The latest installment of Paris Men’s Fashion Week brought forth a flurry of new trends and looks that hint at a vibrant new chapter for men’s fashion. Driving the season was a sense of gender fluidity that continued to question the traditions of masculinity and femininity and how they are expressed in fashion.
1. Loewe’s Chia pet sneakers
Anderson took that curiosity and transplanted it to existing notions of sustainable fashion at Loewe’s spring summer ’23 men’s collection — literally. Using plants grown on a series of materials that took about 20 days to cultivate to desired look (and were grown in a polytunnel on the outskirts of Paris in collaboration with Paula Ulargui Escalona), the designer affixed grasses and plants to garments and shoes, creating a collection intended as “a fusion of the organic and the fabricated,” according to the brand’s show notes. While actual elements of sustainable fashion in the manufacturing process remain to be seen as this collection gets merchandised out, this pair of sneakers looks curiously like a Chia pet shoe — in the best way possible.
2. Christian Louboutin’s party heels
Since 2019, Christian Louboutin has been at the forefront of the shifting definitions of masculinity in men’s fashion. What started out as a series of modest heeled boots and brogues back in the brand’s fall-winter ’20 men’s collection has moved forward incrementally each season, leading the way — heels first — on the conversation about gender fluidity and how fashion is shaping what it will look like, both on the runways and in real life.
Earlier this year, the designer introduced “Our Angels,” a collection of gender-neutral heels done in an extended sizing range from 36 to 46. Now, Louboutin has given another view of men in heels with the brand’s spring summer ’23 men’s collection, which debuted last week at Paris Men’s Fashion Week. This pair of colorful pailette-covered platform boots is a celebration of masculinity’s shift in fashion.
3. Thom Browne’s tweed Western boots
Plenty of brands have played with skin-baring gender fluidity lately, but Thom Browne managed to shock the most, amongst all of the crop tops, short shorts and bodysuits walking the runways at both Paris and Milan Men’s Fashion Weeks. Using traditionally feminine tweed fabrics in traditionally feminine pastel hues, the designer sent an array of daring garments — jock straps, sheath mini dresses, crop tops — paired with more traditional suiting overtop. The best pairing came with blue tweed accented Western boots (a take on a current trend that’s dominated even the higher temps of this summer) and matching jock strap, chaps, cropped vest and hat for a full frontal look.
4. Dior’s molded rubber trekkies
For Dior’s summer ’23 men’s collection, the brand’s artistic director of menswear Kim Jones once again looked to artists — Christian Dior himself, but also British painter Duncan Grant — to work on the idea of private spaces as points of inspiration. The result was a collection that was still decidedly sporty — in a good way; one that is more attuned to modern times than those of Jones’s muses. The collection summarily offered a view of how a newfound sporting lifestyle (one born of the pandemic and its life-altering ways) might become just a touch more elegant as the idea of what to wear day-to-day continues to shift. It also added to the fashion hiking trend that has been brewing in menswear since 2019. A pair of molded rubber outdoor-focused hybrid clogs hinted at both outdoor life and the futuristic implications of the molded rubber shoe trend that has swept menswear.
5. Louis Vuitton’s technicolor snowboard-inspired boots
The brand continued to pay homage to the late Virgil Ablohy, its former artistic director of menswear, in a vibrant spring summer ’23 men’s collection that carried on Abloh’s legacy of creativity, innovation and use of color. Among a cornucopia of homages (from ’90s skater culture to new gender fluid ways of looking at suiting, to a brilliant, blockbuster overhaul of the brand’s monogram accessories), a series of snowboard-inspired boots in equally colorful hues paid homage to snowboarding, a sport that Abloh loved personally and had used his influence to create change within it even posthumously.
6. KidSuper’s 3D-printed concept soles
In collaboration with 3D-printed footwear company Zellerfeld, the brand introduced a shoe that looked like both a heel and a sneaker with an extraordinarily high arch. The new ‘Heal Your Soul, Heel Your Sole’ concept shoe also featured an alluring (though slightly creepy) face on its upper.
7. Amiri’s MA Two sneakers
The L.A.-based designer expanded his sneaker repertoire this season with the introduction of the MA Two, a shoe with a very-California inspiration: the world of skateboarding.. It’s exaggerated dimensions, oversized rubber sole and perforated star details are sure to be sought-after design elements much in the way the designer’s Skel-Tops have gained recognition over the past few years.
9. Reese Cooper x Merrell Hydro Moc
Marking his first official live appearance on the Paris calendar with a runway show and presentation named “Seed & Soil,” Reese Cooper continued his run on footwear, showing the popular Wilson style and the newly designer Lanier boot. But it was a new Hydro Moc (in an ongoing partnership with Merrell) that captured the moment.
9. Nahmias’s retro sneakers
Another L.A.-based designer, Doni Nahmias introduced footwear into his much-loved collection this season. Named the “Five-O,” the low-top sneaker with a chunky sole feels like the right anchor for all of the maximalist prints and patterns found in brand’s coordinated garments.
10. Y/Project’s Western boots
Were these men’s or women’s boots? A pair of dark but elaborate Western boots backstage at Y/Project felt right for just about anyone and any moment.