Eleven Things To Know – Paris Men’s Fashion Week

A curated look at menswear’s latest trends.

By Joelle Diedrich, Miles Socha, Samantha Conti, Mimosa Spencer, Alessandra Turra 29/06/2021

Dior

So Travis Scott’s collaboration with Dior was a riot — literally. The French fashion house unveiled the collaboration on Friday in front of 500 guests at its first physical men’s runway show in 18 months. The event drew a large crowd outside, which surged forward and knocked over a security barrier when the singer left the venue, forcing him to retreat back inside — before reemerging to commune with his fans in an impromptu street mosh pit. Backstage after the show, the situation was equally chaotic, as photographers jostled for a shot of the rapper with Dior’s artistic director for men’s wear Kim Jones, who vainly pleaded for social distancing.

It was the first major celebrity fashion moment in Paris since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and one befitting Scott’s status as a pop cultural icon. “He’s a cultural phenomenon, and culture is something that the young generation want to associate with, especially when they’ve been away from everything,” Jones said. After three seasons of online shows, each with a different artist as guest collaborator, his decision to link up with a musician could not have come at a better time.  “It gets people excited. Dior’s done particularly well in the last year. Everywhere you go, there’s a queue outside the store. We’ve been selling all sorts of things to all sorts of people, and I just want to continue to grow that message,” the designer explained.

It’s the first time Dior has designed a full collection with a musician, and Jones made sure the house’s codes were front and centre, making tailoring — and particularly his signature Oblique jacket — the backbone of the lineup, although flared pants added a ’70s twist to the look. Scott brought in further psychedelic influences, from the sun-bleached pastels and acid green of the colour palette, to the giant mushrooms and cacti dotting the desert-like set, which symbolized the performer’s home state of Texas and his creative collective Cactus Jack.

Dior Men Men’s Spring 2022

“The cactus is one of my enduring inspirational plants,” said Scott, adding that his birth name is Jacques and his mother calls him Baby Jack. “It’s a label and a movement, an idea and an inspiration that we try to instil and keep moving, trying to help the world with new design and inspirational experiences.” Naturally, he provided the throbbing show soundtrack, including a new track called “Lost Forever,” cowritten with James Blake and Westside Gunn.

Jones noted that Christian Dior visited Texas on his first trip to the U.S. in 1947. “We’ve basically done the reverse journey via Travis,” he remarked. Western-style touches included python prints, a dusty suede jacket and a double Saddle bag with a stirrup handle.  Graphics ranged from Cactus Jack’s signature hand-drawn graphics to a new version of the Dior Oblique logo spelling out the word “Jack.” It turns out Bernard Arnault, head of Dior’s parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, personally OK’d the irreverent take on one of his most valuable pieces of intellectual property.  “I knew he’d love it or hate it, and he got it completely,” Jones said. “He likes to see energy and fun. He’s seen everything in the world. I always enjoy spending time with Mr. Arnault because of his eye. He knows exactly what he likes and he knows exactly what works — that’s why he’s Mr. Arnault.”

It’s easy to see why the luxury mogul would roll out the red carpet for Scott, who has collaborations with brands including Nike, Playstation, Epic Games and Dover Street Market under his belt. The musician’s collaboration with McDonald’s last year resulted in meat shortages and helped to drive up the fast food giant’s shares.  Online chatter around the Cactus Jack Dior collection homed in on the new skate-inspired sneakers, which Dior is no doubt hoping will match the success of its Air Jordan trainers released last year. No matter what the commercial results, the amount of brand heat generated by Friday’s event was priceless. Jones will be tracking another barometer of success. “It’ll be interesting to see how many young kids you see wearing suits now after this, because he’s a big influence. I don’t like doing things for hype, I like doing things for exciting the consumer,” he said. – Joelle Diedrich.

dior.com

Hermès

Hermès Men’s Spring 2022

Véronique Nichanian delivered an upbeat collection for spring, defying the gloomy weather — and sprinkle of rain — with a lively offer for her first runway show since the onset of the pandemic. She continued to push forward with her hybrid, indoor-outdoor thrust, proposing hooded parkas, two-toned jackets with patches of technical fabrics and leather overshirts. In a burst of optimism, a bold, thickly knit sweater came in gradations of tangerine and pink, while a button-up cardigan faded from grey to a bright turquoise. “It aims to encourage people to get out and roam,” Nichanian said of the lineup, as quoted in the show notes.

As the fashion world rushes to meet consumers stepping back into society, many are betting on louder, hyped-up propositions — club themes and psychedelic motifs abound. But then there’s Nichanian, who is steadily building a fresh repertoire for younger classes of luxury consumers — a bit more discreet, for sure, but nonetheless interesting. The label’s playful side was relayed through the details, like the perforation delineating the house’s Quadriga horsehead motif on a shirt, zig-zag stitching — the kind you might see on a boat sail — running sideways on a windbreaker, and the zip-up blouson in a technical fabric, printed like a traditional silk scarf. In an understated nod to youth culture, the bottom of the Bolide bag was in the shape of a skateboard. A new silhouette emerged, too, drawing on cropped jackets and high-water trousers, worn with canvas high-top sneakers, successfully channelling the famous nonchalant French attitude. Accessories included belts made of rope or technical knits, with hook clasps and “H” buckles, sandals and suede goatskin ankle boots, as well as bags in military canvas. The house teamed for the third time with director Cyril Teste, who continued to bring fresh ideas to the evolving craft of fashion presentations.

