PARIS — When the traveling circus arrives at last in Paris, creakier and grouchier than it began weeks ago in London but no less properly dressed, the men’s wear marathon begins its final lap.
After tumult and celebration in Milan - which offered drama at Gucci and self-congratulation on the Via Gesù, where the ever-growing number of men’s luxury stores, newly enhanced with the addition of Caruso, Rubinacci and Luciano Barbera, merited, in the opinion of the city, the honorary title of La Via dell’Uomo - Paris offers more creative satisfactions but, perhaps, fewer immediate highs and lows. Time will tell.
One early show, Carven, has disappeared from the runway. In October, Carven’s former designer, Guillaume Henry, decamped for Nina Ricci in the latest round of fashion musical chairs. His last men’s collection will be shown quietly, by appointment, as his successor has not yet been named.
Paris’s opening Wednesday brings Valentino, Haider Ackermann, Christophe Lemaire and Raf Simons to the fall 2015 conversation, with Mr. Simons using his invitation to make a bold statement, rendered in bright red letters on a fold-out poster: “To the archives, no longer relevant.” But what will all the obsessive collectors trawling eBay for bits of vintage Raf have to say about that?
After that, the week kicks into gear, with highlights every day. It wouldn’t be a Paris week without Rick Owens’s black-clad acolytes arriving en masse to his show, or the latest big-budget spectacle from Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton. (If his Instagram is any indication, he’s been looking at the work of the late English avant-garde designer Christopher Nemeth for inspiration,and at least one Daimler-printed bag.)
Paris Fashion Week is among the most global of the fashion weeks, where one day you can see the latest collections from Belgian labels, like Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Maison Margiela; another day, those from Japan, including Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garçons, Miharayasuhiro and Sacai. (Speaking of Japan, this season sees the return of an old idol of the Japanese-fashion cognoscenti: Takahiro Miyashita, of the cult-worshipped line Number (N)ine, who is showing his post-(N)ine collection, The Soloist, by appointment.)
Still, the farthest distance traveled between two shows may not even be a geographic leap, but an aesthetic one. For maximum whiplash, look to Sunday night, the very end of the men’s week. The final show is Saint Laurent, with its band of grimy young rockers, at 8 p.m. From there, a very few will make their way to Atelier Versace at 9 p.m., a parade of fabulous blond excess that marks the first show of the Haute Couture week.