Paris menswear S/S15 provided an explosive array of kaleidoscope prints, retro florals, washed denim, embroidery and strong Japanese influences. We watched model Michael Bernasiak transform from a bird to a nymph, and Ben Waters grow a beard and a quiff in the space of a day. Here AnOther consider our top five favourite beauty moments.
1. Yohji Yamamoto's Beards
For S/S15, Yohji Yamamoto created his own group of lost boys, showing his collection on a band of wandering outlaws inspired by the story of a bohemian traveller, part highwayman part buccaneer, dressed in a textured blend of denim, jacquard and stripes. “Nomads who looked quite disheveled,” explains hair stylist Martin Cullen, who worked with make-up artist Jenny Coombs to achieve Yamamoto’s unkempt look. Each model was given prosthetic stubble applied with theatrical glue. “It was a two-three week regrowth. Yohji was quite specific about the length and it took several attempts to get it right. We glued long strips of hair to the face and then cut them back, then we dusted powder into the hair to look sun-beaten and travelled.” The collection itself was inscribed with messages and motifs, worn with fraying headscarves and a series of oddball hats reminiscent of a J.M. Barrie or Robert Louis Stevenson character. “It was a lengthy process,” says Coombs. “Most models had no facial hair when they arrived, and we had to colour match each beard.” This is not the first time that Yamamoto has experimented with facial hair. He can perhaps be largely credited for the hirsute trend that broke out after he featured eccentric French forks, flamboyant whiskers and Dalí curls for A/W13.
2. Walter Van Beirendonck's Facepaint
Walter Van Beirendonck’s whimsical, eccentric collections are a colourful mash-up of brilliantly quirky thoughts and sweeping inspirations, often with an underlying subversive message. S/S15 was no exception, with influences ranging from the magnificent bird of paradise to the notion of constant surveillance. For WHAMBAM! models wore bright facepaint and beaks reminiscent of mythical creatures in jacquard kimonos and painterly suiting. “The graphic black and white facepaint is inspired by ‘Dazzle’ camouflage, an incredible painting technique used on war-boats to mislead the enemy,” explains Beirendonck. The collection itself featured jackets in rich damask and graphic print, worn with Hakama-style trousers and printed lycra bodysuits. “Flowers, monkeys, animals, paradise, birds, beaches, palm trees, cargo cult and Papua New Guinea,” Beirendonck reels off. “Combined with sharks, blood, lyrca, jersey, cotton and nylon.” A wacky blend of colours and thoughts, but from the designer who has previously given us papier-mâché penis hats (S/S08) and models riding in on firearms (A/W10) we wouldn’t expect anything less.
3. Raf Simon’s Hair Extensions
Each model for the Raf Simons show wore long, bedraggled hair extensions, which hung down over the face in a style reminiscent of the retro horror films that Simons pulled on as a reference within his nostalgic collection. The clothing told a personal story for Raf: postcards and family photographs were autobiographically printed and stitched across denim shirts, woolen coats and knitwear, alongside other motifs which have personal connections, such as rollercoasters, spaceships and sharks. Styled by Guido Palau, the hair was worn wet, curling across the head. "Raf wanted the feeling of a horror movie, something a little spooky, a sinister type of man," Palau explains. Simons has been championing the wet hair look for several seasons now, since his S/S13 asymmetrical curls and last season's oiled fringes.
4. Rick Owen’s Pastel Paint
In 1912, Nijinsky's choreographic debut L'Après-Midi d'un Faune (Afternoon of a Faun) scandalised Paris. The ballet, created by Sergei Diaghilev and Vaslav Nijinksky, told the erotic tale of a faun and a group of high-octane nymphs, and climaxed with on-stage male penetration. For 2014, inspired by the tale, Rick Owens presented his own group of nymphs, daubed from head to toe in pastel paint.
However amidst the double-breasted coats, oversized tunics and harnesses, the collection had a sincerely personal feel: the embroideries featured on the back of each look were based on illustrations by the model Benoit, which he had drawn as his gratitude to Owen’s wife, Michèle Lamy, for taking him under her wing. Benoit and Owen have worked together for several years, and he opened the S/S15 show. Trailing fabric was scrawled with faces and landscapes drawn in yarn, and paired with heavy Adidas 'Superstar' shell-toe boots, while
hair was sculpted into spikes and severe partings by stylist Luigi Murenu. Owens and Murenu have collaborated for several seasons: Mureno is responsible for S/S13's iconic blunt triangle bobs and S/S11's primitive horn combs.
5. Comme des Garçons Homme Plus' Wigs
Coming from a fashion house which last season brought us oiled hair that hung over the face like mutant fingers, S/S15's greased-up quiffs may have seemed rather tame. However, the perfectly sculpted raven coiffures created by seasoned hair stylist Julien D’ys were the perfect balance for Rei Kawakubo's romantic rock 'n' roll army. Each model wore long, tusk-like shoes that curled upwards like a medieval boot, with suiting that spliced heavy wool with animal prints and silk shantung fabric and military jackets, contrasting navel cuffs and layered netting. However Rei Kawakubo’s army came in peace, their garments emblazoned with poignant slogans such as “Peace, Love and Empathy" and "Soldier of Peace”.
Text by Mhairi Graham