Tuesday, September 1, 2009

menswear paris spring/summer 2010

by frédérik sisa

Here’s a rundown on the good, the bad, and the WTF from the menswear shows at the Paris Spring/Summer 2010 fashion week, courtesy of the LA Times. Since we’re dealing with the big, thick-skinned fashion houses, snark mode may be in effect. Note: the power to embiggen images is yours, all yours, through the miracle of a mouse click.

Dries Van Noten delivers a collection rooted both in tweaked classics like pinstriped suits with cropped pants (meant for brogues without socks) and ensembles juxtaposing strikingly different patterns that bring back memories of the 70s, like plaid and what-have-you, whether you were there or not. Bold and playful without spilling over the top. I like it.

Dior stands out with nicely cut, layered, and flowing ensembles with smooth lines that come together to form a look that is both refined and relaxed. If ever the words “effortless chic” were appropriate, this collection deserves it.

Givenchy’s collection is a bit all over the place, with some overly-blinged pieces that scream hip-hop street style ground through the prep machine in a textile factory. But those pieces that retain an element of classicism demonstrate some of the best designs among any collection. To wit, this extraordinarily elegant white suit anchored in a mandarin collar shirt and this asymmetrical, geometrical, abstract shirt.

The Hugo Boss collection is best represented by the interesting combination of long-sleeve blazers with mid-thigh length shorts and gladiator sandals. This one is my favourite: a beautiful jacket with lots of buttons and a left lapel that folds asymmetrically over the right. Oddly enough, I think the long sleeves and shorts work well together. It’s like rebellious business wear, a summer protest against the stifling dress codes that ask men to melt in monkey suits.

Kenzo offers a rather nice collection, although his hats tend to go too far out of control .(Are those hats or man-snoods?). I especially love the print on the jacket at left, set off nicely by a familiar grey in the vest and pants. That whole ensemble is on of my favourites among all the collections; refined, forward-looking, but with enough tradition to work well for just about any sort of dress-up occasion. But details tend to bring down the unity of his design as in the suit-and-shorts ensemble at right. I don’t care who you are: socks don’t go with sandals. They just don't.

Proving that suits and suit-appropriate garments are the big winner in this menswear show, I love the overall design of this Vuitton jacket: straight-edge lapels, single-button tie. I’m not sure about the rolled up pants, but vividly coloured shoes really make the ensemble pop-out. Having said that, the overall colour palette in this particular ensembles strikes me as slightly off.

But here’s Raf Simon’s take on a similar design with the ever-reliable black & white two-punch. With an eye for formal elegance and judicious detailing, his collection is definitely one of the standouts.

And here’s the design concept taken up to a new, intriguing level with a cinching belt that adds unexpected detailing and helps shape the jacket.:

Then we get to Jean-Paul Gaultier, whose wrap-like pants (somewhat like Thai fisherman’s pants) strike a palpable hit. This is nice spin on the usual bifurcated garments. The impractical and implausible denim-bodice, however, rates a “hell no!”

While strolling in the weird, the presentation for the Blaak collection was certainly unusual. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get past the Charles Manson show to pay attention to the clothes.

Also raising a few questions is the Comme Des Garcon collection, which looks like an explosion at a quilt factory. “Garcon” (boy) is the right word ; this looks like clothes for children. Or maybe CDG is catering to the clown industry? The head bowl/condom beanie leaves me speechless.

So the big winners seem to be in the suit department, particularly the jackets. None of the arty stuff with next to zero chance of trickling down to the street really appeals in terms of wearable fashion or fashion art. I have to wonder, though, about all the bare chests. You’ll have to find those pictures for yourself, though.

(Images used under fair-use and will be taken upon request.)

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