The Designers Bringing a Female Gaze to Paris Men’s Fashion Week

PARIS – As eyes turn to Paris for its jam-packed six-day schedule of 84 events, WWD spotlights three designers who are taking a feminine look at menswear and catering to an array of consumers whose only tag is style. they want to project.

Feng Chen Wang

For the Chinese designer Feng Chen Wang, parading successively in New York, London, Shanghai and now Paris is part of her career as a citizen of the world.

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“I’ve traveled everywhere, but I’ve also lived in a different city. [There are] many people like me, [within] our customers and our community. We come from different backgrounds, we connect to different cultures. The things we make and the things we put together are a deeper way to [expressing] who we are as a younger generation,” she said in a call from Shanghai.

The gender-neutral approach to her work is also in tune with her generation, which draws inspiration from traditional menswear layered with elements drawn from her Chinese heritage and a knack for deconstruction.

“At the beginning, I focused on the man, but [being a] female designer [in that segment] brought me many clients. So now I feel like when I refer to fitted women’s clothing or even with a skirt or a dress, I’m sure our consumers won’t just be women like [this sense of] freedom is part of the brand.

The current understanding of men’s and women’s clothing is “already outdated and their definition for the present and the future will change”, she continued.

A look of Feng Chen Wang's bespoke creations featured in the Metaverse.  - Credit: Courtesy of Feng Chen Wang

A look of Feng Chen Wang’s bespoke creations featured in the Metaverse. – Credit: Courtesy of Feng Chen Wang

Courtesy of Feng Chen Wang

After the increased visibility of the Beijing Winter Olympics, where she designed outfits worn by her fellow flag bearers, she made her mark in Paris with a presentation on June 26, felt as a milestone and a springboard to the next level.

Although its main market remains largely Asia, in particular China and Japan, this first participation marks the acceleration of its activity in Europe and North America.

Feng Chen Wang will also present bespoke creations. But don’t see this as just an exercise in luxury – it’s also about being smart and more sustainable as a business.

Hence his first steps into the metaverse on June 19, as part of the Shanghai Fashion Week digital showcase, with entirely virtual looks.

“Haute couture houses make everything physically before people order, but [for a business our size] it’s a sustainable path to move towards this business model in a modern, cool and youthful way,” she continued.

Given her sense of collaboration, which has led her to forge permanent partnerships with consumer brands Levi’s, Converse, Nike, Ugg but also the car manufacturer Piaggio, she is also eyeing new areas.

“I don’t see myself as a fashion designer but as a creative director,” she said, hinting at more lifestyle. “I feel like today’s generation is not just focused on clothes but also on a lifestyle, including what we eat, drink and how we travel.” —Lily Templeton

Jeanne Friot

When Parisian designer Jeanne Friot says she wants to dress everyone, she means it.

“If I dressed my grandmother, I would be delighted,” says this young 28-year-old graduate of the Ecole Duperré and the IFM, who spent two years at Balenciaga before starting her own business in 2020.

Based in the sustainable acceleration center La Caserne, Friot designs “clothes to make you feel powerful”, using leftover or recycled materials, with few other considerations than making the wearer feel – and looks – good.

“My job is not to create a collection that I apply to people. It speaks to the individual before fashion,” she said, noting that even the genderless label did not sit well with her given his view of gender as a spectrum.

Hence her description of Jeanne Friot’s client as “anyone, someone who is urban and who falls in love with the way we cut and make clothes”, in line with her vision that clothing should be “an energy and a personality”.

A look from Jeanne Friot's spring 2023 collection.  - Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Friot

A look from Jeanne Friot’s spring 2023 collection. – Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Friot

Courtesy of Jeanne Friot

Expect lashings of eye-catching Swarovski crystals, embroidery and feathered denim carried over from previous seasons in its Spring 2023 collection, revealed at 3:30 p.m. June 22 on FHCM’s digital platform, ahead of a physical presentation from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Palace of Tokyo.

While the removal of the genre fits the era and her generation, there is one place where she thinks it’s still needed – emphasizing that she’s a creator.

“When you start counting, you realize [how few prominent ones] there are,” in both menswear and womenswear, she said, noting that even houses founded by women have often been run by men lately.

“The designer’s gender always matters and it’s part of my [mission and values] put an end to this,” she said. —LT

Mowalola

Mowalola Ogunlesi, the Nigerian-born, London-based designer who until recently served as design director for the Yeezy Gap line, will present her spring 2023 collection in Paris for the first time on June 25.

Known for voicing her support for black culture and championing the “progressive and androgynous” Y2K aesthetic, Ogunlesi attended London’s Central Saint Martins and debuted at London Fashion Week with the emerging support platform by Lulu Kennedy, Fashion East, in 2019.

She caught the public eye after Naomi Campbell was spotted wearing a Mowalola dress with a gunshot wound design, which the designer said was meant to make her look like a walking target.

While working with Ye on the Yeezy Gap line, she dressed some of the biggest celebrities, including Drake, Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X and Solange Knowles, and built a sizable following online, selling t-shirts. with logo for 80 pounds. , tote bags for 200 pounds and miniskirts for 300 pounds through its own direct-to-consumer channel.

For his first collection after going solo, entitled “Burglar Wear”, Ogunlesi will begin a collaboration with a major sportswear brand.

FOR MORE ABOUT FASHION ON WWD.COM, SEE:

JW Anderson Men Spring 2023

Children of Discordance Men Spring 2023

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