A day before his spring/summer 18 show at Louis Vuitton, men’s artistic director Kim Jones was in his design studio texting Drake. “We text a lot,” said Jones. Drake had written the show’s soundtrack. How had it come about? “I said, would you like to do the music for our show?” Which is how Jones follows up the maelstrom created by last season’s Supreme collaboration: by getting one of the world’s biggest recording artists to write him a song.
“It was hard to think what to do after the Supreme thing,” said Jones. “I had to go and lie down for three days afterwards. This collection needed to be a bit more sporty and light and youthful.” We were walking down the rails. Loose cut tailored jackets had darker grey back than body, worn with a blue stripe shirt and neoprene shorts. Pants were wide and roomy. A new graphic logo had the curved futurism of a TLC album cover, appearing at the zipper of white surf tops, or across Hawaiian shirts.
The collection was archetypal Kim Jones, showing his deep understanding of the product that makes a luxury brand sing. Those half-half jackets: probably not that big a seller. But render the idea in Louis Vuitton bags, as if two different LV prints had been spliced together, and you have an idea the brand can rinse for years to come. Of his fashion, there was an ease and an elegance, and one of the most convincing takes on this new loose tailoring we’ve seen all season.
The big question of the day: does Rick Owens suffer from vertigo? His spring/summer 18 show was held outside the Palais de Tokyo on a massive scaffold that saw the models descend onto catwalk from the full height of the building. At the end, Owens took his bow from right up the top. “I’m a real pussy,” he said, back on the ground. “I thought I was scared of heights, but the scaffold was big enough and strong enough.” Rather him than me.
The collection was punchy and sharp. Shorts were tight and very short, with bags strapped to the leg. Tanks had forms morphing out around the gut. These growths in cloth were counterbalanced by some excellent sharp tailoring, like cropped little waiters jackets to contrast with voluminous jumpsuits worn beneath, or a great black hooded coat. I thought it was incredible, but I know these words won’t mean much to many. Uncompromise is Owens’ game.
Over at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson talked of the difference between men’s and women’s. “For women’s we do the show experience,” has said. Yet there he has never staged a Loewe men’s catwalk, instead opting for a presentation at its headquarters on the Left Bank. “This is a more therapeutic,” he said. Knits had stripes or anchors. Short shorts were embellished where fabric met upper thigh. Faded denim turn-up pants were cute. A vest with the logo “Loewe Beach Club” was naff. Go on, do a Loewe menswear show! Push the design of these pieces harder!
Meanwhile, Berlin collective GmbH presented some great futuristic casualwear in its off-schedule presentation. Pale cream fleece tops had their sleeves pushed up; chino shorts went to the knee. These were clothes of stealth intellect. Models were often friends, like the excellent designer Stefano Pilati, most recently of Zegna. He wore a navy blouson over a white T-shirt. It was great to see him. Let’s hope he’s designing menswear again soon.
Trends this season are now starting to coagulate: roomy tailoring; short shorts. Both were on display at Dries Van Noten, which took place in the now-deserted offices of the French newspaper Liberation. The offices were on the top floors of a car park, its central corridors curved ramps between floors. It must have been a hoot to work there. Did any of the paper’s hacks wear roller skates to the office?
This was a show of straightforward pieces and direct message. Tailored jackets went down to mid thigh. In womenswear, the length would count as that of a dress. One of these jackets was worn with shorts not much longer. Short shorts are becoming ubiquitous this season. I wear them every time it’s vaguely warm. It reached 34 degrees in Paris today, yet most of the men opposite me were wearing jeans. The male leg is such an awkward taboo. Why can’t it be the norm to have them out in air?
Read all of Charlie Porter’s SS18 menswear reviews at ft.com/fashion
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