Paris has always been one of our favorite cities for men’s fashion. In contrast to other fashion capitals, many of Paris fashion week’s most celebrated designers are not even French, let alone Parisian. Consequently, the city is a microcosm of the world’s most incomparable design talent and their equally relentless critics. With so much riding on the Paris showings, absolute perfection is the overriding mandate, and certain designers are thankfully rising to the occasion. Continue reading for our recap of the best menswear showings in Paris for Spring/Summer 2013…
Dries Van Noten Takes on the Army
As his presentation for spring implied, the Dries Van Noten man is apparently ready for war with virtually every look including the designer’s take on camouflage. While the exhausted ubiquity of a theme such as military can very easily result in an uninspired collection, nothing is ever that simple for the consummate eccentric. The designer’s version of the shooting vest made multiple appearances throughout the show, first in white mesh paired bright orange shooting patches, then in a quilted signature camouflage.
Van Noten’s riff on the militant pattern saw simple separates elevated. The designer’s approach ranged from an indirect punch of much-needed interest in the lining of one coat, to a full-blown barrage of the print in the form of a pair of trousers and transparent PVC trench coat. With each model’s exit, we noticed that the camouflage motif became increasingly more abstract; and by the closing looks, the print had evolved into something much more visceral and organic, ignorant of the uniformity of the original pattern. Van Noten has always been a very cerebral designer, but this season it’s almost as if he’s reading our minds.
Exaggerating Proportions With Yohji Yamamoto
Yohji Yamamoto has never been one to cut his garments particularly slim. However, the designer’s vision for spring takes his penchant for billowing silhouettes and a decidedly oversized fit to a new (and refreshingly chic) extreme.
Many of the trousers ballooned around the models legs, only to be tightly gathered at the ankle, a contrast which we really liked. Although the signature pant was presented in a mélange of colors and prints ranging in severity from vibrant prison orange to dusty blue, the trouser translated most successfully when rendered with a textile reminiscent of a 1960s paisley, if seen through a kaleidoscope.
While the trousers did indeed standout, Yamamoto’s outerwear did not follow far behind. Outerwear inspiration revolved mainly around the long reworked trench coats, which glided just above the hardwood runway, and the slouchy patchwork blazers and cardigans. While not necessarily intent on mass appeal, season after season Yamamoto demonstrates that he knows his customer, and they love him for it.
Christopher Kane Does Christopher Kane
It is common practice among most successful designers to refrain from trying to fix what isn’t broken – a sentiment which could not be any truer than in the case of Christopher Kane’s offering for spring. In a time where there are so many options to choose from, the business-minded Kane has remained consistent yet distinct, with a style that almost skews surreal. The bulk of the designer’s seventeen-look collection was predominantly comprised of digital prints, a Kane signature since the 2006 inception of his eponymous label.
This time around, the Scottish designer sought inspiration in fine art, with many of the pieces printed with an almost neo-impressionistic brush stroke motif. While we enjoyed the painterly pieces separately, the head-to-toe styling was what we found particularly compelling. Most notably restricted to suiting, there has been a noticeable move towards a more composed aesthetic for everyday dressing. Whether the common denominator in our ensemble is the colour palette or the textile, categorizing “cohesive” as a buzzword is beginning to sound like an understatement.
- James Lavapie