The partnership has proven successful for capturing the mood, relaying the excitement of a show through a screen when in-person events were not possible, and this time, offering a view on details that would be lost in a traditional show, thanks to movie theatre-sized screens alongside the runway. The show was held outdoors in the courtyard of a favourite Hermès show venue, France’s Mobilier National building, home to the state-owned furniture.

Perched on boxy seats, the audience donned black rain capes by the label Rains. “Unforeseen events stimulate creativity,” Nichanian said. “I had to reinvent my approach to designing and presenting clothes.” Reinvention has indeed been a buzzword during this choppy period, and it’s clear the historic house approaches the concept with great care. But the role of experience feels equally relevant, especially when considering that Nichanian’s tenure stretches back to 1988, serving as a reminder that with disruption also comes the opportunity for the well versed to shine. — Mimosa Spencer

hermes.com

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring 2022

‘Tis the season of the mega-collaboration.

Just hours after Dior revealed it was teaming up with Travis Scott on its spring 2022 men’s collection, Louis Vuitton dropped another bombshell during Paris Fashion Week: The French luxury brand has partnered with Nike on new versions of its iconic Air Force 1 sneakers.

The shoes, which come in 21 colourways, were unveiled on Thursday as part of Virgil Abloh’s men’s collection for Vuitton, but additional details were scarce. Asked whether they would be made available for sale, the house merely said: “Stay tuned for more details.”

The launch marks a full-circle moment in hip-hop culture. Abloh, who has a highly successful collaboration with Nike through his Off-White label, was inspired by the cover of the 1988 album “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock. It shows E-Z Rock wearing a Nike Air Force 1 basketball trainer altered with a swoosh adorned in the Louis Vuitton monogram.

“The cover embodied the hip-hop community’s early practice of hacking together high fashion and sportswear, sidelining diverging brands with equal reverence. A cultural symbol in its own right, today the Nike Air Force 1 serves as an objet d’art emblematic of self-generated subcultural provenance,” Vuitton said in its collection notes.

Or as Outfitgrid founder Dennis Todisco commented on Instagram: “When the fake becomes real.”

For Abloh, the U.S.-born son of Ghanaian immigrants, it’s yet another chapter in a narrative that has seen him rise from outsider to kingmaker. He acknowledged as much in a short speech to his team, gathered in a cinema in Paris for the premiere of his collection film, titled “Amen Break” after a famous drum sample.

“Fashion can make you feel like things are impossible. We’re a part of a team that can make people feel a specific way. And through this body of work that we’re about to see on the screen, we deconstruct and dissolve and melt away this idea that fashion is elitist, or fashion is for only a select few,” he said.

Indeed, Abloh has blown open the gates of luxury to a whole new category of participant, from the kids who line up for his sneaker drops to the talent that takes part in his shows. 

Musicians GZA, Goldie, Saul Williams, Lupe Fiasco and Shabaka Hutchings appear in the film alongside “Les Misérables” actor Issa Perica, in a storyline inspired by the classic Japanese kung fu film “Lone Wolf and Cub.” Chess is a sub-plot, inspired by the cover of GZA’s seminal album “Liquid Swords,” as well as Vuitton’s signature Damier motif.

In fashion terms, the theme translated into a plethora of check motifs, on items ranging from luxed-up track suits to tailored suit jackets paired with floor-length skirts, in a nod to traditional garments ranging from kilts to kendo uniforms. Checkered bodysuits served as an underpinning for a fuchsia suit, a silver foil jacket and pants, and sober black outfits inspired by martial arts garb. 

The central idea was a confrontation between tailoring and trackpants, which materialized into a human chess game — though there was ultimately no winner. “I’m not choosing between one or the other. My signature is both,” Abloh said, noting that the logo of the film contains a yin-yang emblem. “That symbol fits perfectly in my canon.” 

Hence the leap between his new-gen suits — think short, belted jacket and pooling pants — and the raver elements in the collection, including airbrushed monogram-embossed leather jackets, and an outfit pieced together from rainbow-coloured flyers printed on leather, featuring the logo of Goldie’s record label Metalheadz.

Abloh said he wasn’t playing along traditional gender lines either. “We have straight-up A-line skirts. It’s liberating in 2021,” he said, pointing to a black-and-white rain jacket worn over a hoop skirt. The designer considers it as the natural evolution of a year that has seen social issues from Black Lives Matter to trans rights take centre stage.

“The next thing in fashion isn’t in fashion. It’s in people, it’s in the atmosphere, it’s in the streets, it’s in the socio-political,” he said. “Decision, gender, diversity: those aren’t even hot topics. That’s top line. That’s already been established. Now, it’s developing men’s wear into showing the freedom that can be.”

