Paris Fashion Week: The best of the rest from the men's runway
Since Paris Fashion Week served up more noteworthy menswear collections than we had time to discuss in depth, and the Haute Couture shows are now on the fashion world's center stage (soon to be followed by New York Fashion Week), here's a notebook-clearing laundry list of the ones that got away:
The Lanvin collection telegraphed its duality with a soundtrack that abruptly cut between '70s-era country music and futuristic thumping techno beats. So too the runway was filled with both extremes: skinny-legged pants interspersed with generously cut trousers, technical outerwear pieces such as puffer jackets and bombers followed by double-breasted jackets, and other pieces that combined the best of both ends of the spectrum. But there was one constant -- many looks were topped off with the wide-brimmed hat that had become one of the "it" accessories of the men's fall and winter 2011 shows.
Yves Saint Laurent
"Take me back to England" were the first words we could make out from the soundtrack accompanying
Kris Van Aasche is still trying to find the Dior man and this season he looked for him in a stripped down version of an upscale apartment -- complete with a half-dozen crystal chandeliers, a trio of fireplaces and a wooden parquet floor. And if he missed his mark this time, he's so hot on the trail that the cigarette's still burning in the ashtray. The color palette was predominantly black and gray with a few looks in bright red, the cut of the suits was generous (notably the full leg that was reminiscent of his first collection at YSL but without the blousing at the ankle) and the go-to accesory? You guessed it -- the wide-brimmed hat, which paired with the dialed-back style reminded us of the Amish -- the inspiration for Louis Vuitton's show earlier in the week.
The first two lines of the show notes read: "Urban rythym./Variations around the jacket." And Hèrmes certainly wasn't kidding about the jacket part, with an outerwear-heavy collection that married the luxe leather the label is known for with an assortment of trench coats and biker jackets as well as trousers, shows and bags. There were non-leather jackets -- like a navy peacoat -- and suits as well, but this season the jacket was clearly king.
Maison Martin Margiela
Envisioned as the backstage area at a fashion show, the label's first runway show in recent memory had models moving from station to station to get last-minute adjustments and tweaks to their outfits, hair and makeup, and allowing the audience in the postage-stamp sized venue to soak in the details. The irony is that the fall and winter 2011 collection didn't really need that level of scrutiny-- the collection was heavy on bulky outerwear pieces -- blanket coats and parkas, some of which had vivid orange or blue accents that probably could have been spotted from the International Space Station.
Another collection heavy on the blanket coats and the bright colors was Raf Simons'. But that was overshadowed by news that hung heavy over the runway; earlier that day it was reported that the designer and his business partner (Italy's Futurenet Group) had parted ways and that no retail orders were being taken, calling into question whether the runway collection would ever make it to market. When we spotted musician/mogul/fashion-line owner Sean Combs sitting in the front row, we couldn't help but wonder if Raf might be on the hunt for a Sugar Diddy.
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus
The tangle of curls plopped askance on the heads of the models could have meant anything -- or nothing at all. But paired with baggy, almost bedraggled looking clothes -- a U2 T-shirt here, couch-fabric florals there, paired and layered with Chinese brocades, double-breasted jackets and billowy trousers, for some reason it made us think of the mischevious mites of Hal Roach's "Little Rascals" of the '20s and '30s clad in hand-me-down clothes. And like the kids of Our Gang, designer Rei Kawakubo proves to be at her most entertaining when she's breaking the rules.
-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris
Photos: Noteworthy fall and winter 2011 collections shown during Paris Fashion Week included (from left) Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Maison Martin Margiela and Raf Simons.