Menswear came in bold shapes, colors for Paris Fashion Week
BY THOMAS ADAMSON Associated Press
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
1/22/13 at 6:42 AM
PARIS - White was the color of Paris menswear fashion shows for fall-winter. But it was not in the clothes.
The last of five frenetic days of collections saw the City of Light turn into the city of frost, with snow blanketing the city white and reducing its grand buildings and monuments to the purest of forms and shapes.
It's perhaps appropriate that one of the final day's fashion shows, Lanvin, chose to explore shape.
In the week's major collections, Dior Homme continued the on-trend military style, looking forward with a futurist aesthetic that had a fair amount of mileage in other shows, too.
Large hats and trilbies cropped up at John Galliano and a classy show from Berluti; while the trend for pants was to be cut to expose the boot as seen in Carven and Juun J.
Designers this season, including Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, also dabbled in blowing up traditional patterns like madras, Prince of Wales check and houndstooth, adding an almost postmodern twist.
They were all styles thrown into the pot that made for an extremely dynamic fall-winter season.
Designer Kim Jones turned out an effortless luxury collection for Louis Vuitton.
He brought lashings of fur and the Asian region's snow leopard as a motif - naturally, alongside the bread-and-butter sharp suits.
But it was the snow leopard who stole the show. Whether in needle-punched jacquard on a light double breasted coat, or in collars, neckties and pocket squares, and even in one show-stopping laser cut mink coat - the sky-high feline kept popping up.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, designers for Valentino, created a collection with many plays on patterns and featuring a dash of British elegance. JACQUES BRINON / Associated Press
The Valentino fashion house explored new landscapes in its first menswear show in Paris, travelling first class to London's Saville Row via a dash of British punk rock.
Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have stamped their own bold vision on the Roman house with a show that left behind the charming Italian toy boy in favor of more sober British elegance.
Plays on patterns featured highly wearable single-breasted suits that harked back to 1960s fashions. Some of the looks could easily have been worn to a British country club. But despite all this, there was a strong, rebellious undercurrent that Piccioli called a nod to Mick Jagger.
Gladiatorial combat is in the air for Givenchy's ever-creative Riccardo Tisci.
Hundreds of candles carved out an ominous catwalk for the Italian designer. Like Roman torches, they lighted the way for the models who filed by in 48 mainly black-and-white looks.
The references were subtle but unmistakable: square breastplate-like photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe printed on T-shirts, sweaters and tank tops. Winter bubble jackets, tied round the waist, fell in the shape of a legionary's skirt. Then, leather shoes shined provocatively with a silver armor-band.
There was a real sense of continuity with previous seasons' styles - in a long gray coat that lacked lapels, for instance, which evoked the ecclesiastical style of last season's show.
It was cosmic musing for Dior Homme's Kris Van Assche, who injected a space-age fiber into the house's DNA of fitted black suit, white shirt and black tie.
A sanitized all-white set saw elegantly suited, droid-like gentlemen file by in Saturday's show with galactic high collars, and super high buckled waists. Although at times there was a slight feel of vintage Pierre Cardin, the collection's starting point was apparently the sci-fi movie "Gattaca."
In Raf Simon's recent women's wear designs for Christian Dior, waists were cinched in a reworking of the 1950s bar jacket with peplum. Here, Van Assche is adding his menswear voice to the fashion conversation, by echoing this style through delineating the waist. He raised it, military style, through a belt almost halfway down the torso.
Dries Van Noten
When it comes to menswear, Dries Van Noten rarely plays by the rules.
But even by his own standards, he set himself a tough challenge for fall-winter 2013, aiming to produce clothes for men "that may not ever been in their wardrobe."
Considering that one main theme of the show was the use of nighttime pajamas for day jackets and outerwear. The result of this unorthodoxy? Astoundingly, one of the most elegant shows the Belgian designer has done in recent memory.
It's owed mainly to how the pajama style was worked: luxuriously, in soft and heavy brushed jacquards, cashmere and double quilted silks and velvets.
Hermes has become a byword for simple, unpretentious luxury. With panache, veteran menswear designer Veronique Nichanian proved this again in a classy and masculine showing.
The 44 looks ranged from on-trend loose but structured naval trenches, to short peacoats, tight black calfskin pants, via turtlenecks, jacquard silk pullovers and fitted double breasted tuxedo in black wool and mohair which were fit for a prince.
Was there a secret for formula Hermes, one of fashion's biggest success stories of the last decade?
"No, no. There's no secret. But it's not about ostentation, pretention, or trying to show you've got money," said former Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas.
"It's just the simplicity, and excellence of the fabrics."
There was an air of the self-searching '70s student in Hedi Slimane's debut menswear show at the rebranded Saint Laurent.
Long, striped thick-knit scarves, oversized jackets and ripped skinny jeans were worn by shaggily coiffed models who stomped grumpily down the catwalk. Just like a confused teenager trying to find his identity, Slimane mixed up violently clashing styles.
But at least one thing was clear: The wardrobe confusion was intentional.
This was seen most clearly in a look that combined leather motorbike pants in black and white with zippers, yellow tan Cuban heels, a casual oversized check shirt and a truncated red carpet tuxedo. Through pure eccentricity some ensembles ended up working.
Juun J. presented a typically oversized, multilayered fall-winter showing, in which the popular South Korean designer dabbled in what he called "reversing."
Many of the trendy, black-heavy looks had detailing which literally saw clothes reversed inside out.
Inner pockets were put visibly on the outside, and inflated sleeves were made of a different material to the bodice to conjure up the slightly deconstructed image of what a jacket looks like when it's turned the wrong way out.
Sesigners Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver chose to explore shapes and proportions for their menswear collection.
With a futurist and sporty edge, 46 looks saw some of the silhouettes expanded out in baggy coats, boxy jackets, and voluminous pants with a low slung crotch.
But then others were shrunk, for instance, in a sexy fitted black leather jacket with square geometric sections, a tight pentagon-shaped tank top, or skinny pants.
Although many of the individual ensembles looked incredibly slick, the diverse play on proportion made the collection as a whole feel a little like the silhouette couldn't quite make up its mind.
The colors got it right. Like last season, there was a lot of black, but the palette included a great tonal range of blues: from dark midnight blue, to a warm blue on big parkas and jackets, and the softest see-through blue.
Lanvin is, and continues to be, one of the hottest tickets at Paris fashion week. Its front-row turnout on Sunday's show is testament to this, including singer Kanye West and artist Aaron Young.
Original Print Headline: Menswear evolution
Givenchy's fall-winter 2013 menswear collection was displayed at Paris Fashion Week on a runway flanked by hundreds of lighted candles. CHRISTOPHE ENA / Associated Press
Lanvin's fall-winter collection succeeds with its palette that includes a rich range of blues. CHRISTOPHE ENA / Associated Press
Kris Van Assche went space-agey for Dior Homme's fall-winter collection, with galactic high collars and high buckled waists. JACQUES BRINON / Associated Press