Paris Men’s week: “Come as You Are”?

Manon's Report | Day 3

in brief

Aztec masses in the middle of the Palais de Tokyo, tam-tam echoes in place des Vosges, the crack of Vuitton sneakers on the cobblestones of the place Dauphine and the smell of fries McDO: the third day of the fashion week as if we were there.

Insider circles found themselves on the wall in familiar places whose features were diverted. Let’s think about this shift.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp’s game consisted of moving objects. Emptying them of their original functions and through the place of their exhibition (the manner in which they were given in public view) changed their traditions and their utilities, to add an artistic value to them.

Duchamp emphasizes that the object does not matter anymore: only the prestige of the venue, the quality of the guests or the validation by a hype label is enough to transform our vision of things.

A game of semantics. Move a word, put it in a new context, and give it a new meaning. For Roland Barthes, the fashion system lasts through its ability to constantly give new meaning to the same garment. During this fashion week, fashion seems to be detached from this horizon. This is consistent with a desire to slow production: then the palettes are clear and childish at Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens works the white and Yohji Yamamoto sticks to his traditional black. The house Issey Miyake stages its basic line, the Man Plissé Issey Miyake, rather than exposing a new man collection.

Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh. Photo: Christina Fragkou.

To give these basics a so-called eternal value, innovation can not be removed from the equation.

The eternal becomes transient: society changes. The jobs, day to day life or climate emergency forces to change the shapes, colors and sizes of basics. At Issey Miyake they get wide, adapted to movement. Initially the collection was designed for dancers. Over time, it has adapted to the needs of a younger male population. Taking a new look at a timeless moment, showing how it could be a new garment responding to a need – rather than a new garment coming to create the need; the scenography of the show also had to integrate the new habits and customs of the population: men run, protect themselves from the rain, dance and laugh: Life, in short.

The old machinery of the fashion show and its hierarchies, which are the living translations of the structuring of the field of fashion, must evolve – so that the produced message has a meaning. For the message produced to reflect life rather than configure the theater of an elite.

Issey Miyake, an invitation to live?
Photo: Whitewall.

Sabotage in the Cour Carrée of the Place des Vosges at Issey Miyake, where a succession of happenings and a final where the crowd was invited to mingle with the models and forget the sitting codes that each labeled on the forefront of his neighbor, offers a new perspective. Despite the offered freedom, the circles struggle to break up.

Regarding the architecture of a space as a tool for freedom, Michel Foucault noted, “I do not believe in the existence of something that would functionally – by its very nature – be radically liberating. Freedom is a practice to experiment.”

So Demna Gvasalia with VETEMENT invests all that is currently criticized and symbolizes waste, rapid consumption, pollution. Which is the subject of the mostly political taboos: the freedom that has been experienced through waste. The barking of the dogs and the sirens of Police resound in the McDO of the Champs Elysees. The silhouettes seem perfect for the Instagram account Situationnist who likes to move fashion scenes in daily scenes (a very Duchamp gesture). Except that in reality, the Instagram account has no more work to do with this show. It is either incongruous or, on the contrary, full of meaning. As usual, Gvasalia plays with culturally coded imaginaries, dubbed “popular” tastes. As usual, the controversy is on fire on the Internet, where many forget to take the time to dig in the complexity of mixed messages and questionable information sourcing.

“Come as you are”? Photo : Guillaume Roujas pour NowFashion.

He plays with the theme of freedom and authority: the moralization towards a waste that many classes suffer because of lack of economic means.

Bring the circle of fashion to a place that does not respond to the concept of freedom or, on the contrary, sit in replica chairs of that of the Café de Flore: chairs of a fantasized freedom. Those of St Germain de Près, of the cultural elite, of a Paris written on the trumpet of Boris Vian. A literary fantasy: the one authorized on the banks of the Seine, because it is that of the legitimate culture if one refers to Bourdieu. Abloh invades l’île de la Cité. Provincial hues, garlands of flowers. BCBG collection, on a triangular place, where freedom is practiced between insiders.

If fashion can transform the perception of a garment, spaces, it is only slowly that the circles that compose it seem to allow themselves to experiment.

Between experimental masses, conservative and anti-masses masses: the idea of a basic fashion tries to tell itself with new words. ” Come as you Are ” ?

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