Now on his seventh collection for the house, Abloh feels increasingly legitimate in delivering his point of view. “I’m older, so I don’t feel the fear of being young and trying to stake a claim or aim high,” he said. Yet the striver in him is never far below the surface: by bringing the bootleg back to the source, he’s scored yet another win for the culture. — Joelle Diedrich.

louisvuitton.com

Loewe

Loewe Mens Spring 2022

Growing up in Northern Ireland, Jonathan Anderson remembers going out to the clubs on Friday night, which involved “lots of aftershave” and experimenting with different kinds of fashions. He channelled that anything-goes, hedonistic spirit into his spring men’s collection for Loewe, which goes from handsome tailored coats in the Spanish house’s Anagram logo or glossy cactus leather to what he described as “full disco ball.” Cue the show video, which depicts a young man in a tinsel-fringed tank and shorts dancing with abandon in a nightclub in Marseille, laser beams slicing the air. Other revellers showed up in sequined, zebra-motif shorts and tops, or neon knits layered up like glow-stick bracelets. “It’s about dressing outside of your comfort zone, or dressing for imaginary or real events,” Anderson explained in a Zoom call. “It’s about losing yourself in a crowd.”

In addition to the video, with voiceover musings from Anderson, Loewe published two sumptuous hardcover books: one featuring the hoodlum paintings and grimy, violence-tinged photos of German artist Florian Krewer; the other photos by David Sims of street-cast characters hanging around a basketball court, or playing with pink bubble wrap in a studio. Also included in the designer’s latest “collection in a box” were art posters, luminescent bedroom ceiling stars and a snap bracelet. Despite that avalanche of content, some of it disquieting, and Anderson’s deep thoughts about our nearly post-COVID-19 world, what came across in the collection was spontaneity and the rush of fashion experimentation.

Like a teenage Anderson prepping for a big night out, one can imagine a daring Loewe customer tickled to try out a leather parka with portholes at the knee; a tiered top of knotted and draped satin, or a ribbed cotton tank and matching shorts in a beach-y print. One of the most striking — and bonkers — garments in the collection is a lean Crombie coat with a convex shield of hammered metal sewn into the back. Anderson loves that it “distorts the silhouette” while at the same time reminding him of the funhouse mirrors at a local carnival. Boys, they wanna have fun, too. — Miles Socha

loewe.com

Jil Sander

“It’s about the person, rather than the uniform,” said Luke Meier, discussing the men’s spring 2022 collection he codesigned with his wife Lucie. It was presented as part of Paris Men’s Fashion Week with a video filmed at a shabby, dated Milanese hotel.

Luke Meier, who is Canadian, looked back at his years in New York City when he was designing for Supreme. “When I moved there, I discovered that guys had the best kind of style; they were mixing and matching things, experimenting with garments in their wardrobe, in a way [that] felt sophisticated and effortless,” he explained during a meeting at the Jil Sander showroom in Milan. The collection felt more relaxed and in sync with the current times than ever. The designers experimented with colours, shapes and patterns in a way that felt chic, but with humour and an effortless cool. Sartorial influences merged with utilitarian and streetwear influences, while more eccentric touches included silk tops with a fur-like look and jewellery details.

The lineup included suits in pastel tones cut in precise, yet relaxed silhouettes; a cheetah-printed furry vest was layered under a hooded lightweight coat; ribbed cardigans with leather-covered buttons were paired with polo shirts, while colour-blocked vests with a tactile feel came off as arty. Vintage graphics appearing on the windows of local delis in New York were introduced in the collection through the patches peppering baggy pants, the artisanal intarsia and embroideries of knitted pieces, as well as via allover prints on flight suits. With this spring effort, Lucie and Luke Meier unveiled a new side of their multifaceted creativity, one light-heartened and young. — Alessandra Turra

jilsander.com

Paul Smith

Paul Smith Men’s Spring 2022

Don’t read too much into the “outdoor exploration” theme Paul Smith assigned to his sprightly spring men’s wear collection. “It’s not about hunting, shooting and fishing. It’s more about, ‘At last we’re out!’” he said, expressing that universal yearning for fresh air and open spaces after extended periods of sheltering in place. Tourists of yore — including the era of leisure suits — came to mind viewing the shirt jackets, blousons and safari styles matched to Bermudas or pleated pants, and accessorized with sun hats and cross-body bags.

In fact, Smith was just showing that a suit can now be composed of many different elements. He coined the term “new working wardrobe” for tailored items done in a range of fine Italian fabrics, colour unifying the top and bottom pieces. And my, what colours! Smith has a vacation home in Lucca, Italy, and he borrowed the shades of Tuscan terracotta, the Mediterranean sky and those dramatic summer sunsets, giving his lineup a summery spirit. Bold sunflower prints looked great on camp shirts.

