Styles and strikes forever: my account of the menswear fashion week

04 February 2020 | Posted by Zackary

In my dreams, I have a career worthy of The Devil wears Prada. Designers bow down to me and fans assail me, while paparazzi follow me as if I were Lady Diana.

Sadly, the reality is closer to an episode of Ugly Betty — plus style, minor the braces. My closet is barely larger than what dignity I have left after a night out at a club, and the last stranger who stopped me on the street was a pervert. It doesn't matter if, to my friends, I'm "mini Anna". To my banker, I'm just past my credit card limit.

Yet, this last fashion week has allowed me to keep my fantasies of fame and glamour alive. Running from one show to the other in Paris, slaloming with disdain between tourists, I almost forgot being anonymous. Please allow me to present you my favourite défilés... 

Valentino FW20 (© Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION)

Walter Van Beirendonck, luxury punk

4:00 p.m., a discreet hangar in Belleville.

Half an hour early because of the strikes, I stand around the entrance like a protester in a fur coat. Fashionistas are amassing, local stand perplexed. As soon as I get in, I look for a spot from which I'll be able to record a Boomerang and invent a life for myself on Instagram.

Walter Van Beirendonck FW20 (© Elizabeth Pantaleo for NOWFASHION)

In business since 1985, the designer remains true to himself. Irreverent, his collections are above all crafted to deliver a message. This season, "ask for freedom" and "defend your rights".

Expect a plethora of slogans, an avalanche of colors and arm-length spikes. Special mention goes to the teddy sweats and alien patterns.

Walter Van Beirendonck FW20 (© Elizabeth Pantaleo for NOWFASHION)

Unwearable, you say? For most of us, probably, although there are a few pieces that are easier to grasp. In any case, this kind of approach prevents fashion from becoming a monolith governed solely by trends, where each catwalk becomes interchangeable.

Oteyza: on the other side of the Pyrenees

The rendez-vous is set at the Spanish Embassy, 700 metres away from where I already  am. Lazy as ever, I hesitate to ride a Lime (French self-service urban e-scooter), before remembering no one has ever looked good on this.

I walk through the door, someone hands me a glass of wine. And two, and three. Soon my lips turn as red as RuPaul's. I then take a seat along the great corridor, sipping my Crianza.

Oteyza FW20 (© Oteyza)

The designer is deeply inspired by his country's heritage. Matador capes are redesigned to complement suits, draped jackets flirt with a futuristic repertoire, while cassocks are turned into men skirts.

Oteyza FW20 (© Oteyza)

The plain colour palette suits the spirit of the collection. A cocktail of influences and cultures, offering a different kind of elegance.

Henrik Vibskov, Scandinavia in Paris

We have already mentioned the brand in our article on Danish labels to watch. Every fashion week, the designer settles in Paris, this time in the American Cathedral.

So here I am in the house of the Lord, choosing to watch a fashion show rather than confess years of sin... In the middle of the nave, bubblegum pink bathtubs take center stage, from which surprising characters will soon emerge. The crowd gets silent, the label opens its canticle.

Henrik Vibskov FW20 (© Elizabeth Pantaleo for NOWFASHION)

More than just a backdrop, the bathroom happens to be the theme. Models are topped with shower caps, patterns are inspired by vintage curtains or tiles, and some fabrics are enhanced with a wet effect.

Treating the subject with subtlety, Vibskov proves his ability to sublimate the simplest things by designing a wardrobe composed of original items tailored to everyday life.

Henrik Vibskov FW20 (© Elizabeth Pantaleo for NOWFASHION)

Besides, one can only praise the effort made regarding the environment: 95% of the materials used are sustainable, and the outerwear is 100% made of recycled plastic bottles. 

No valentine, just Valentino

I arrive at the Grand Palais in pouring rain, the cameras' flashes contrasting with the early darkness of winter's nights. I can' t tell whether I'm being asked to pose, or to move... Fifteen minutes late, I hurried up the stairs, almost falling in front of Tim Blanks and Bryan Boy on the way.

In the subdued atmosphere, a feminine silhouette, draped in a haute-couture dress, shines on the stage: it's FKA Twigs. The light intensifies, the ethereal voice of the singer rises, the show begins.

Valentino FW20 (Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION)

According to the house, next winter will be romantic. Floral prints range from trousers to jackets, coats and blazers, while shimmering sequins catch the eye.

More traditional silhouettes are perfectly executed. Sleek, they sometimes opt for bright touches of colour, or the edge of urban notes.

Valentino FW20 (Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION)

Breaking away from bureaucratic pomp, the suit is thus transformed into a totem of expression. Shaping the appearance of a man in tune with all aspects of his personality, it reinvents itself as a mosaic of references. Ah, if only I wasn't broke... •

Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. Addicted to fashion and to Lucky Strike, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.

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