks, striped pyjama shirts with extra sleeves, kimono-style brocade robes, caterpillar monster prints and models wearing under-eye masks. Sleep particularly in its disrupted state, lucid dreaming and body positions, insomnia and night monsters were all part of the SS18 inspiration. It all started with a performer falling asleep on one of Vibskov's projects that got him to explore sleeping from different angles.

Sleep particularly in its disrupted state, lucid dreaming and night monsters were part of Henrik Vibskov's SS18 inspiration.


Henrik Vibskov's show in the 18th Century courtyard of
 L’école de Médecine courtyard
As a fashion designer, Henrik Vibskov has now produced more than thirty men's collections plus women's ranges since he graduated from Central St. Martins sixteen years ago. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Masculine and is currently the only Scandinavian designer on the official show schedule of the Paris Men's Fashion Week. As well as designing new collections twice a year, Vibskov is a drummer with his Mountain Yorokobu project, signed to Fake Diamond Records. Artists and musicians that have worn Vibskov's designs include Björk, The Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand and Lou Reed. Vibskov has also exhibitited at MoMA in New York and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, ICA in London and has produced several large scale solo exhibitions at museums and galleries, and recently a  retrospective of his work at Designmuseo Helsinki in Finland.

Vibskov's charming caterpillar monsters wend
their way across tops in his SS18 show
Vibskov has also designed costumes for operas and performances, including collaborations with the Oslo Opera house and Brussels Opera house. He is currently Professor at DSKD and has given lectures and been a jury member at institutions such as Central Saint Martins in London, the IED in Madrid and the Antwerp Royal Acadamy of Fine Art. The multi-talented designer has won prizes for his work ranging from the Becks Student Future Prize in 2000 and three years later the New Name of the Year to the Danish Design Council Award in 2007 and an award from the Danish Arts Foundation in 2009. He also won the Söderberg prize, the highest value design prize in the world four years later and the Jury Prize at the Danish Fashion Awards in 2012. Last year, the Queen Of Denmark and the academy council from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts gave Vibskov the Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal.


Tap pictures for full-screen slideshow of the collections
Untamed curls on a model at Issey Miyake's show in Paris were part of the overall ethos of relaxed shapes and fluid volumes
 Layered, billowing shapes made of textured cottons at Issey Miyake
Dashes of colour like this deep, indigo blue for fluid summer jackets and trousers enlivened the neutral palette at Issey Miyake 
Yusuke Takahashi at Issey Miyake said the shifting of light across sand dunes and stretches of parched earth inspired the patterns of the collection.
Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
 Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
 Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18
Guests waiting for the Issey Miyake Menswear Collection show Paris SS18
After the Issey Miyake Menswear Collection Paris SS18 at the Pierre and Marie Curie University
Walter Van Beirendonck Menswear Collection Paris SS18
 Walter Van Beirendonck Menswear SS18 Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck Menswear SS18 Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck Menswear SS18 Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck Menswear SS18 Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck Menswear SS18 Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Fanning away the torpid air in a Parisian heatwave at Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection
 Designer Walter Van Beirendonck takes his bow at his SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
The industrial location in a garage at Walter Van Beirendonck SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
The folded duvet's at the opening of the Great Chain of Sleepers show at Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
The duvet's being 'beaten' by performers at the opening of Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
 Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
 Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
The colourful sheets and duvets that were part of the set design at Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Henrik Vibskov's showed menswear with womenswear at his latest show in Paris
Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Loosely pleated and striped tops at Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Collection in Paris
Rotund, leather backpack at Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Desirable round backpacks at Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
 Demure from the flowing front and revealing at the back, Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Finale at Henrik Vibskov's SS18 Menswear Collection in Paris
Danish designer Henrik Vibskov watches as his SS18 Menswear Collection opens in Paris
 



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