"The show was full of optimism," said one of Thom Browne's seagulls after he had turned back into a human and indeed, despite its black sand and single palm tree, the island backdrop of Spring 2017's show had nothing to do with a post-apocalyptic vision. Even the character sitting at its base, white-faced and silent, seemed a statue in repose rather than a menacing omen.
Given the amount of nylon for hot weather that's being proffered on the Spring 2017 runways, the rather pungent whiff of warming salami that permeated the corridors of the Westin as guests filed into Henrik Vibskov's show – or salami factory – was on trend.
When it comes to menswear today, the question is hardly the radical its of the cuts but rather the ability to play with materials in a bid to impart a mood, a lifestyle and a vision of the contemporary wardrobe. At Sean Suen, a new entry on the Paris menswear schedule, this was exactly the point.
Was this really Dior Homme? Save the best for last? Editors were hedging their bets after a walloping Dior Homme show where Kris Van Assche played a punk-rock riff that wouldn't feel out of place on Disney's Aerosmith Rock'n'rollercoaster, as the house is days to announce its new womenswear designer amid rampant rumors.
It wasn't until the word horrorshow appeared across a t-shirt that you could pinpoint what had been truly spliced into Chitose Abe's Sacai menswear. For once, the injection wasn't so much in the clothes themselves - those were deceptively simple and inspired by 90s sportswear - as in the mood, where the dystopian novlang nadsat invented by Anthony Burgess for A Clockwork Orange, embodied a touch of rot in all that sugar sweetness. Think pink as in the elephants of delirium tremens.
Leave no surface unadorned was the overarching sentiment that Junya Watanabe imparted in his Spring 2017 menswear line which he showed in the graffitied underbelly of the Cité de la Mode et du Design on a cast of tattooed types that wore all their rock rage on their bodies and garments. Out of the backstage these pairs of tough boys stauntered, giving the stink eye to anyone who crossed their glance. Decked in head-to-tattoed-toe Watanabe, these were smooth criminals indeed.
Just like the Hatter in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, no one knows why a raven is like a writing desk. That insolvable riddle served as the theme of Walter van Beirendock's Spring 17 show, which went against the utilitarian sportswear grain of what's been shown so far this session.
Girls were more masculine, guys embraced a fluid approach and Julien David made the twain of his men and womens' lines meet, as he announced that he would forgo his October slot in favor of a January-June schedule more in keeping with fabric and retail cycles. "My menswear had reached a point where it was getting more and more conceptual, so I thought it was more interesting to show it side by side on a creative as well as commercial level" the French designer said backstage after the show. "We're at a moment in fashion where each person must do what is best for their brand."
There may have been renewed focus on Glenn Martens following his short-listing at the 2016 LVMH Prize but it was definitely business as usual at Y/Project as he presented a spring 17 collection that played on his usual tropes of gender neutrality and unconventional sensuality. Looks came hard and fast, just like the rain outside the riverboat.
Thursday night after patiently waiting for the last show of the day scheduled to start at 9pm, they stood there a great while as waiting in front of the entry of a concert. Tatsuro Horikawa presented its new collection jammed into a room full of heat, pumped up with binary sounds of electro in the Eiffel building of LA GENERALE.
"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?" flashed on the back of a souvenir coat at Yohji Yamamoto, but sounded more like a plea than a rascally come-on. Confronting his cast of characters who wore their history on their faces and bodies with the languid, rather than overly macho, sentiment that came off the runway, you could make a case for being a fighter of love rather than a lover of the fight.
Any creative will know that the blank page is a double-whammy of doom and delight. Multiply that by the resonance of Issey Miyake and you get a notion of what it must be like to be the incumbent designer. Yusuke Takahashi ran that gauntlet with aplomb and referenced India, in particular its spiritual heartland of Varanasi for a restorative retreat.
Like every year, I welcomed the start of pagan summer with a kaleidoscopic menagerie of tricked-out mermaids, seaweed-smoking freaks, deep-sea seductresses and their spawn in Coney Island. The weather was picture-perfect and the creative participants really upped their game this year in the costume department.