When Smith started out in men’s wear, stripes for men came in navy and white, burgundy and white and not much else. He’s pioneered multicoloured stripes and they looked terrific here as a snug scuba top or a slouchy sweater with the ease of a sweatshirt. The designer also employed stripes from vintage tents for a collaboration on nylon bags with Japanese luggage-maker Porter. Smith’s creative video had models whisking across an indoor runway set consisting of an undulating ceiling and a speckled floor resembling a vintage Formica kitchen table. But do take these smart and cheerful clothes out for a stroll. — Miles Socha

paulsmith.com

Casablanca

Casablanca Mens Spring 2022

It’s been a tough year for globetrotters like Charaf Tajer. The Casablanca designer dedicated his spring collection to a friend in Japan, a country he’s visited 26 times by his count. “Every time I go, it’s more and more impressive to me. Japan for me is almost like school; I learn so much,” he raved. “The way they execute things, the way they are passionate about everything. So I wanted to pay homage to this place that I miss and I love so much.” He titled the coed collection “Masao San” after his old pal, a waiter with a unique sense of style. “He’s really a phenomenal person,” Tajer explained. “He inspired me on so many levels.” The film alternated between the graphic aesthetic of ‘90s Japanese consumer electronics ads, and elements of ‘80s Memphis design set against a pastel backdrop. “I’m having a baby in September and I think that inspired me indirectly. We were designing and we noticed that everything came out in a baby palette,” Tajer said. The combination of the brand’s signature colour gradients with Memphisstyle wavy lines made for a surefire dopamine boost.

There’s something naively enthusiastic about Tajer’s embrace of different cultures that’s reflected in his trademark souvenir jackets, which this season were embroidered with shell motifs or a rendering of Mount Fuji. From there, he bounced off in several directions.

The designer offered suit jackets with squiggly lapels, and a fresh take on the Casablanca monogram in a zig-zag pattern — a teaser for his upcoming collaboration with table tennis gear-maker Butterfly.  To celebrate the reveal, he hosted a cocktail at the Ritz hotel, where a pingpong table was set up near a grand piano in a reception room.

In the garden, Alton Mason, modelling a short-sleeved zippered jacket and white pants, mingled with guests including Ella Emhoff and her boyfriend Sam Hine, and “Emily in Paris” stars Ashley Park and Samuel Arnold. Tajer had initially planned to stage a physical runway show, but said too many guests were still unable to travel to France. “I prefer to come back when it’s time to do the shows in the right way,” he said. No doubt, his colourful vision will be even more of a tonic in 3D. — Joelle Diderich

casablancaparis.com

 

Burberry

Burberry Men’s Spring 2022

Riccardo Tisci is feeling the heat — of summer, dancing in the desert and outdoor raves. His collection, filled with spare shapes, sleeveless silhouettes and lots of graphic patterns, was a tribute to the outdoors, post-lockdown freedom and a new generation of customers that wants to wear Burberry in the heat — as well as in the cold and rain.

Tisci said he’s been looking at who’s buying from the brand, and said the new, younger customer is spending on sporty, featherlight hoodie jackets, sneakers, jersey pieces and swimwear. “They want summer from Burberry,” he said in an interview. “So it’s a playful wardrobe — deconstructed classics for summer.”

He lopped the sleeves off trenches, tops and hoodies; did away with collars and lightened up tailored pieces to great effect. Female models wore itsy bitsy bathing suits — and they were certainly well-dressed for the weather on set. The show was shot against a background reminiscent of “Mad Max” films at Royal Victoria Dock in East London. There were mountains, acres of sand and a little zone off to the side where Burberry-clad ravers moved to an electronic soundtrack from the English music project Shpongle.

Boxy tops — a personal favourite of Tisci’s — were made for moving, dancing and keeping cool. They were sleeveless, too, and some had geometric patterns at the front. There was lots of leather — harness tops and sleeveless bomber jackets with rib-knit trims and studded straps — although they might begin to feel a little sweaty in the desert sun. In addition to the chic, stringy bathing suits, Tisci’s women wore slip dresses and a sequin-covered trench that glittered oasis-like against the sand.

It is clear that three national lockdowns, and ongoing social and travel restrictions in the U.K., have been getting under Tisci’s skin. “To be in a big open space! To be able to scream! I think a lot of people — and especially teenagers and people in their 20s — are all feeling the same way,” he said. It’s no wonder he called the show “Universal Passport.” The Brits — no matter how old or young — are desperate to get the heck out, socialize, travel abroad — and shout. — Samantha Conti

burberry.com

GmbH

Backstage at GmbH Men’s Spring 2022

Diversity has always been at the root of the GmbH label, with founders Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik mining their multicultural backgrounds with strongly autobiographical collections. This season, the duo turned the tables with a lineup that riffed on bourgeois tropes and WASP culture.  “We wanted to shift the conversation. Instead of always focusing on our own Blackness or brown-ness — being the ‘other’ — we wanted to talk about whiteness,” Huseby explained. “We definitely wanted to create a conversation that might make some people uncomfortable.” The collection, titled “White Noise,” is a wry comment on the ruling class, viewing yuppie staples like jodhpurs, polo shirts and riding boots through a queer lens. Varsity vests were ruched to expose the midriff, while Western shirts came tied at the waist to show off silver belly chains. A striped dress shirt, meanwhile, was inset with panels of corset lacing. The designers reprised the shawl constructions they introduced last season, but gave them a lighter spin in fabrics like denim, or baby pink and blue fake fur, paired with shredded jeans.  They were inspired by scenes in the documentary “Paris Is Burning,” showing Black and Latino ballroom dancers competing in bougie Town and Country outfits, as well as the way music stars in the ‘90s were appropriating and subverting white culture.

