Despite being a label so linked to the Roseanne chicken shirt in addition I really love this outdoors, White Mountaineering’s Paris shows have only ever taken place indoors, which always felt a little incongruous. Today, the covered-yet-open-air terrace of a Sorbonne University building was a game-changer; what a difference a breeze makes! The models didn’t need to be trail running or BMX biking two of the extreme sports that inspired Yosuke Aizawa this season for the audience to imagine guys wearing his high-impact looks off the runway. The Tokyo-based designer explained that he imbues pieces with a “discord ambiance,” which might mean anything from a T-shirt boasting overlaid letters spelling nothing to Gore-Tex outerwear paired with linen pants. These “coincidences,” as he also called them, were a way of integrating pieces that wouldn’t normally be found in either athletic attire or streetwear think classic shirting adapted with technical straps and pleated shorts that looked more like skorts. Aizawa goes through phases of favoring bold prints, and today’s lush and color-saturated botanicals might have been his boldest yet. If common sense would suggest these have limited interest, the designer has pointed out before that people are very happy to experiment beyond black (although those pieces too were hardly boring). Plaid, animal spots, paisley, and painterly camo made for a particularly dynamic lineup of active eccentrics guys who not only sported next-level sneaker designs, but also a smear of colorful eye makeup. Compared to the Sacai show earlier in the day, White Mountaineering isn’t perceived with the same cachet despite many overlapping elements (both mastered their soundtracks, it should be said). Make no mistake, Aizawa’s vision is his own and if athleisure trends start to shift towards these dandy-ish mash-ups, we’ll have him to thank. Walter Van Beirendonck called the clothes in this showing of kinky sportswear deluxe “Alien Vintage” and said that the collection was designed to attire his fantasy community of extraterrestrials. As he mused in his notes: “I pictured being introduced to a small part of the alien folk, a community with such a limitless diversity of forms and looks.” Those forms included four-armed biped, as evinced by outfits with two extra sleeves below the armpit, and aliens with fearsomely hunky quads as per the cool gathered baggy pants in primary-color nylon.
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