Newbies take to Paris catwalk

Five new designers, including from Taiwan and Israel, debut at Paris men's fashion week

PARIS • Paris men's fashion week kicked off yesterday with its reigning enfant terrible Demna Gvasalia again cocking a snook at convention by staging a "no show".

The brains behind the ultra-hip Vetements label - whose voluminous hoodies and re-cut Levi's jeans sell almost as fast as spinners - said he was bored with tired old catwalk traditions.

"I got bored... fashion shows are not the best tool," he told Vogue earlier this month.

"We did the show in the sex club, the (Chinese) restaurant... It's become repetitive and exhausting.

"We will do something when there's the time and the need for it. It will be more like a surprise," he added.

As well as doing away with a conventional catwalk show, Gvasalia is also dispensing with the need for a new collection every season.

Instead, the Georgian-born designer will unveil a selection of "re-editions" of clothes he has already created to buyers and journalists in what his brand termed a "no show".

An oversized outfit by Israeli designer Hed Mayner (left) and clothes from American Henri Alexander Levy’s Enfants Riches Deprimes (right). PHOTOS: HED MAYNER/ INSTAGRAM, ENFANTS RICHES DEPRIMES/ INSTAGRAM

That said, Gvasalia's new spring/summer collection for Balenciaga - for which he also designs - was the hottest ticket on the opening day of fashion week.

And Demna, as he is known to fashion insiders who struggle to pronounce his surname, may be about to get some competition when it comes to punk attitude.

Five new designers have joined the elite Paris ranks this time, with one of the new kids on the block, American Henri Alexander Levy, no slouch when it comes to provocation and self-promotion.

His brand Enfants Riches Deprimes (Depressed Rich Kids in French) counts singers Courtney Love, Beyonce and Justin Bieber among its customers.

And reality-show queen Kim Kardashian was snapped wearing one of his punk leather jackets costing US$11,000 (S$15,300).

The product of Swiss boarding schools, Levy, son of a rich family, revels in his privilege, reportedly declaring that "Saint Laurent is my Zara" and that he would kill himself if he was not rich.

He emblazoned one of his T-shirts with the nihilistic legend, "Wasted entitled selfish fiend".

The other newcomers reflect the global pull of Paris as a fashion capital, with Taiwan's Angus Chiang making his debut with his first collection of his trademark acid pop colours today.

Israeli designer Hed Mayner has built a following with more sombre oversized clothes influenced by the attire of Orthodox Jews.

He began his career at 16 making clothes in his home village of Amuka in Galilee in the north of the country, a place of pilgrimage for Hasidic Jews in search of a good marriage.

Swedish-based Kurdish brother and sister team Dilan and Lezan Lurr, who come from Kirkuk in northern Iraq, show their first collection for their Namacheko label tomorrow.

The newbies will show alongside such mainstays as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Berluti, Hermes, Dries van Noten, Balmain and Lanvin.

While Alexander McQueen is one of fashion's most established names, the brand will show its first Paris men's collection only on Sunday - the last day of the fashion week.

The label had previously shunned the catwalk in favour of presentations and private appointments in London and Milan during the past seasons.

In total, 52 shows are taking place during the men's fashion week, with the Paris haute couture shows starting on July 2.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Newbies take to Paris catwalk'. Print Edition | Subscribe