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28 Trippy And Fabulous Moments From Paris Men's Shows

Including shrooms, fruit rugs and campy knee socks, because the French fashion scene knows how to get wild. Also, unfortunately, a small dose of transphobia.

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1. Realistically, nothing could best the campy flag-raising ceremony at Thom Browne.

Alex Rees

But that's not to say its theatrics couldn't be equalled. Here are some of the moments that got everyone talking in Paris — at least, the people who I could understand, because I don't speak French.


4. Walter von Beirendonck — always one of the Paris menswear highlights — showed a surprisingly sedate collection.


At least at first glance, that is. The slouchy suiting and well-draped pieces featured increasingly intricate geometric and/or digital prints. I would wear that maxi-length t-shirt to bed, for sure.


6. And, wait for it — shoes with penises. Yes that's right, shoes with penises.


The painted phalluses poked out like little tongues. (And that's the skeeziest sentence I'll write this week done with.)

7. Returning from another Parisian menswear show later in the week, I stood next to van Beirendonck on the Metro. His commitment to chunky jewelry is impressive.

Alex Rees

(I could not bring myself to take a full-body photo I was busy munching on a croissant — when in Paris, after all — when van Beirendonck boarded the train. I didn't want to risk starting up a serious, fawning fashion conversation when I may well have had flaky pastry crumbs around my mouth.)


9. A good indication of a designer's cred within the industry is how far fashion folk will trek to see their show.


And not just the giddy followers who stand outside most venues just because they eat*, sleep, dream, breathe fashion — I mean the serious critics and buyers and editors with busy schedules and well-honed "been there, seen that" attitudes. Raf Simons' show took place a solid half-hour bus ride outside Paris at the Gagosian Gallery (which is actually in an old airport hanger). Yes, everyone took a little coach trip. What fun!

His collection featured simple (but refined) shapes, short shorts and onesies, and lots of graphic, Pop Art-style digital prints. Also, he entrusted his models with their own styling.

*This word used here in the metaphorical sense only, obviously.

11. Veteran fashion editor Suzy Menkes dropped some transphobic slurs at Saint Laurent.

Jacopo Raule / Getty Images

Walking into the show's venue, I found myself jostling in line just behind Menkes. She was talking with her assistant and British GQ's fashion editor Jo Levin. And ahead of us all: a group of prototypical Saint Laurent club kids, the types who've come to revere Hedi Slimane's high/low grunge aesthetic. One member of the group appeared to have caught Menkes' attention in particular — a very tall, very skinny and androgynous-looking guy with slightly curly shoulder length hair. He was wearing a little lipstick, a gold chain, and a silk scarf draped and tied diagonally across his torso (exposing a prominent ribcage and a lot of porcelain skin).

Rolling her eyes, Menkes remarked loudly, "look, there's some trannies up ahead."

(The term "tranny/trannies" is widely considered transphobic language.) She tutted derisively and motioned to the "tranny" in question with a brusque nod of her head. She then repeated the phrase — with another eye-roll. Some added irony: the only folks in attendance with a chance of fitting into the super-skinny Saint Laurent designs were said willowy, gender-bending guests.


12. On a lighter note, though, fashion "puns" are still happening.

Alex Rees

This is a play on the French designer label Céline, just in case that wasn't immediately obvious. Which I'm sure it was.

15. Marc Jacobs wore some silky pajamas to the Louis Vuitton menswear show.


He thus won the "who looks more like they just rolled out of bed" pose-off competition with David Beckham.

16. In only 40 looks, the Vuitton collection managed to veer from retro hitchhiking chic to glamorous formalwear.

Getty Images

Look at the sparkly LV logos on that tux, for example. Amazing! The label's menswear designer, Kim Jones, is never short of inspiration — nor the ability to condense those ideas into an inspiring collection.


19. Other things you might do while high on shrooms: throw some plain flour over yourself, like its snowing in the kitchen or something.

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Baking when you're baked always seems like a good idea, right? This happened at the always-unconventional Yohji Yamamoto show.

Though if an Eastern European band is going to play during a fashion show, as a rule it should always be Kazaky.

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Here they are at the spring/summer 2012 DSquared2 show. (Fast forward to their performance at 3:15 if, for some reason, you're not interested in the clothes.)

23. There was also a large "fruit rug" or "art installation" — depending on your perspective.

Alex Rees

Don't worry, though — the Kenzo show notes promised that all fruit used would be donated to the French Red Cross.

24. Also at Kenzo, the guy sat next to me drew sketches as the collection walked.

Alex Rees

On the one hand this was great to watch — the runway sketch is one of the industry's lost arts. But on the other, just take a photo.

25. Take a photo, that is, but just not while I'm taking a video.

Alex Rees

At the Givenchy show, ingenious folks with standing tickets (read: me) got a better look at the collection on its walk backstage, away from the official catwalk's bright lights and distracting front row bait.

Once I'd started to film the finale, though, everyone tried to get in on the action. You can't hear it, but in this GIF I'm telling the lady whose hand juts into frame to excusez-moi loudly. I may have also cussed.

26. Here's a few of the blurry (though I prefer the term "artsy") photos I took of the Givenchy looks as they walked backstage, juxtaposed — as Riccardo Tisci would want it — against a gritty, graffitied parking lot wall.

27. In other blurry photos, you'll just have to take my word for it that this guy was wearing fabulous shorts.

Alex Rees

They were made of a quilted silver fabric that looked half like a 60s interpretation of what we'd wear in the future when we live in bubble houses on the moon... and half like an oven glove.

28. And technically this wasn't even a show, just a wedding shoot I passed while walking across a bridge over the Seine.


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