From London to Paris, this month will see dozens of menswear runway shows descend across European fashion capitals for the Spring/Summer 2024 menswear season. But there’s already one name almost everyone will be looking out for: Pharrell Williams, who will make his Louis Vuitton debut at Paris Fashion Week after being announced as the successor to the late Virgil Abloh earlier this year.
Aside from Pharrell giving his take on Louis Vuitton on June 20, there are plenty of other names to watch for. Fans of Pierpaolo Piccioli will rejoice as the designer returns to menswear with a Valentino showing. And after suddenly exiting from their creative director roles at Bally and Ann Demeulemeester, respectively, Rhuigi Villaseñor and Ludovic de Saint Sernin will surely have a few extra eyes on them when they showcase their own labels in Paris later this month.
From music superstars to California cool, here’s what to keep an eye out for at the Spring/Summer 2024 menswear shows.
Gender divide returns
After three years of co-ed presentations, Valentino returns to the menswear calendar this season with a dedicated men’s showing. Rather than showing in Paris, however, where the Italian brand showcases its womenswear and couture, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli will kick off the men’s Milan calendar, which runs from June 16 to 19.
Valentino is not alone in going back to traditional men’s and women’s showings over co-ed runways. Gucci also returned to the menswear calendar last season, five years after the brand switched to mixed-gender showings. Versace tried its hand at co-ed shows in 2020, but gave menswear a dedicated runway show again in 2022. Both will follow Valentino at Milan this season.
Co-ed fashion shows gave brands an opportunity to consolidate an overstuffed fashion calendar that for some labels includes everything from ready-to-wear to couture. And amid concerns over travel during the Covid-19 pandemic and the carbon footprint of elaborate fashion shows held twice a year, combined presentations let brands reduce their impact while maintaining a fashion week presence.
But the tide has shifted back to tradition. Though gender-fluid brands like Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Tanner Fletcher have gained steam in recent years, for brands with distinct men’s and women’s offerings, co-ed fashion shows can ultimately translate to menswear losing valuable engagement to showier womenswear. And if the recent slew of destination runway shows is anything to go by, when it comes to high-end fashion shows, more is more again.
Florence celebrates designers near and far
Sandwiched between London Men’s Fashion Week and Milan, Pitti Uomo has regularly injected a dose of exciting street style and menswear brands both emerging and established to Florence. This edition of the biannual trade show will take place from June 13 to 16, with Fendi and Eli Russell Linnetz’s ERL headlining the festivities.
For Fendi, the Pitti presentation is a chance to show off the newly opened Fendi Factory. Unveiled last fall just outside of Florence, the Italian brand’s new leather goods facility received a 50 million euro ($54 million) investment from LVMH and houses an olive tree grove. The Piuarch-designed facility will be the site of Fendi’s menswear show on June 15. That same evening, California-based designer Eli Russell Linnetz, who has collaborated with the likes of Dior and Salomon, will treat attendees to a presentation centered around a Planet of the Apes-inspired Statue of Liberty.
Chinese designers in Paris to stay
Born in China and based in London, menswear designer Feng Chen Wang made her Paris Fashion Week debut a year ago. Her conceptual take on menswear not only earned her an LVMH Prize nomination back in 2016, but has put her at the forefront of rising Chinese designers achieving global success.
And a few of those names will be showing at Paris Fashion Week. Shanghai-based Ziggy Chen is also back with his deconstructed take on suiting after making his Paris debut in January this year. A few veterans are on the calendar as well: Sean Suen returned for a physical show in Paris this January after a years-long Covid-19-induced absence and will present this month as well. Shangguan Zhe’s Sankuanz label has been on the Paris calendar since 2016, save a few Covid-19 absences, and will be back this month with more gender-bending takes on menswear.
Paris isn’t for everyone
Not all brands are here to stay in Paris, however. One of the most notable absences on the Paris calendar is Saint Laurent. Creative director Anthony Vacarello will instead give a menswear presentation in Berlin on June 12 during the German capital’s less-buzzed men’s fashion week.
Also absent this month is New York label Bode. The menswear brand by Emily Adams Bode Aujla, which has become a favorite of the likes of Harry Styles and Donald Glover, will skip this season despite showing in Paris in January this year. Casablanca by Charaf Tajer, beloved for its colorful sportswear and collabs with the likes of New Balance, will also sit out the June calendar. For lovers of their kitschy, retro takes on menswear, their absences are a notable loss, but we surely haven’t seen the last of them.
Pharrell debuts Louis Vuitton collection
No matter what clothes he sends down the runway, Pharrell Williams will headline one of the biggest shows to watch at the menswear showings. His debut collection for Louis Vuitton will open Paris Men’s Fashion Week, which runs from June 20 to 25.
The music superstar is tasked primarily with ushering LV menswear into a new, post-Virgil Abloh era and show he has the design chops for a heritage brand, having already released numerous Adidas collaborations and headed the streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club. But his success will have implications for far more than just LVMH, it will also send a signal to other luxury giants: Is a superstar creative director worth it? Or, are brands better served by hiring a tried-and-true designer?
Either way, the world will be watching. And regardless of what Pharrell and LV show, there will be plenty of exciting fashion to follow. JW Anderson’s Loewe, Chitose Abe’s Sacai and Dior by former LV menswear director Kim Jones are just a few of the shows to fill out the rest of the week.