Revolution at gates of protest-hit Paris men's fashion

Fiachra GIBBONS

Paris men's fashion week starts Tuesday with a tsunami of new talent, the first ever Celine men's collection but with shows also threatened by the "yellow vests" protest movement that has been shaking France. Dior moved its show from Saturday to Friday to avoid the weekly Paris demonstrations which often turn violent after its flagship shop on the Champs Elysees was looted after a march in November. Several other luxury brands have been targeted by the "yellow vests" activists, with boarded-up boutiques regularly scrawled with graffiti denouncing the rich. Japanese label Sacai, Andrea Crews, Namacheko and the American Thom Browne have also rescheduled their Saturday shows to avoid trouble from the populist street movement. But it is the boiling anger of fashion critics that reclusive superstar designer Hedi Slimane will have to face down, after they gave his first outing for Celine a kicking in October. Slimane was accused of thrashing the feminist legacy of his predecessor Phoebe Philo -- a charge he is unlikely to face for the first men's collection in Celine's history. Another, quieter revolution is also taking place on the men's catwalks, with an ultra-hip gang of streetwear and cult Japanese designers being welcomed into the elite Paris fold for the first time. - Street cleaner chic - DJ-turned-designer Heron Preston, the son of a San Francisco cop, who has previously taken inspiration from New York binmen and street cleaners' uniforms, will open the packed six-day schedule. An old pal of both the rapper Kanye West and Off-White tyro Virgil Abloh, whose first collection of menswear designs for Louis Vuitton have been a huge hit, he is one of a wave of young designers taking streetwear upmarket. Preston, 35, who has made no secret of his dream to one day lead Prada, made his name alongside Abloh at the streetwear brand Been Trill, which he imbued with a West Coast skate culture vibe. Like Abloh, Preston -- who is also an artist -- is big on collaborations, and he will hook up with Ugg boots and Nike for his Paris debut. Two Japanese fashion idols are also bringing extra fizz to the traditionally sedate opening day. Former Comme des Garcons stalwart Fumito Ganryu makes his first Paris bow on Tuesday afternoon before another hero of the Tokyo scene Takahiro Miyashita rounds the day off with the debut show for his The Soloist label. Miyashita built up a big following for his psychedelic Number (N)ine brand. His new label promises "survival clothing to get through today's reality". Shanghai designer Shangguan Zhe, who has also been making a name for himself with his dystopian clothes for his Sankuanz line, is also showing Tuesday. With revolution and so much change in the air, Kris Van Assche, the Belgian who ran Dior Homme for 11 years, will unveil his first full collection of classy tailoring for Berluti. All eyes will also be on Abloh at Vuitton and Kim Jones at Dior to see if their second collections in their new homes will go down as well as their first. The men's Paris shows will be followed by the haute couture collections next week, the pinnacle of the fashion calendar, which only take place in the French capital.