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At Paris Fashion Week, menswear was sensual and playful

The recently concluded men's fall-winter 2023 showcase saw womenswear codes applied to men's clothing

From the Hermès showcase (Courtesy Hermès )

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The recently concluded men's fall-winter 2023 showcase at the Paris Fashion Week has made it clear: designers are rethinking clothes and gender. There's no masculine or feminine anymore. 

At Dior Men, for instance, shorts were so voluminous that they looked like skirts. There was some unapologetic sexy body display at Ludovic de Saint Sernin, and at Loewe, models wore boxer shorts with leather boots—all speaking volumes about the current menswear mood. You pick what you look and you enjoy the freedom of styling it as you like. Here are some of the key highlights of the Paris Fashion Week menswear showcase.

Also read: Paris Fashion Week: Meet the women designers who dress men

Luxe fabrications

It was easily one of the most playful Hermès menswear collections sparkling with unexpected detailing and a tinge of tasteful sensuality. 

A march of cashmeres, flannels and crisp fabrics, different leather grains, and adventurous jewellery evoked instant desirability. Each ensemble offered plenty of surprise elements: a hidden pocket, the sass of a leather back on a pea coat. Charcoal, gravel, fog, caramel, brown, coffee, camel, navy, ivory, and black—the palette included many muted tones. 

Gender blurring

Yves Saint Laurent proposed his first pantsuit in his Spring-Summer 1967 collection, adapting the traditionally masculine suit for the female body. For Saint Laurent FW23 menswear showcase, designer Anthony Vaccarello did the reverse, transposing womenswear codes into menswear. Sending out long, lean and sharp coats, extrapolating black leather and velvet and presenting necks tied in the house's signature bows. Smoking jackets and cowl-neck silk shirts, styled with wrapped cummerbunds, faintly evoked Laurent's native North Africa.

Bold dressing

Designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin has been making his bold presence felt season after season, proposing a closet of adventurous dressing. This season, too, the designer stayed true to his narrative of look-at-me, bodycon dressing, sending out corset-laced accent leather pants, sheer and sparkly fabrics, midriff-flashing knits and micro minis. A tribute to the exuberant Y2K eras of the dangerously high hemlines, the TV shows and documentaries Ludovic grew up with, resonated in the offerings.

Like always, a strong sensual undercurrent was hard to miss at Loewe, with one of JW Anderson's models sporting a pair of angel wings. Suede, shearling, leather and other metallic fabrications made a strong visual impact, drawing the viewer's attention to what's underneath the garments. Jackets cut with couture-like finish, metallic coats, mini tunics and boots brought into play Anderson's penchant for art history.

Heritage gets haute

A bibliophile, designer Kim Jones at Dior Men had Robert Pattinson and Gwendoline Christie recite The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot. A muted colour palette, fluid shapes and wispy, transparent layering, along with Lily of the Valley (Christian Dior's favourite flower), revived the spirit of freedom and refinement. Hyper functionality and elevated utilitarian gear complemented menswear shapes drawn from Dior's women's archives, reflecting in the life jackets, the knits, the A-line coats and the raincoats. It was hard to overlook the references to Saint Laurent’s time at Dior in 1958, drawn from fisherman's workwear and faux leopard lining.

Also read: Loewe's minimalist Paris show explores Old Masters, boyhood

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