“Fashion is a kind of drag, so no matter what you wear, you’re dressing up for a role, even if you’re subconscious about it,” Huseby said. In contrast with most brands’ reluctance to comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, GmbH has collaborated with Palestinian fashion label Trashy Clothing on a halter top that reads: “Free Palestine.” Proceeds will benefit charities including Al Qaws, the oldest official Palestinian LGBTQ organization.  Despite the risk of backlash, Isik, a German of Turkish descent, believes fashion needs to address political issues.

“Ten years ago, pre-identity age, my graduate collection was about Islamophobia. The collection was called I Don’t Have Any Weapons, and I was barely allowed to defend my thesis at the university. And now we’re here, and we are in the positions that we are,” he said. “We have to continue being brave and talking about these things.” Huseby and Isik were recently named creative directors of Italian brand Trussardi, which touted their “socially engaged perspective.” This collection proved they won’t be toning it down to court mainstream acceptance. — Joelle Diderich

gmbhgmbh.eu

Officine Générale

Officine Générale Men’s Spring 2022

Celebrating the return of Parisians to the streets of their beloved capital, Pierre Mahéo took to the runway with a coed lineup that channelled the city’s nonchalant elegance and its current festive mood. The venue was a spacious historic building in the heart of the Marais district, hollowed out for renovations, with space to mingle — and reunite. “I wanted to get back to a fashion show without any further delay,” the designer wrote in a note to guests. He went on to explain how the prolonged period grounded at home had allowed for deep exploration of his Parisian roots. This yielded a lineup of suits and trouser-jacket combinations for spring, with plenty of options for anyone interested in riding the shorts-for-the-office trend. Plying monochromic looks, Mahéo offered them in navy, olive green, greys, ivory and an eye-catching lavender. He also wove in an extra soft, recycled denim, zip-up shirts and hoodies that edged over to the realm of outerwear, as well as leather bomber jackets, some tie-dye and a few dresses  — one printed with paisleys. Mahéo has built his label on a contemporary approach to tailoring, working in extra ease without compromising the refinement intended by such silhouettes. Mastering the slouchy trouser, he worked in straighter cuts from the knee down this season, and included baggy, skater-style pants in a lightweight wool for summer. “Our pants business has been on fire for the past year and a half,” he said after the show, still breathless from the emotion of the first runway presentation in 16 months. He mentioned he’s off to New York shortly. The label plans to open a store in the city, kicking off an expansion drive backed by new investors. It might be just in time for the big migration back to work. For anyone feeling apprehensive about the return to office life, Mahéo’s got some good ideas about what our uniform should be. Dress like a Parisian. — Mimosa Spencer

officinegenerale.com

Dunhill

Dunhill MenÕs Spring 2022

Mark Weston, who took a few cues from Coco Chanel, swapped nylon for silk faille and worked a playful colour palette inspired by the Polaroids of artist Ellen Carey, described this collection as a marriage of “extravagance — and practicality.” He was spot on, but he forgot to add one word: fun. This latest outing had all the whimsy and joy that Weston has quietly been stitching into his collections for the brand, which until just a few years ago was best known for its traditional tailored suits, tuxedos and luxe leather accessories, made for boardrooms, country clubs and corner offices.

Not any more: Weston may have a reverence for Dunhill’s past as a posh tailor, but he’s also been eager to dress a new clientele for lives that have nothing to do with mahogany desks and black tie fundraisers. His looser shapes, zingy colour palette (see the striped Dr. Who scarf from the fall 2021 collection) and nonchalant chic have been attracting customers from all sorts of orbits, including Kanye West, while in China, female celebrities like Chris Lee, Ni Ni and Song Zu’er have been wearing the men’s styles. Weston seemed to be having even more fun with the latest collection, making baseball caps — in pink, no less — out of silk faille fabric; roomy cardigans with shiny buttons that would have made Coco smile, or even fattening up seersucker stripes for a jacket that looked as if it were made from thick crinkly ribbons. There was a practical, utility side, too, in the form of modular parkas with zips and hi-viz pops of colour; the (now signature) split hem trousers done in nylon; electric bright cummerbunds (a nod to Dunhill’s tuxedo credentials) that doubled as crossbody bags, and — of course — a lineup of lovely tailored suits. Ellen Carey’s colorful psychedelic Polariod smears — made by pulling apart the photo papers — provided inspiration for prints on raw-edged silk tops, and for an upbeat palette of pastels and jewel tones designed for a good time, although not in the board room. — Samantha Conti

dunhill.com

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Escape from the Ordinary

Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean.

