Our Favourite Venues From The Paris Shows
Photograph by Swan Gallet/ WWD/ REX Shutterstock
The most interesting settings – from a historic prep school to a unique university – at the menswear SS17 fashion shows in the French capital.
In one sense, going to the seasonal menswear collections in Paris is a terrible way to get to know the French capital. So packed is the schedule that you inevitably spend the whole time not walking wistfully through the streets, à la Mr Walter Benjamin, or Mr Charles Baudelaire, but frantically hopping in Ubers and elbowing your way through crowds of Vetements-clad street-style photographers. The whole experience is hardly of a calibre suitable for the Paris Wallpaper* guide. Having said that, there is a benefit to trolling all over the city in this way – you get to discover a lot of interesting places that, as a tourist, you would probably never visit. Here’s our favourite three venues from the SS17 shows last weekend.
Photograph courtesy of Acne Studios
Foregoing the thoroughly tried and tested format of the runway show, Acne Studios chose to showcase its SS17 offering in the historic Lycée Charlemagne, a former home to the Jesuits that was turned into a preparatory school by chucklesome French Emperor Mr Napoléon Bonaparte in the 18th century. This is a building steeped in, and somewhat ravaged by history, a fact most evident from the crumbling, patchy frescos that adorn the arched hallway where the Acne presentation took place. Making a virtue out of this decadent state, the Swedish brand placed a series of square mirrors on the floor, contrasting the peeling paintwork up above with the sharp, ultra-contemporary silhouettes down below. There was also something going on with the chairs – the models kept dragging them about into different positions – but to be honest, we at MR PORTER were far too busy gawping at the ceiling to figure out what that was all about.
L’Orangerie du Jardin du Luxembourg
Photograph by Photoshot
It must have been nice in Paris in the 19th century. That is, once the July revolution of 1830 was over. Oh, and also the one in 1848. And the coup in 1848. Actually, thinking about it, it’s a bit of a mystery how, in between the seismic and seemingly constant shifts in government, the denizens of Paris managed to build such delightful buildings as the orangerie in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Yet build them they did – perhaps there is hope for post-Brexit Britain yet. Though this building was originally built in the 1830s to nurture sensitive plants during the winter, today it functions as an art gallery and, apparently, a place you can put on fashion shows. Its interior is actually quite boring – little more than a long, white corridor – but for the SS17 season, via the intervention of Japanese brand Sacai, it was transformed into something rather wonderful: a post-apocalyptic quarryscape adorned with ominous mounds of gravel. Perhaps in tribute to the building’s nurturing past, guests were handed folded paper fans, with the words “Sacai” and “love” printed on them. Thoughtful touches never go unappreciated – such delicate flowers are the attendees of these things.
Issey Miyake Men
**Université Pierre et Marie Curie **
Photograph by Swan Gallet/WWD/REX Shutterstock
The Université Pierre et Marie Curie – one of the world’s top science universities – has a somewhat interesting architectural legacy. The original 1960s design for the Jussieu Campus in Paris’s fifth arrondissement was largely considered a failure, thanks not only to its confusing grid-like system of organisation but to its heavy use of asbestos – which turned out to be carcinogenic, whoops! – as a fire retardant. Today however, the building feels rather impressive, as a result of the clean-up operation that has been ongoing since the 1990s, as well as a truly spectacular new atrium designed by Parisian architect collective Périphériques. Anyway, the campus provided an aptly futuristic venue for the latest collection from technologically driven Japanese brand Issey Miyake Men, who, in asking its models to walk in confusing, zig-zag patterns, made the most of the building’s gridded, multi-level public courtyards. As the centrepiece of the show, rather than the usual insipid DJ set, Japanese psychedelic rock band Kikagaku Moyo treated the guests to a set. Which was amazing really. Why doesn’t every fashion show have a set from Japanese psychedelic rock band Kikagaku Moyo?