Like the strains of a filigreed hunting horn, the Palomo Spain show opened Paris Fashion Week: Men's in a glorious ode to the hunt, with the fashion hounds giving immediate chase. Aptly titling his Fall '18 show "The Hunting," Spanish designer Alejandro Gómez Palomo channeled both the moods of England's natty hunting kits of yore (think tweeds, delicious leathers and gabardines) along with the languorous, baroque silhouettes of his native Southern Spain to glorious effect. These are not clothes for stag stalking, though a case could be made for the moss green boucle great coat (perfect camouflage), as well as the black knee high waders.
Palomo has staked his claim to the runway in the last couple of years by channeling the opulence and grandeur of just about every historical period available to reference — at a glance, this collection alone conjures pre-Raphaelite beauties, Belle Époque dandies and Napoleonic victors, just to name a few. What could have initially passed for a dilettante's love of costume in the first few collections seems to, with this season, confirm that Palomo means what he shows; the cuts all the more elegant, the fabrics all the more resplendent, the flourishes all the more ravishing. What was also revealed this week is that the designer is not just that of a fastidious referencer, but possessed of painter's eye. Thomas Gainsboroug's The Blue Boy, and the hauntingly Iberian gilding of Diego Velázquez were at turns bursting or smoldering with each look.
In a moment when streetwear has men's fashion by their Supreme x Louis Vuitton balls, Palomo offers the most delicious riposte to hype beasts and sneaker heads (not that they can't all be friends) — maybe call it strutwear. Though Palomo is not merely the foppish alternative to the street's peacocking toughs. On the contrary, the outwardly delicate nature of these garments belies the strength one imagines of the wearer: these clothes are not for retiring characters. And of course, there is the point that this proposition is ardently femme-presenting in a usually forbidding menswear context, but that fact alone seemed to take a back seat to the sheer beauty of the clothes. Palomo has already adjusted our eye.
For forecasters predicting where the menswear needle will point next, after half a decade of waiting in line for sneakers and hi/lo collabs, my guess would be something nearer to what Palomo is proposing. The craft and taste are there, if less so an eye towards actually moving product (intrepid shoppers can find Palomo Spain at Opening Ceremony and Jeffrey in New York). Which is to say, if you're hunting for an original voice in the nominally grey and navy menscape this season, your search could easily end right while things are just getting started.