Paris Men’s week: Slowing Down The Dirty Timing Waltz?

Manon's Report | Day 2

in brief

Garment with holes, decomposed fringes and multiple fringes configure the masculine silhouettes. Light materials, to let the air passe again: a need to breathe, to slow down?

Slowing down the cycles of the fashion goes through slowing down production rates, media calendars, rhythms of shelving. In short, multiple interrelated circles are involved in the acceleration of the machine. This infernal cog has various origins that must all be questioned. David Zajtmann, professor of Management Science at IFM enlightens one of the causes of the acceleration of fashion time, in the Parisian field in the 1970s.

By seeking to understand the conditions that allowed the institutionalization of ready-to-wear, Zajtmann discovers that the proliferation of couturiers on the Parisian scene is linked to the birth of a weekly press which demanded a “news” per week to its journalists.

The latter then went to find stylists and various people in the community they highlighted in their pages. The ready-to-wear system was born with its names and codes. And for the best, as for the worst, new rhythms have been stratified.

Walter Van Beirendonck. Photo: Imaxtree.

If the weight of magazines seems to have given room to the reign of the social networks regime, the permanent birth of new designers is no longer sufficient to fill the threads of news. Many names exist, and everyone must differentiate. To do this, the target audiences are less broad, more specific: we speak of tribes, gangs or alternative cultures. During this second day various voices met, each with its own microphone. Walter Van Beirendonck has his nostalgic aficionados of the Antwerp six, and Glenn Martens at Y/project embodies the third wave of Belgium. Designers like Virgil Abloh and Raf Simons take advantage of the microphones they built outside the big luxury authorities to officiate their fashion masses. A revealing place of their relationship to speed: the flower field at Carreaux du Temple of Abloh was a prelude to the Vuitton show. A forefront, an incubator: something that nurtures speed rather than slowing it down.

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton. Photo: Getty Images.

How shall we receive all this? Consume all these messages?

Receiving means taking the time to analyze a message: deconstructing and rebuilding. Fashion accustomed us to an all-ready message service: easy-to-consume. Drink down and swallow: other clothes will arrive. By putting messages on the garments, they are sold as identity and activists (“reduce, reuse and recycle” is printed on the pieces of a white plastic collection at Off White) or art vector as flower caps by the artist Futura – at Off White again.

From the consumable-garment, we went to the image-garment, still just as consumable. But they hold an opinion, a conviction, so it’s ok?

Flowers everywhere, with textile made from recycled plastics at Off White. Photo: Mitchell Sams.

Today fashion is so full of exhausted messages, so that consumers themselves come to exhaustion. It’s time to heal the spirits, give hope.

This is a real job. A job that starts through the alert. An act of awareness that Spanish designer Boris Bidjan Saberi cares about. In the shadow of the calendar, he presented his collection in the 3rd district of Paris. An opportunity that allows him to take the time to explain the oxidation processes he is experimenting with, or the techniques required to manufacture his creations:

“Some parts were a real technical challenge: so it spotted my interest. These technicians are artists. And it is not during traditional runway shows that the public, the press will be able to see it. People take pictures and leave. Everything is dedicated to Instagram, they do not listen anymore and are already thinking about the next show. Are we all just puppets?”

Boris Bdjan Saberi. Photo: Matteo Carcelli.

A question to which it would be attractive to answer “yes”. If this yes is the answer, then everything must be done to show that “no” will become so.

The youth engagement for ecology that intensified since last August with the rise of Greta Thunberg sounds like a hope.

The hypothesis of a enslaving new generation facing images slowly crumbles. How can fashion participate?

For Boris Bidjan Saberi it goes through an education of the gaze, listening to the story but also to reconnect with the present garment, to touch and feel, rather than being just forced to adore an image-garment.


At Etudes, it is a matter of playing on the meaning that society gives to terms such as “Diffusion”. By printing the Wikipedia definitions on clothing it is also the artificiality of the information search that we all practice that are pointed out. J.W Anderson, praised the different forms of DIY. Patchwork, baseball clothing worn with silk, or used clothing. Nothing imitable immediately: complicated outfits, a style that questions.

In short, a way of slowing down the pace.

So should we ban runway shows? The dreams of Valentino, Dior and other big names are intrinsic to the balance of fashion. They just have to give room to other narrative models, rather than digesting alternative cultures.

If they embody figures of dreams, they shall not be unquestioned models.

There's always more to discover. Subscribe to our newsletter to explore the unfound.