More than half of the 48 looks Véronique Nichanian showed for her fall 2016 Hermès men’s wear collection — staged against the inky-blue night sky of Paris as seen through the glass-walled Maison de la Radio — were worn with sneakers in Hermès orange. The high-end trainers are a new introduction at the luxury leather-goods house founded as a saddlery to the French carriage trade.
Five of the first looks at Alessandro Sartori’s show for Berluti — staged in the gilded Pavillon de Marsan at the Louvre Musée des Arts Décoratifs — included thick-soled brogue trainers or formal shoes brought down a peg with topstitched patterns created by Scott Campbell, a New York City tattoo artist with a super-celebrity phone tree.
Virtually everything that the designer Kris Van Assche presented in his Dior Homme show — staged in a swank tennis club founded in 1895 — drew inspiration from clothes inspired by street style, the kind of utility garb the skate rats who hang out around Supreme tend to wear.
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As technically impeccable, in a way, as were the clothes designed by these three unalike talents, something about their shows went collectively amiss. Likely it had to do with the assignment.
It has been a while since the luxury-goods houses started a mad scramble for ways to part the young new rich from their money. The formula they’ve tended to settle upon is the old high-low: that million-dollar suit worn with a pair of Stan Smiths.
A problem develops when, instead of being reasonably priced kicks with a great heritage back story, the sneakers you offer also cost a million bucks. Irony is essential to high-low dressing: It works only when something exclusive and costly is taken down a notch by something cheap enough for hoi polloi.
Sometimes the pleasures of contrast are lost when all a designer can come up with are cargo pants or jackets in lumberjack checks or huge trousers with little design logic beyond the fact that volume is a theme of the season — accompanied by a canned spiel about street inspirations, as at Dior Homme.
And it’s less than satisfying to see the abundant tailoring talents of someone like Mr. Sartori at Berluti diverted toward such trickery as a jacket with double layers of lapels, a gimmick one critic referred to as the shoplifter look.
Elements of each show were certainly worthy of praise, in particular a deftly off-kilter palette deployed by Ms. Nichanian at Hermès and the oddly contrasting hues (grape and sand, magenta and teal) used by Mr. Sartori at Berluti and purportedly based on a recent trip he took to Marfa, Tex., on what has become an obligatory pilgrimage for designers.
The fabrications, of course, were impressive (glazed khaki calfskin as light as organza at Hermès). But at the prices that label charges, they ought to be.
Oddly, though, nothing these three designers devised carried anything like the true design charge of some motifs that Mr. Campbell, the downtown ink god, came up with for Berluti. Most memorably, he took a kitsch snake of the kind seen on the back of souvenir jackets and abstracted it in a graphically linear manner that caused even an ink-averse observer like this one to reconsider permanent markings.
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