One debut and two sophomore menswear collections make for an exhilarating display
Kriss van Assche, who joined Berluti as creative director in April 2018, following his eleven-year tenure overseeing menswear at Dior, chose a duo of identical gold-tone wheels to frame his runway debut during Paris fashion week.
Mounted inside Paris’ opera, at the storied Palais Garnier, the outsized metallic sculptures flanked the building’s dramatic marble-clad staircase. A nod to Berluti’s affiliation with motorsports perhaps – the brand previously issued an ‘Off Road’ collection, premiered at the Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz – van Assche matched the wheels with paneled-leather biker trousers in block colors.
But it was Berluti’s artisanal expertise that sat at the heart of van Assche’s first full collection of the brand, which includes sharply tailored womenswear: when visiting the brand’s factory in Ferrara, Italy, the Belgian designer first spotted a set of long marble tables, used by Berluti’s craftspeople as workbenches. Van Assche translated the table’s patterned marble into delicate prints, while the stone’s coloring – chalky whites, creams and beige interspersed with flecks of powdery colors – inspired the season’s Berluti palette.
Following the rainbow-hued runway of his Louis Vuitton debut, Virgil Abloh recreated the inner-city streets of Manhattan for his sophomore collection as creative director of Louis Vuitton, replete with a live art installation by graffiti greats Futura, Jim Joe and Lewy BTM.
Scored with an original soundtrack authored and performed by Dev Hynes, and witnessed by a star-studded audience that included actor Timothee Chalamet, Frank Ocean and Byredo’s Ben Gorham alongside supermodels Naomi Campbell and Natalia Vodianova, Abloh’s collection was an ode to Michael Jackson in 65 looks, kicked off with a sequence of all-grey suiting, accessorized with matching Louis Vuitton luggage.
Elsewhere, the brand’s emblematic Monogram was transferred onto plush shearling sweaters; multi-colored outerwear incorporated the flags of Abloh’s multinational team, in patchwork.
At Kim Jones’ sophomore collection for the house of Dior, tailoring too played a pivotal role. Drawing on Dior’s haute couture heritage, Jones masterfully combined masculine tailoring with dressmaking flourishes. Models took to the set’s conveyor belt dressed in double-breasted Chesterfield coats accessorized with shawl-like draped fabrics and suiting finished in glossy silk-satins.
Jones partnered with contemporary American artist Raymond Pettibon, whose impressionistic paintings were recreated in beaded fabrics requiring hours of skilled handiwork.
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