By Alexander Cao
While we erroneously call it fashion week, as if the whirlwind of press emails and designer names comes to an end in only a handful of days, we admit the fashion season is an adrenaline-fueled high. Currently in the middle of the Spring/Summer 2018 Menswear season, these past few weeks in London and Paris have showcased some amazing talent (both old and new). And for the PANSY boy on the go, sometimes it’s just too much to handle. That’s why we’ve curated a list here for the cutest, PANSY-packed, boundary-breaking SS18 designers.
5. Lou Dalton (ABOVE)
Lou Dalton is a wonderful designer that’s being slept on by mainstream audiences. Her concise presentation of only 12 looks was an intentional effort to build upon and perfect pieces she released in earlier seasons. Candy-colored stripes were the initial draw, but closer inspection grew an infatuation with oversized shirting, and especially the high-waisted shorts.
4. Comme des Garcons Shirt Boys (ABOVE)
Kicking off this list is Comme des Garcons Shirt Boys, which is a sub-sub-label underneath the larger CDG umbrella. Though a smidge convoluted in name, this collection should essentially be the PANSY uniform. Unconventional shirting in pastel colorways and polka-dotted prints (a la American artist, Mary Heilmann) were expectedly twee. Matching the reworked tailoring of the collection, the tops were paired with trousers in awkward-but-cool lengths.
3. Kenzo (ABOVE)
Turning to perhaps a more recognizable name, we admired the bold graphics and saturated color choices at Kenzo. Ditsy Marimekko-like florals and stacked pocket detailing punctuated the school-boy chic inspired look. Designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim casted Asian models exclusively and cited Sayoko Yamaguchi (a stunning Japanese model linked to Kenzo’s founder, Kenzo Takada) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (a contemporary musician) as key references. Without delving too deep in the collection’s theme of ethnic pride and cultural celebration, Kenzo’s cool collection definitely had something to say about the current cultural climate.
2. Walter van Beirendonck (ABOVE)
The iconic Walter van Beirendonck of the Antwerp 6 needs no introduction. One of the original names in high fashion alongside Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, his strong graphic aesthetic is just so much fun. Bland plaids stood in stark contrast to the flashy metallic foils and child-like collages. Despite the difficulties in deciphering van Beirendonck’s collection, it’s a runway show to remember.
1. Charles Jeffrey Loverboy (ABOVE)
Undeniably the most forward-thinking of this PANSY line-up, the Charles Jeffrey Loverboy collection encapsulates the wild, raw, and unmitigated vision of its London-based eponymous designer. Best explained in a quote from the show’s press release, “As reality becomes more unrecognisable, an absurd satire of itself, the romantic fantasies of our imagination become more real than ever.” Like other designers who are sparking dialogue about the international issues at hand, Jeffrey’s individual perspective shines through with hedonistic confidence. Startling in its audacity, the collection ranges from deconstructed knit t-shirts to suiting with bleached designs and everything else between. Jeffrey has an innate youth-driven recklessness that makes his work irresistibly fascinating and a personal favorite.
Honorary Mention: Vetements (ABOVE)
And we finally conclude with the notorious Vetements as an honorary mention. Selected not because of its avant-garde designs, but instead for its unusual runway alternative. Designer Demna Gvasalia opted to take photographs of his clothes on random citizens in Zurich, Germany where the brand is now based. Parodying typical fashion poses, the images were then printed life-size and exhibited in a Parisian parking lot to the press. Always causing a commotion, Vetements’s novel approach to the runway emphasized Gvasalia’s knack for turning fashion on its head.