The ingenuity of LVMH Maisons was as striking as ever for this first chapter of the 2021 Fashion Week season. Challenged by current public health restrictions, each of the houses unveiled amazing creativity to show the world their vision of the men’s wardrobe for Fall-Winter 2021/2022. From runways to streaming shows, from the pandemic to messages of hope, from the official schedule to off-calendar events, they once again met the challenges of reinventing Fashion Week with resounding success.
Berluti: social-distancing inspired preview
Berluti kicked things off, changing the time and date in the official Fashion Week to unveil a preview in a one minute, one second long teaser entitled Living Apart Together, inspired by the pandemic restrictions. “We start from this reality, which is social distancing, the impossibility to travel, the impossibility to even hug — even when you go to the bakery, you have these social distancing stripes on the floor,” remarked Berluti Artistic Director Kris Van Assche.
The Berluti collection drew inspiration from Russian artist Lev Khesin, who works with dense layers of silicone paint, a process that Kris van Assche compares to the application of the patina that produces the deep shades in Berluti shoes and leather goods. The full story of the Berluti Fall-Winter 2021/2022 collection by Kris Van Assche will be unveiled on March 5.
Louis Vuitton: a militant show
Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director, once again engaged with his public via digital media, featuring American rappers with a message denouncing racism and homophobia. Encapsulated in a 15-minute video informed by Stranger in the Village, an essay by African-American writer James Baldwin, who was gay, in which he reflects on day-to-day racism during his stay in a Swiss alpine village in the 1950s.
Virgil Abloh stages a collection that invites people to reflect on stereotypes linked to dress codes, the way in which the uniform worn can be associated with social status. “Fashion is a tool for shaping these identities […] We unconsciously trust the silhouette of a suit and distrust the contour of a hooded sweatshirt. […] Is a businessman always white?” writes the Artistic Director in the show notes. The collection culminates with a promise of change and progress.
Dior: the ceremony of the everyday
For his Winter 2021-2022 collection for the House of Dior, men’s artistic director Kim Jones draws inspiration from the masculine extravagance of ceremonial garb – a living link with the past, still dynamic and alive today. Like haute couture, it connects the now with then: a window into history and heritage. Alongside heritage, the contemporary: with this collection, Kim Jones and Dior debut a collaboration with the Scottish-born, Trinidad-based artist Peter Doig.
Couture is itself a ceremony: Christian Dior himself described the ceremonial entry of his models for each new look. For Winter 2021-2022, uniforms with embroidery and embellishment – notably inspired by the Académie des Beaux-Arts – offer a masculine interpretation of couture. Decorations and motifs from the Dior archives are reinvented. Covered buttons are those of the iconic Bar jacket; the gilded embroidery of Rosella, a haute couture evening gown designed by Marc Bohan in the Sixties.
Fendi: the new normal
The Fendi Men’s Fall/Winter 2021-2022 designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi is an optimistic adventure framed by bright, multicolored plays of light. A cinematic sequence directed by Italian artist Nico Vascellari sets the scene for “What is Normal Today ft. Silvia” – an exclusive dance-pop track composed by Not Waving.
In these unpredictable times that have transformed the way we live, the Artistic Director of the Roman fashion house asks “What is normal today?” She updates the traditional formal and sportswear dominated masculine wardrobe with functionality and comfort that remains exquisitely elegant. Multifunctionality and form unite in the entire collection in reversible, relaxed silhouettes.
Fendi offers an unabashed celebration of color and light and a universal message of solidarity that resonates with these surreal times.
Loewe: homage to pop art
Pop art informs the Loewe Fall/Winter 2021-2022 men’s collection designed by Jonathan Anderson, presented in a superb book format. A Show in a Book pays homage to artist, writer and poet Joe Brainard.
A rich variety of motifs emblazon clothes and accessories, celebrating the technique of collage. Standout pieces including knitted sweaters, cardigans inset with leather like a puzzle, using the expert intarsia craft of Loewe workshops, along with painted bags. The clothes are designed as conceptual objects: pants pull out into rectangular paintings, t-shirts, polo shirts and sweaters are doubled or tripled for a fresh take on the art of collage.
Celine: new romanticism
On February 8 Hedi Slimane presented his Celine Men’s Fall/Winter 2021-2022 show, entitled “Teen Knight Poem”, in a video shot against the spectacular backdrop of the Château de Chambord. To the beat of a drum march instigated by Hedi Slimane himself, young riders and rebellious knights walked the turrets of the castle in embroidered pants, long capes and ruffled shirts, referencing Medieval and Renaissance dress. Inspired by a vision of reinvented youth, he added a contemporary rock vibe to this chivalrous collection, introducing a “new romanticism”.