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Hong Kong Phooey, Magritte’s bowler hats, English gentry, Ziggy Stardust and Herman Munster, too Stephanie Rivers
he Paris F/W 2010 Men’s Fashion Shows breathed in new life, volume and showmanship into the ‘city of light.’ There were pugilist leanings; Patrician perfection via Hitchcockian iciness; Sasquatch-worthy fur coats suitable for an Antarctica romp, boot, boots and more boots; as well as paired down suit silhouettes and cosy knits with lots of wit.
JEAN PAUL GAULTIER Jean Paul Gaultier was in fine fighting form with his brooding pugilists cum gentlemen: part Rocky, part the modern everyday man. The outerwear were the true stars of this collection with relaxed looking styles that were akin to belted boxer robes; short fitted leather jackets; distressed denim jackets; a double-breasted blazer made out of sweatshirt material and a sculptural leather and fabric olive number that was very uptown meets downtown cool. Scarves played an important role in JPG’s world, as though adding a dose of sophistication to the mix. Some were tied as a Boy Scout scarf would be — worn lose around the neck, knotted in front with the ends flat and evenly extended on either side of the knot; others in the form of oversized knit scarves with portions great enough to keep the whole body warm sans a sweater to accompany it. Odd couplings appeared in the layering of silk-like or leather leggings with either kilts or roomy shorts paired with hooded tops extending from dress shirts and ties. The musculo-skeletal anatomic print shirting with built-in six pack were interesting prints that would be saved for Halloween or a sport trainer session.
DRIES VAN NOTEN At Dries Van Noten, the insular genius’ world seemed the same as it ever was: deconstructed classics, restraint, somber palette, belted overcoats. Dries did however pick up on the trend of sportswear and underwear as outwear. There were long john-inspired sweats replacing denim as man’s new best friend paired with dress socks and shoes and overcoats with contrasting sleeves; sweatpants worn with double-breasted striped blazers and bold coloured scarves; letterman style jackets and pouffa coats. He gave us a touch of an English gentleman with stripes, Prince of Wales checks and Harris tweed. LANVIN Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver gave the Lanvin man street smarts and urban edge, aka a tougher attitude. The Lanvin man is cool enough to sport a velvet suit a la Elbaz; tucks his dress pants or three piece suit pants into his military-inspired boots; sports a backpack over his top hat and tails; replaces his jacket or coat sleeves with knit sleeves or other mixed fabrics, giving it a raglan, lived-in look/feel. Coats again reigned supreme here but in a more independent streak nature than cookie cutter mold. Collars were popped up, necklines left open. The length was knee-length or slightly below. Fabrications were a mixture — a building theme amongst many of the runways — here, in boiled wool, techno (from what I could see) fabrics/treatments and silk. Jackets had a threadbare feel, often paired with worn-in military boots. Layering also made an appearance with Wall Street-worthy overcoats worn over techno fabric blazer cum jackets and pants with zip-front desert boots. Cosy knits abounded here as on other runways with oversized sweaters with elongated sleeves, exaggerated cowl and turtlenecks.
Dries Van Noten
LOUIS VUITTON Turn of the century Vienna, classic style mixed with modernised substance was the mashup of the day at Louis Vuitton, a message received loud and clear. It was an artful balance of sporty utilitarian edge mixed with businessmen’s attire, suits. The message unfolded in the mixed fabrics and multi purpose pieces: techno fabrications in classic styles — nylon trenches that had reversible tweed linings, calf hair peacoats, tailored jackets with leather detailing in panels at the shoulders, sides and waists. Accessories were everywhere on the runway, duffle bags, oversized totes, carryalls. Layering took its cue from other runways but had that distinctive LV touch: a nylon overcoat worn over a double-breasted sweater atop of a silk printed open collar shirt paired with silk trousers tucked into a sophisticated Doc Marten meets LV boot. There were trousers with knit cuffs that gave the appearance of being tucked into boots; jackets worn over vests atop of untucked shirts with ties, a laundress effect perhaps? Overcoats over nylon anoraks and silk pants; riding boots with zippers above the ankles, akin to all of the other knee-high boots for men seen here in Paris and in Milan. The accessories were to die for as is expected at any LV show but it was the outstanding double-breasted leather shoulder overcoat — cool enough to accompany a casual outfit for day and chic enough to cover a tux for evening — that summed up the fabulous collection.
n h o J liano Gal GALLIANO A John Galliano show adds up to three things: an over-the-top expensive production, exquisite clothing and tailoring and an independent spirit that always renders pieces worthy of his commercial success and cult following. When viewing the looks from the show, one could not help but think of that uptight, pipe smoking, nattily dressed super sleuth Sherlock Holmes morphing into Hong Kong Phooey, the fictitious cleaning man cum super karatefighting sleuth with his trusty feline sidekick, fighting crime and the lot in a seedy, foggy opium den. Galliano gave us underwear as outwear but with a gender bending twist in the corset-inspired support garments. Grandma, we definitely are not in Kansas any more. There were well-cut trench coats; bomber-like jackets; silk boxer brief-style shorts worn over leggings topped by velvet blazers; PVC clear hats and rain garments layered over coats; belted military-inspired jackets; boots of varying heights, another resounding theme making the rounds; silk floral robes with tie sashes; Asian farmer field hats; Savile Row-worthy suiting and the like. RICK OWENS Rick Owens gave us his signature style — romantic goth meets the cult fashion underground, made fresh and commercially viable this time around with its sleek, streamlined proportions, sharp tailoring, modern twists and luxurious fabrics. Mr Owens focussed on outwear in the form of calf hair long coats, leathers, shearlings, padded wool (or what appeared to be), corduroy and sometimes a mixture of three or more of these together. He added standup collars; beam straight shoulder lines; Rick did not abandon his wilder gothic side entirely, as there were hints of his rebellion in reptilian boots, the alligator/croc jackets; in the embellishments of fur. For a beautiful dreamer, this show — more than any before it — seemed grounded in reality. COMME DES GARÇONS This Rei Kawakubo outing made me think of the Bulletproof Monk in both its antithesis of meaning and reference to today’s world where one lives with fear and feels the need to be protected. Of course, tthese cerebral thoughts and classics with an underground twist is what one has come to expect from a Comme des Garçons show. The show was a modern security blanket played out in its layering of sturdier fabrics (think fleece, plaids, corduroy); the padded vests in wool, seemingly worthy of a Swat team take down; the monastic monochromatic palette; hooded dress shirts and vests; the loose shorts layered over dress pants/ slacks; fur coats worn beneath your suit jackets; crotch less culottes layered over pants; as well as sturdy shoes and boots worn with attention grabbing pink socks. The knee-length fur coats were a tad too Sasquatch for my tastes but more interesting and thought provoking (read forgivable) when worn under jackets and/or shorter coats. email@example.com