BLKLN Clothing

Xavier Dolan for Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 17

Actor and Director, Xavier Dolan was once again tapped as the face of Louis Vuitton for the Fall/Winter 2017 campaign. Dolan, known for movies like I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats has maintained a lasting relationship with the french luxury house and Men's Artistic Director Kim Jones. If you haven't seen Heartbeats, you should definitely check it out! Images shot my Alasdair McLennan.

Jim Duran

Urban Surfer Vibes at Sacai

Chitose Abe had her first ever menswear show for Sacai in Paris. The designer, know for her hybrid clothing showed a stellar collection of looks that graced male and female models alike. The collection ran like a summer desert sunset from hues of pink fading to a multitude of woven blue prints. Sticking with the seasonless trend of the SS17 season, Abe’s collection featured lots of outerwear and a variety of interpretations of the woven ponchos we all love. Fishnet accents were seen in almost every look and the woven prints lent themselves to an urban surfer aesthetic that I am personally in love with.

Jim Duran

Photos by Kim Weston Arnold courtesy of Vogue

Lanvin Goes Seasonless

At the SS17 shows in Paris the biggest trend has been No Season. The collections have been filled with layers upon layers of outwear and suiting, large round-toe boots and leather jackets. Oversized hoodies and faux waist trousers dominated the Juun.J runway with the designer only showing two short sleeve options. Is it possible the designers know something about global warming that we don’t? Or is seasonless the new norm for designers and brands who are thinking about a wider global market.

At Lanvin the name of the game was Dressing for Any Season. Clothing the Lanvin man could chase a season in. The collection was more about a romanticized notion of a world traveler with that special Lanvin twist. The open shirts, single buttoned cardigans and striped layers recalled the days of Cole Porter and Gerald Murphy on a sailboat in Southern France. The collection was a culmination of cord-accented belts looped through ankle cropped true waist trousers. The looks that came down the runway were meant to evoke a spirit in the audience of a worn but sophisticated man who passion in life is to live.

Photos by Kim Weston Arnold courtesy of Vogue

Van Assche's Gothic Rave revival at Dior

Uncertainty has reigned in the ladies division of the Dior arena until the recent rumors that Valentino Co-Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, would soon take the lead of Dior’s women’s wear division. But over on the men’s court things are steady as Kris Van Assche presented another stellar show during the Paris men’s collections. With support from major players like Karl Lagerfeld, A$AP Rocky, Dwyane Wade, Robert Pattinson, and Victor Cruz sitting front row, the show was to be a sure fire win. And it was!

Van Assche’s Spring/Summer 17 collection was a contemporary study in 90’s Gothic rave culture. From the super wide leg trousers and calf length duster to the bright red seam lines and patchwork details. I immediately recalled the All the Young Dudes montage from Clueless with the guys sporting Jinco jeans and chain wallets, but how does one modernize Hot Topic chic? Fine tailored suiting is the foundation of Dior’s menswear business and what Van Assche has done is combine that with the sporty aspects of rave culture to create a new look for the modern man. Floral patchwork accents and broken pinstripes added texture to dimension to the Dior suit noir. From sleeveless jackets and varsity trimming to a variety of pant lengths, Dior’s new man has all his urban suiting requirements fulfilled! 

Jim Duran

Photos by Yannis Vlamos courtesy of Vogue

Fausto Puglisi shows menswear in Florence

Recently Fausto Puglisi presented his first menswear show in an abandon train station in Florence coinciding with the debut of his women’s resort collection. The collection was a lesson in excessive Italian fashion and that god-like Italian masculinity. Puglisi opted for less conventional models and chose what looked like tattooed UFC fighters, some complete with ankle tape, purposefully balancing the lavishly ornate clothing with that legendary overt Italian machismo.

True to self, Puglisi’s collection was full of Roman iconography from images of Roman warriors scattered in a collage over boxer inspired shorts and bomber jackets, to the heavily embellished gladiator sandals the models donned some knee-high. Namesake tees worn with silk patchwork denim shorts were a favorite, and floral accents slightly lifted the air of the collection paired with embellished black leather shirts and silk bombers. My thoughts are for his first menswear showing Puglisi wanted to come full force thoroughly establishing his voice in the menswear market.

Jim Duran

Photos courtesy of Fausto Puglisi

Raf Simons / Robert Mapplethorpe

I try to write my blog posts objectively as possible but this collection, this artistic collaboration between cultural icons, blew my mind. Raf Simon’s collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation is one of the most stimulating collections I have seen in a long time. Obviously I am a great admirer of both artists, but this collaboration was more then Simons simply plastering Mapplethorpe’s controversial imagery on a t-shirt and banking on the raw sexual appeal of the garment. Raf paid proper homage to the artists hyper sexual, slightly minimalist inspired aesthetic.

Models donned leather pants and overall inspired aprons with leash-like chokers hanging from their necks. The curly haired muses wore seductively tilted leather biker caps, each capturing the full essence of the legendary photographer. Oversized sweaters and shirts with carefully placed panels projecting classic Mapplethorpe images and slender slacks ran through most of the collection. Black socks paired with slide sandals lent a contemporary urban appeal and sleeveless cropped varsity sweaters playfully emphasized the collections preppy-deviant allure. Although there wasn’t a vast difference between looks each was so highly concentrated and carefully styled that I loved all of them. I know my words did not do the collection any justice but I was so overcome with excitement that it was literally hard for me to concentrate!

Jim Duran

 

 

Images by Umberto Fratini courtesy of Vogue

A few thoughts on Demna Gvasalia and Balenciaga.

This afternoon in Paris was the first ever men’s Balenciaga runway show. Under direction of the new Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia, this historic occasion has been meet with vast hesitation and has left many wondering if this is the beginning of the downfall of yet another major fashion house. While the financial market and social climate continue to change and shift, what does this mean for the major luxury houses that we all revered just a few years ago?

I will admit that I have been a secret skeptic of the decision to appoint Gvasalia to the head of such a historic house that has literally changed the way we dress, and has been such a consistent influence on style and fashion for the past 70 years. At the time of his appointment Gvasalia was relatively unknown outside of the Paris fashion scene, only recognizable by his uber chic, but little known Vetements line. With leadership roles at Margiela and Vuitton under his belt, was the 35-year old ready to head the entire branding and creative direction of one the biggest and most recognizable luxury brands in the world?

Let’s do a quick break down of today’s menswear collection. At first glance the average person is going to chuckle and say WTF!?! But if you take a minute to understand the history of the brand and realize the detail in the collection one might have a change in sentiment. Looking at the opposing play on proportions you might think on the surface these are extremely contradictory silhouettes. But if you peel away the layers and look at the consistently exquisite tailoring you realize that Gvasalia is as much a pendant for construction as Cristobal Balenciaga himself, and then appreciate Demna’s humility and respect towards the rich history of the house. His penchant for artistry is apparent and despite its dual fits there are a lot of very wearable clothes in between that could easily integrate into any wardrobe. We have to remember that fashion shows are largely PR and not everything you see on the runway is what goes into production. A runway show is simply the designer’s platform to present the purists vision of his work. By the time garments hit department stores and boutiques they will be filtered down to consumer friendly inklings of the runway looks. Just a few thoughts.

Jim Duran

Photos by Monica Feudi courtesy of Vogue