By Robb Report Team 19/02/2024

Not all cruises are created equally. Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the pristine Greek Islands, the narrow Corinth Canal to the picturesque Dalmatian coast, historic Istanbul and beguiling Malaga, each destination is a unique adventure waiting to be unravelled. With Ponant, these aren’t just locations on a map; they’re experiences that come alive with the intimate knowledge and insight that their expert guides provide.

Ponant’s luxury cruises are renowned for their individuality, with no two journeys the same. This is not by chance. Itineraries are scrupulously designed to ensure that each passenger is left with a feeling of having embarked on a journey unlike any other.

Athens-Venise. Photograph by N.Matheus. ©PONANT

In 2025, their fleet will set sail for a combined 56 departures from March to October, exploring the dreamy locales of Greece and the Greek Islands, Malta, Italy (including Venice and Sicily), Croatia, France, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. These European Journeys offer an intimate encounter with the Mediterranean, its people and culture. As you cruise in luxury, you’ll dive deep into the heart of each destination, exploring historic sites, engaging with locals, sampling scrumptious cuisine and soaking in the vibrant atmospheres.

The company’s small, sustainable ships, which can accommodate from as few as 32 to 264 guests, have the exclusive ability to sail into ports inaccessible to larger cruise liners, affording privileged entry into some of the world’s most treasured alcoves. Picture sailing under London’s iconic Tower Bridge, crossing the Corinth Canal, or disembarking directly onto the sidewalk during ports of call in culturally rich cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Nice and Venice, among others.

Photo by Tamar Sarkissian. ©PONANT

This singular closeness is further enriched by destination experts who unravel the tapestry of each locale’s history and traditions.

Onboard their luxurious ships, every guest is a VIP and treated to refined service and amenities akin to sailing on a private yacht. Whether at sea or ashore, their destination experts guarantee a fascinating experience, immersing you in the rich cultural and historical diversity of each region.

Indulge in the finest gastronomy at sea, inspired by none other than gastronomic virtuoso and Ponant partner, Alain Ducasse. Each voyage offers an expertly crafted dining experience, from a-la-carte meals with perfectly matched wines by the onboard Sommelier at dinner and lunch, to a French-inspired buffet breakfast, featuring all the favourite pastries, fresh bread and quality produce.

Chef Mickael Legrand. Photograph by NickRains. ©PONANT

For a more intimate discovery, consider Le Ponant, with its 16 high-class staterooms and suites—perfect for private charter—sailing eight exclusive routes between Greece and Croatia, offering guests unparalleled experiences both onboard and ashore. Ponant’s commitment to crafting unforgettable experiences extends beyond itineraries. Aboard their ships, the luxury is in every detail. Unwind in opulent cabins and suites, each offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the azure water and destinations beyond.

Ponant’s upcoming European Journeys are more than just cruises—they’re your passport to a world of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and unrivalled luxury. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on the voyage of a lifetime: the Mediterranean is calling.

To book European 2025 sailings visit au.ponant.com; call 1300 737 178 (AU) or 0800 767 018 (NZ) or contact your preferred travel agent.

 

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Saint Laurent Just Opened a New Bookstore in Paris. Here’s a Look Inside.

The chic new outpost is located on the city’s arty Left Bank.

By Rachel Cormack 14/02/2024

Saint Laurent is taking over even more of Paris.

The French fashion house, which only just opened an epic new flagship on Champs-Élysées, has launched a chic new bookstore on the Left Bank. Located in the 7th arrondissement, Saint Laurent Babylone is a mecca of art, music, literature, and, of course, fashion.

The new outpost is a tribute to the connection that Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé had to the Rue Babylone, according to Women’s Wear Daily. (In 1970, the pair moved to a 6,500-square-foot duplex on the street.) It is also inspired by the house’s original ready-to-wear boutique, Saint Laurent Rive Guache, which opened in the 6th arrondissement in 1966.

The exposed concrete in contrasted by sleek marble accents. SAINT LAURENT

With a minimalist, art gallery-like aesthetic, the space is anchored by a hefty marble bench and large black shelves. The raw, textured concrete on the walls is juxtaposed by a soft blue and white rug, a wooden Pierre Jeanneret desk, and sleek Donald Judd stools.

The wares within Saint Laurent Babylone are the most important part, of course. Curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello, the collection includes everything from photos by British artist Rose Finn-Kelcey to books published by Saint Laurent itself. Some tomes on offer are so rare that white gloves are required for handling.

The store also offers an enviable selection of records that are no longer being pressed. Highlights include Sade’s Promise, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, and the debut studio album of electronic band Kraftwerk.

Other notable items on the shelves include Leica cameras, chocolates made in collaboration with pastry chef François Daubinet, prints by Juergen Teller, and brass skull sculptures. You’ll also find an assortment of YSL merch, including pens, lighters, and cups.

