Saks Fifth Avenue held a small event in celebration of the menswear department’s introduction of both heritage French fashion houses Kenzo, Dior and Givenchy and also newer brands Ami, Kooples, Maison Kitsuné and Melinda Gloss. To ring in the introduction, NYLON picked up sponsorship and DJ Body Language provided the music. Though the designers were noticeably absent (they are after all, probably designing), there was a slew of fashionably-dressed people of all ages eager to see some new clothes ready for the buying.
There’s not much more that can be said about Givenchy. Ricardo Tisci revolutionized the high street under the infamous French house drawing on numerous cultural touch stones like hip-hop, gang culture, film and more but presents it all in the most luxurious of manners. The stand out pieces were a leather hooded bomber jacket and also a leather jacket presented with sporty neoprene sleeves.
Though he gets less attention that his Dior womenswear designing contemporary, Raf Simons, Kris Van Assche has had just as much a powerful influence on the brand under the Dior Homme label. Mixing together sporty pieces like hooded coats and luxed up suits, he was able to mix his own innovation that he developed under his own menswear label but keeps it true to the color palette and history of Dior.
Kenzo has had a radical comeback since appointing Opening Ceremony founders Humbero Leon and Carol Lim as creative directors in 2011. Leon and Lim bring back the house to its radical beginnings when designer Kenzo Takzada started the brand in 1970. The pieces are heavy in vibrant colors and off-beat prints of tigers and other creatures. The clothes are certainly not for everybody, but their wild aesthetic will certainly appeal to men whose styles live and die in the club.
For the newer brands Ami, Kooples, Maison Kitsuné, Kooples and Melinda Gloss, Saks Fifth Avenue held a little ceremony inducting the brands into the store. They enlisted four french menswear bloggers to wear and model the garments. Saks Menswear Director, Eric Jennings, introduced the brands. Jennings was himself draped head-to-toe in Ami and was clearly excited to introduce the brands: “There’s just a whole new generation of exciting new menswear designers coming out of Paris,” he said.
First up was Maison Kitsuné, modeled by journalist, DJ and blogger of the Issac Likes blog Issac Hindin Miller. Miller wore a very ’70s-inspired look of checkered pants along with a checkered jumper. Maison Kitsuné was a record label founded in 2002 by the former artistic director of Daft Punk Gildas Loaëc and a former architect Masaya Kuroki, before the pair branched out to include fashion. But the musical touchstones are certainly still there in the vibrant patterns of the clothes.
Matthew Zorpas of The Gentleman Blogger wore Melinda Gloss in a chic white coat, a patterned dress shirt and, and black trousers. Melinda Gloss is “slekp and modern and the perfect fit for Saks Fifth Avenue,” said Jennings. Melinda Gloss designers Mathieu de Ménonville and Rémi de Laquitane always have the past in mind, and this collection was no different: the looks were inspired by the roaring ’20s.
Not to play favorites, but I’ve loved designer Alexandre Mattiussi‘s menswear brand Ami for quite some time. Mattiussi gained experience working under some of the best houses in the world: Givenchy, Dior and Marc Jacobs. When he realized he couldn’t afford the clothes he was helping create, he set out to make a more affordable high street brand in Ami. Ami captures the essence of French street style as well as any brand around: understated, effortless and creative. They are clothes for people who like to write and drink coffee and argue about what is the best Miles Davis record. Ami’s shows are like rock n’ roll specatacles, and I appreciate how Mattiussi puts women in his menswear cat walks to display the gender fluidity of the brand. Also, I am a total denim nerd and Ami’s jeans are some of the best around right now, like the white jeans that were worn by Metro Man blogger Moti Ankari at the Event.
If I was underwhelmed by any of the garments, they were those by label Kooples. Kooples is going for a traditional rock n’ roll vibe: tight fits, leather jackets, chelsea boots, etc.. It’s just that this aesthetic has been done to death and is losing its rock n’ roll edge. With designers like Hedi Slimane doing this in the most luxurious way possible at Saint Laurent Paris and these looks being available at thrift shops, do we really need more clothes that look like this? One Dapper Street designer Marcel Florus rocked the look.