Paris Men’s Fashion Week: Bold statements, A$AP Rocky’s surprise debut and Dries Van Noten’s farewell

Editor’s Note: CNN Style is one of the official media partners of Paris Fashion Week. See all coverage here.


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Paris may be readying itself for the Summer Olympics, but sporting events are not the only buzzy affairs taking place in the French capital. This past week, fashion designers converged in the city for Paris Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2025 menswear collections — but nothing was business as usual. Both the menswear shows and the couture shows (now in full swing) were moved up a week to avoid interfering with sport’s most celebrated event, and simmering political tensions ahead of the country’s surprise snap election, called by President Emmanuel Macron, have filled the streets with near daily protests in the past few weeks.

In this climate, there was no shortage of political commentary on the menswear runways, but perhaps the loudest by the American designers showing in the city. At Rick Owens’ grandiose show at the Palais de Tokyo, which featured a near-all white collection mixing biblical references and Art Deco, he sent out a diverse cast of models whom he called his “White Satin Army of Love” and urged solidarity with one another.

“Expressing our individuality is great but sometimes expressing our unity and reliance on each other is a good thing to remember too… especially in the face of the peak intolerance we are experiencing in the world right now,” he wrote in the show notes.

The Rick Owens collection was nearly all-white, featuring a collection of diverse models called the

Rapper A$AP Rocky, too, made a statement for his Paris Fashion Week debut — a secret show for his label AWGE, which launched earlier this year. Calling the presentation “American Sabotage,” it was hosted in Karl Lagerfeld’s former home, the 18th-century mansion Hôtel de Maisons, and attended, of course, by Rihanna, as well as Pusha T, Casey Affleck, and designers Jonathan Anderson and Willy Chavarria.

Guests were greeted with invitations bearing an antiwar sign and cakes resembling guns and cocaine bags, for an air of dystopia. On the runway, models marched with their heads covered by American eagle flags, wore slogans like “Don’t be Dumb” and carried plastic bags filled with cash. In the show notes, the rapper declared that his label is “more than just a brand—it’s a movement.”

“We’re wrecking boundaries and making statements through every piece, reflecting the spirit and resilience of our communities. This is fashion with purpose, where art meets activism,” he explained.

The Louis Vuitton show featured a number of nods to military uniform and aviation.
The label's signature

For his fourth showing with Louis Vuitton, Pharrell also played up military symbols, combining camouflage and damier — the luxury house’s signature checkerboard — into “damoflage.” The show, hosted at UNESCO headquarters, featured cartography graphics and military berets, and pointed to travel, aviation, international diplomacy and a creative dialogue — notably through collaborating with the creative collective Air Afrique on graphics.

And then there was KidSuper, another majestic show with giant marionette hands to which the models staggered out like puppets. Designer Colm Dillane wanted to “explore interconnectedness and the unseen forces shaping our world,” he wrote in show notes, inviting the audience to “reflect on autonomy” and the narratives we each construct for ourselves.

Elsewhere on the runways, designers brought subculture styles to the fore. German magazine 032C showed something akin to techno couture, which bridged a party-to-office lifestyle. Minimalist and functional, clothes spanned neon orange workwear to faux vintage sportswear to chokers and XXL cargo pants, all reminiscent of Berlin’s legendary nightlife style.

Junya Watanabe, meanwhile, presented a mix of tartan and heavy metal with reworked ACDC, Skorpions and Black Sabbath t-shirts onto a tailored wardrobe; and Doublet mixed club-kid aesthetics with suiting and graffitied tops. Models carried gold and silver pom poms — some as props, others as clutches — adding an unexpected accessory to both casual and more formal looks.

ACDC, Black Sabbath and Skorpion band T-shirts were central to the Junya Wanatabe runway.

And of course there was queer fashion label Jeanne Friot, with feather-adorned denim pants and belt bandeau skirts for all genders, entirely crafted out of deadstock. The designer wants to offer a wider range of expressions for men. “For me, punk today means… doing things locally, responsibly… just as much as addressing gender norms,” Friot explained in an interview following the show.

Across the menswear shows, other designers joined Friot in redefining what menswear looks like. Storied luxury house Comme des Garçons played with bright fuchsia tailoring and skirt pants, blending former gender distinctions. The layered maximalist collection featured ruffles, giant lapels and tulle, evoking the elaborate and delicate court attire of France’s former monarchy rather than functional fashion.

The latest Comme des Garçon collection featured lashings of Barbie pink and frothy tulle skorts.
The elaborate silhouettes and tulle ruffles harked back to the court attire of France's former monarchy.

Japanese brand Sacai, meanwhile, brought experimental couture to everyday clothes with a collection that focused on the joy and freedom of discovery, offering up skirts-shorts, layered suits and giant bouffant sleeves. The label Taakk also offered romantic lines, sheer shirts, floral motifs and a sense of delicacy, with candy-coloured silk and satin, as well as coiled pin curls worn by models.

Last but not least, Etudes Studio centered its work on what artists might need, quoting Andy Warhol and notably Jean-Michel Basquiat as an inspiration for his “laid-back, nonchalant” sense of elegance, as the trio of designers — Jérémie Egry, Aurélien Arnet and José Lamali — described backstage.

Van Noten's final show was a whirlwind of light and shimmer — from iridescent rain coats to a giant disco ball.
It was the label's 150th collection.

Belgian designer Dries Van Noten presented his final — and 150th — collection, stepping down from his role as of his eponymous brand after 38 years. Shown on a runway made of silver foil, the shimmery, delicate pieces were not a “best-of” or a retrospective, but a final collection that will no doubt sell.

The show received a standing ovation as Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” set the ebullient mood. A giant disco ball appeared at the end of the runway welcoming the guests to join the party — a celebration for Van Noten to take his final bow.

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