Best of: Paris Men’s Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017

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Usually the strongest men’s fashion week on the seasonal calendar, this Paris Men’s Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017 wasn’t without fault. There were several—friends, acquaintances and even a few strangers—who said it was one of the worst seasons for menswear that had seen in years (ouch!), but I’d like to politely agree and disagree. Because, of course, there were several great collections, including mainly the designers who managed to garner acclaims and excited applause due to their willingness to be creative and technical (all while wearable) in what is now a sometimes overly commercial atmosphere. Remember the names Sankuanz, Acne Studios, Issey Miyake, Facetasm and Paul Smith (who you’ll definitely know) because their collections were hands-down the best of Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

1. Sankuanz

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Celebrating his second time presenting during Paris Fashion Week, designer Shangguan Zhe has collaborated with artist Xu Zhen to explore the concept of “Cosmological Religion.” Set against a backdrop of stark-white, cathedral-like tents, the Spring/Summer 2017 collection further explored Zhe's signature utilitarian wares, this season opting for military uniforms with hip-hop influenes and an array of details pulled from NASA's inimitable archives of embroidered badges and astronaut suit designs. This sort of “space pop culture” resulted in several high-tech materials (such as transparent Cuben Fiber, tape and golden emergency blankets) and long, oversized silhouettes (trench coats and aviator jumpsuits).

2. Acne Studios

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Acne Studio's founder and creative director Jonny Johansson presented his Spring/Summer 2017 collection to the scraping and sliding of chairs, pulled haphazardly across the floors by models involved in an intricate match of musical chairs. Quickly rearranging the chairs and sitting down before the music began again, all the models were dressed in tent-like ponchos inspired by Johannson's own nostalgia reflections on Swedish summers. Functional and visually consistent with Acne's signature look, this season's garments featured waterproof jackets, silhouettes and materials inspired by tents, in stripes, colours and checks, while fine knitwear, striped cotton poplin shirts, cotton shorts and wide-legged pants filled in the rest for a clean, fresh and entirely season-appropriate range.

3. Issey Miyake

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This collection in particular was an experience. Starting the show with shades of white, Issey Miyake's Spring/Summer 2017 offerings increased in colour and technicality with every look. First, there were wrinkled (and sometimes hand-pleated) garments: the loose-fitting silhouettes in solid white and black that have become so symbolic of the brand. The second portion of the collection consisted of the printed options, as the clothes begin to gain more and more colour, from abstract watercolour patterns to an intricate marble pattern. Finally, the last segment of the collection comprised of lightweight suiting options, balancing minimal structures in printed crease-resistant fabrics. Holding true to the label's commitment to fabrication research and development, as well as their cosmopolitan client, this lineup appeared both urban and close to nature, fusing natural fabrics with Issey Miyake's signature attention to uneven textures, techniques and prints. Trust me, when we weren't all complaining about the heat during the sun-filled runway presentation, we were exclaiming our admiration.

4. Paul Smith

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At Paul Smith's Spring/Summer 2017 collection during Paris Men's Fashion Week, the models grooved and jived down the runway to a medley of Bob Marley tunes. This season's core colours come from a cool Caribbean based palette, filled with Rasta plaids and a particularly palpable island vibe; spring was to be eclectic and vibrant. The British designer didn't disappoint this season, however, presenting a lineup of Sixties and Seventies inspired silhouettes that were slim and tailored. Additional offerings included striped sweaters, polo shirts, embroidered jeans and floral printed T-shirts, but you'll be missing out if you skip over the woven handbags. Hands-down the best feature of the show—and perhaps the best accessories of the season.

5. Facetasm

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Making his Paris runway debut, Hiromichi Ochiai sent down a Spring/Summer 2017 for men and women, balancing sartorial numbers with an almost gender-bending display of fine tailoring. A former semi-finalist at the 2016 LVMH PRIZE, Ochiai’s work is a mash-up between tailoring and streetwear influences, presenting tailored vests, trousers and shorts teamed with tube socks and checkered sneakers as part of his seasonal offerings. In addition to several deconstructed looks, this particular collection was strongest in its varsity sportswear details and high dosage of sweaters. The designer’s versatility was evident, showcasing his ability to blend a variety of textures and materials from denim and camo to patchwork and florals.

Brent Taalur Ramsey is an American fashion journalist based in Paris. Follow his latest runway adventures on Instagram.

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