To top it off, Saint Laurent Babylone will double as an event space, hosting live music sessions, DJ sets, book readings, and author signings over the coming months.

Saint Laurent’s latest endeavor isn’t exactly surprising. With Vaccarello at the helm, the Kering-owned fashion house has entered new cultural realms. Only last year, the label established a film production company and debuted its first movie at Cannes.

The space is fitted with a Pierre Jeanneret desk and Donald Judd stools.
SAINT LAURENT

Perhaps Saint Laurent film reels and movie posters will soon be available at Babylone, too.

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The Best Watches at the Grammys, From Maluma’s Jacob & Co. to Jon Batiste’s Vacheron Constantin

Music’s biggest names sported some outstanding watches on Sunday evening.

By Rachel Mccormack 08/02/2024

Weird yet wonderful watches punctuated this year’s Grammys.

The woman of the moment, Taylor Swift, who made history by winning Album of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time, wore an unconventional Lorraine Schwartz choker watch to the annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. That was just the tip of the horological iceberg, though.

Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma elevated a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds, while American musician Jon Batiste topped off a stylish Versace ensemble with a sleek Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon. Not to be outdone, rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for the occasion.

There was more understated wrist candy on display, too, such as Jack Antonoff’s Cartier Tank LC and Noah Kahan’s Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo.

For the rest of the best watches we saw on the Grammys 2024 red carpet, read on.

Maluma: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Maluma busted out some truly spectacular bling for this year’s Grammys. The Colombian singer-songwriter paired a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds. The sculptural wrist candy sees a four-arm movement floating in front of a breathtaking dial adorned with no less than 257 rubies. For added pizzaz, the lugs of the 18-karat rose-gold case are invisibly set with 80 baguette-cut white diamonds. Limited to just nine examples, the rarity is priced at $1.5 million.

Asake: Hublot Big Bang Essential Grey

Nigerian singer-songwriter Asake may not have won the Grammy for Best African Music Performance for “Amapiano,” but did wear a winning Hublot Big Bang at Sunday’s proceedings. Released in 2023, the Essential Grey model is made purely of titanium for a sleek, uniform feel. The 42 mm timepiece was limited to just 100 pieces and cost $37,000 a pop.

John Legend: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding

Multihyphenate John Legend wore a legendary Audemars Piguet with silky Saint Laurent on Sunday evening. The self-winding Royal Oak in question features a 34 mm black ceramic case, a black grande tapisserie dial, and striking pink gold accents. The watchmaker’s signature is also displayed in gold under the sapphire crystal. The piece will set you back $81,000.

Jon Batiste: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon

American musician Jon Batiste received four nominations but no wins at this year’s Grammys. The “Butterfly” singer can take solace in the fact that he looked ultra-sharp in Versace and Vacheron Constantin. A tribute to the spirit of travel, the Overseas Tourbillon features a 42.5 mm white-gold case, a bezel set with 60 baguette-cut diamonds, and a blue dial featuring a dazzling tourbillon cage inspired by the Maltese cross. Price upon request, naturally.

Fireboy DML: Cartier Santos

Fireboy DML’s outfit was straight fire on Sunday night. The Nigerian singer paired an MCM wool jacket with a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, several iced-out rings, and a sleek Cartier Santos. The timepiece features a steel case, a graduated blue dial with steel sword-shaped hands, and a seven-sided crown with synthetic faceted blue spinel.

Noah Kahan: Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo

Best New Artist nominee Noah Kahan wore one of Panerai’s best new watches to Sunday’s festivities. The Luminor Quaranta BiTempo features a 40 mm polished steel case and a black dial with luminous numerals and hour markers, a date display at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The timepiece can be yours for $14,000.

Busta Rhymes: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Legendary rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a chic Audemars Piguet for this year’s Grammys. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in question is distinguished by a 42 mm rose-gold case and a matching pink méga tapisserie dial with an outer flange for the tachymeter scale. The face is fitted with three black subdials, large black numerals, and a black date display at 3 o’clock. You can expect to pay around $61,200 for the chronograph on the secondary market.

Jack Antonoff: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Producer of the year Jack Antonoff took to the red carpet with a stylish Cartier on his wrist. The Tank Louis Cartier in question appears to be a large 33.7 mm example that features an 18-carat rose-gold case, a silvered dial with black Roman numerals and blued steel hands, a beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon, and a brown alligator strap. It’ll set you back $19,900.

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This 44-Foot Carbon-Fiber Speedboat Can Rocket to 177 KMPH

The new Mayla GT is available with a range of different powertrains, too.

By Rachel Cormack 03/02/2024

We knew the Mayla GT would be one of the most exciting boats at Boot Düsseldorf, but a deep dive into the specs shows it could be downright revolutionary.

The brainchild of German start-up Mayla, the 44-footer brings you the blistering performance of a speedboat and the luxe amenities of a motor yacht in one neat carbon-fiber package.

