The world is about to go all baggy.
As stock markets tumble and economists talk of more tightening of belts, fashion has gone supersized, with Paris catwalks overflowing with outsized overcoats and baggy trousers.
If the first day of the menswear catwalks shows is anything to go by, men will be flapping around in too-long trousers and enormous ankle-length coats when the new autumn-winter designs hit the shops in six months’ time.
Most of the models in Off-White’s show looked as if they had borrowed their big brother’s clothes or were auditioning for a remake of the video of British ska band Madness’ 1980 hit “Baggy Trousers”.
American designer Virgil Abloh, fashion guru to the rapper Kanye West, went for long flowing greatcoats and bomber jackets with hands lost inside long sleeves and a series of huge overcoats that could double as man-sized badass baby sleep suits.
And former Dior darling Raf Simons, who left for his own label in October, took the supersize trend to still greater extremes with humongous hoodies and jumpers large enough to shelter a small family and their pets.
Even the usually restrained Parisian label Lemaire was in on the new look, mixing its classic restrained collection with boxy coats that go below knee and long baggy pants that are likely to fray on the pavement behind you.
Newcomers AVOC tried to give their look a snarling street wise twist. Their skinhead models played at being gang members.
In the face of such brazen bad manners Valentino was all perfect lines and grooming. But mid-show its design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli suddenly went all hippy with ponchos and rancher sheepskin jackets before going south of the border with black tailored suits with white stitching that channelled both the Mexican Day of the Dead and Cockney pearly kings.
The joyous highlight of the day, however, was the Belgian Walter Van Beirendonck’s riotously inventive show “Woest”, which means furious in his native Flemish.
With felt scarves with cuddly toys at one end and Kalashnikov rifle or chainsaw shapes at the other, van Beirendonck was clearly inspired by the terror attacks and migrant crisis shaking Europe.
Looking like a cross between Papa Smurf and a pirate with his full grey beard, orange bobble hat and pearl earrings, the designer told AFP the scarves were “like dolls. We wanted to create kind of puppets. We feel today like we are puppets and other people are pulling the strings. It is a mixture of very sweet things and very aggressive things which is what the world is like now.
“What has happened in the last year has been really depressing,” he added. “Everyone has the feeling the world is really fucked up and that things are out of control. The migrants, the attacks and the crime... It’s tough.”
Using bold primary colours and some eye catching mixes of ethnic, Amerindian and leopard skin motifs, van Beirendonck also went big and baggy but opted for shorter flared trousers, the better to show off his multi-coloured high-heeled Oxford shoes.
Emblazoned across the chest of one see-through sweater was the message “Stop terrorising our world”.
“Even the hardest things in life I try to transfer into the most colourful fabrics,” he said. “I don’t want to create doom.”
Models presenting creations by Kenzo during the men’s Fashion Week for the 2016-2017 Fall/Winter collection in Paris.