Dior AW20 bringing a London twist to Parisian menswear

Kim Jones injected a spot of English aristocratic insouciance into the DNA of Dior Friday, with a starry men's Paris fashion week show that riffed on British upper class eccentricity. This was the fabled French label at its most dandyish and decadent, with top coats with velvet collars, trompe l'oeil grey minks and a staggering silver-embroidered opera coat which will retail for 75,000 euros (83,000 US dollars).

Jones dedicated the show to his friend Judy Blame, the British stylist and punk and New Romantic iconoclast who died two years ago. Several of Blame's jewellery designs were included in the show, including a chain with a coin bearing his head, as well as his signature pearl-encrusted opera gloves.

"The world is a bit depressing at the moment and I wanted to do something celebratory" as a tribute to Blame's genius, Jones told AFP. "It's really upscale and decadent and terribly couture, with luxurious materials like vicuna and beautiful cashmere coats imitating sealskin." The British-born creator said he "always loved that London twist on Parisian chic couture", with leather trousers and natty re-imagined Chelsea boots.

"I like the thought that some of it looks like it has been handed down through an aristocratic family," Jones added.

Berluti not shy with leather

Berluti had earlier gone hell for leather for luxury in a day marked by a strong streak of decadence. Kris Van Assche, the Belgian creator who has rebooted the high-end French cobbler into a major fashion player, made a pitch to be the tailor of choice for the gods of global showbiz.

With hundreds of screaming fans waiting outside the Opera Garnier to catch a glimpse of Korean K-pop heartthrob Sehun and Taiwanese-Canadian actor Eddie Peng, Van Assche produced a collection that was as sensual to the touch as it was to the eye.

The former Dior designer has long been a prophet of a return to serious tailoring, and the rest of fashion seems to have caught up, with a battalion of other labels this week revisiting the classic men's suit. Rethought double-breasted suits came in rich reds and decadent purples and greens, with supermodel Bella Hadid rocking a mothball-blue one in the co-ed show whose front row was crammed with American rappers.

Van Assche further played with people's minds by making a puffer coat in feather-light patent, as well as Prince of Wales pattern overcoats and bomber jackets finely woven with leather.

Dries Van Noten presenting signature prints to the catwalk

"It is that little bit of originality that people come to Berluti for," the designer told AFP. "Sure, we are a traditional shoe company, but that doesn't mean our clothes should not stand out in the street."

"My job is to bring beauty to the world," Van Assche declared. The Dior and Berluti shows were further proof that Paris fashion was turning away from streetwear, which has dominated the catwalks for several seasons, towards a new and often eye-catchingly eccentric classicism. Dries Van Noten, the Belgian "Prince of Prints", talked about the emergence of a new "playful decadence" as he sent his models out with false fox furs and jewels draped around check jackets and coats.

Japanese designer Junya Watanabe tried to combine the two competing currents, splicing bomber jackets and sportswear into tweed jackets and coats in a valiant attempt to have the best of both worlds.

But Vetements, the rebel label founded by fashion's current enfant terrible Demna Gvasalia, was there to kick convention between the legs. Its first show without Gvasalia, who is now concentrating on designing for Balenciaga, was typically iconoclastic.

Kate Moss look-a-like

It featured a Kate Moss lookalike sprayed with fake tan (the real one was in the front row of the Dior show) and a baseball cap with the legend, "Gvasalia for President" above a T-shirt that warned sarcastically, "No social media thank you."(AFP)

Photo: Dior AW20, Catwalkpictures