Inspired by the go-fast boats of the 1970s and ‘80s, the GT sports an angular, retro-futuristic body and the sleek lines of a rocket ship. Tipping the scales at just 4500 kilograms, the lightweight design features a deep-V hull with twin transversal steps and patented Petestep deflectors that help it slice through the waves with ease. In fact, Mayla says the deflectors decrease energy usage by up to 35 percent while ensuring a more efficient planing.

The range-topping GT can reach 185 kph. MAYLA

The GT is also capable of soaring at breakneck speeds, with the option of a gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid powertrain. The range-topping GTR-R model packs dual gas-powered engines that can churn out 3,100 hp for a top speed of more than 100 knots (185 kph). At the other, more sustainable end of the spectrum, the E-GT is fitted with an electric powertrain that can produce 2,200 horses for a max speed of 50 knots. The hybrid E-GTR pairs that same electric powertrain with a 294 kilowatt diesel engine for a top speed of 60 knots (111 km/h/69 mph). (The GT in the water at Boot sported two entry-level V8s good for 650 hp and a top speed of over 70 knots.)

The GT is suitable for more than just high-speed jaunts, of course. The multipurpose cockpit, which can accommodate up to eight passengers, features a sundeck with sliding loungers, a wet bar and BBQ, and a foldaway dining table for alfresco entertaining. Further toward the stern, a beach club sits atop a garage with an electric transom door.

The garage has an electric transom door. MAYLA

The GT is even fit for overnight stays. Below deck lies a cabin with a double bed, sofa, wardrobe, vanity, and en suite. You can also expect a high-tech entertainment system with TVs and premium audio.

As for price, the GT with the entry-level powertrain will cost between $2.7 million and $2.9, depending on the final configuration. (You can fine-tune the layout, hull color, and interiors, naturally.) Interested buyers can set up a sea trial with Mayla, with test-drives set to begin this spring in Europe.

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Red Centre

First Nations artist Shaun Daniel Allen joins forces with Chopard to create a timepiece inspired by the Australian landscape.

By Horacio Silva 29/01/2024

Shaun Daniel Allen does not look like your typical collaborator on a prestige watch. For one, Shal, as he prefers to be known (“There are many Shauns but only one Shal,” he explains), is more heavily tattooed than your average roadie. His youthful appearance, bad-boy ink and all, belies his 38 years and leads to a disconnect. 

He recounts being recognised on the street recently by a journalist, who, unable to remember his name, shouted out, “Chopard!” “I was with a friend,” Shal says, holding court in his apartment in Sydney’s inner city, “and he’s, like, ‘What the hell? Does that happen to you often?’”

Perhaps because of his body art, he reasons, “People don’t put me and Chopard together.” It’s not hard to understand the confusion, Shal adds; even he was taken aback when Chopard reached out to him about a potential collaboration a little more than a year ago. “When I first went in to see them, I was, like, I don’t know if I’m your guy. I’m not used to being in those rooms and having those conversations.”

He’ll have to adapt quickly to his new reality. Last month Chopard released Shal’s interpretation of the Swiss brand’s storied Alpine Eagle model, which in itself was a redo of the St. Moritz, the first watch creation by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (now Co-President of Chopard) in the late 1970s. 

Previewed at Sydney’s About Time watch fair in September, to not insignificant interest, and officially known as the Alpine Eagle Sunburnt, the exclusive timepiece—issued in a limited edition of 20—arrives as a stainless steel 41 mm with a 60-hour power reserve and a burnt red dial that brings to mind the searing Outback sun. Its see-through caseback features one of Shal’s artworks painted on sapphire glass.

When the reputable Swiss luxury brand approached Shal, they already had the red dial—a nod to the rich ochre hues of the Australian soil at different times of the day and gradated so that the shades become darker around the edges—locked in as a lure for Australian customers.

Shal was charged with designing an artful caseback and collectible hand-painted sustainable wooden case. After presenting a handful of paintings, each with his signature abstract motifs that pertain to indigenous emblems, tattoos and music, both parties landed on a serpentine image that evoked the coursing of rivers. “I have been painting a lot of water in this last body of work and the image we chose refers to the rivers at home,” he says, alluding to formative years spent at his grandfather’s, just outside of Casino.

It says a lot about Chopard, Shal points out, that they wanted to donate to a charity of his choosing. “Like everything else on this project,” he explains, “they were open to listening and taking new ideas on board and it actually felt like a collaboration, like they weren’t steering me into any corner.”

In another nice touch, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the watch will go to funding programs of the Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Corporation—an organisation, established in 1995 by Bundjalung elders, whose work Shal saw firsthand after the 2022 eastern Australia flood disasters ravaged their area. “Seeing Ngunya Jarjum suffer from the floods,” he says, “and knowing how much they do for the community on Bundjalung Country was heartbreaking. I want to see Bundjalung families thriving and supported.”

So what’s it been like for this booster of Australian waterways to be swimming in the luxury end of the pool? “I’ve done a few things with brands,” he offers, referring to the Louis Vuitton project earlier this year at an art gallery in Brisbane, “but nothing on this scale. It’s definitely fancier than I’m used to but I’m not complaining.” Neither are watch aficionados.

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