Gothic warriors or rainbows? Men's fashion gets eclectic in Paris

16th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

From Rick Owens' darkly-clad snarling warriors to models covered in Issey Miyake's psychedelic twisted rainbows, menswear took an eclectic turn on Paris runways Thursday.

Keeping it classic, French fashion house Louis Vuitton took lovers of the luxury brand to South America with coloured striped scarves and wool jackets unveiled as US actor Will Smith and British singer Lily Allen looked on.

Shiny silver or tartan blue bags and uber-luxurious sweaters also made their way down a runway of swirling water-like patterns which also covered the walls.

Oversized coats were the order of the day, and one model was dressed in a grey one-piece jumpsuit.

Japan's avant-garde fashion house Issey Miyake combined elegance with eccentricity in an autumn line inspired by menswear designer Yusuke Takahashi's recent trip to Iceland.

"Landscapes of ice and fire, volcanoes, glaciers, breathtaking cliffs, northern lights, the mystery of twilight: wild nature takes us beyond our own imagination," read the designers notes.

Miyake, also famed for its perfumes and one of the first Japanese designers to show in Europe in the seventies, unveiled the nature-inspired collection under industrial spotlights at the house's flagship Paris address on the historic Place des Vosges.

Top-to-toe batik-dyed suits with colour brushed on gave a spidery effect evoking the flow of magma after a volcanic eruption in a classical silhouette with loose-fitting trousers.

A large hand-cut poncho reaching almost to the ground mimicked the rough and eroded fjords, worn in blue or earthy red with pants, shoes and cap ablaze in a fiery pattern.

To portray the three-dimensional effect of the Aurora Borealis and glaciers, Takahashi turned to reflective jackets with a futuristic look, and classic suit jackets striped in the same shimmering prism fabric.

Miyake's trademark pleats and twists were evident throughout an eye-popping finale which paired jackets with psychedelic-coloured shorts over tights -- in what the house described as "an energetic world of rainbow patterns as if seen through a kaleidoscope".

Takahashi told journalists after the show that he tried to bring a "more contemporary and elegant" feel to the line.

American designer Rick Owens was his usual dark self, giving elegance a rather barbaric feel with a bevy of angry-looking models who could have been gangsters, samurai or medieval knights.

Most models wore massively oversized Bermuda shorts, merging into slouchy knee-high boots paired with leather cow-hide tunics and military-inspired vests in grey, brown and black.

Models were either bald or wearing headscarves, in some cases even a wimple, covering the head and chin like that worn by nuns.

Chinese-American designer Phillip Lim stuck to earthy colours, showing oversized jackets with thick stripes, a denim one piece and lots of leather in pants and jackets.

A horse motif used on some sweaters gave the collection a classic cowboy feel.

The style cavalcade, which arrived in Paris on Tuesday after London and Milan, is set to unveil more than 50 shows amid burgeoning interest in men's fashion which has extended the calendar from three days to five in recent years.

"The market for men has developed a lot, especially in the past two or three years," said Veronique Nichanian, Hermes' menswear creative director, who will showcase her collection on Saturday evening.

"Now, they (men) have the same buying impulses as women."

On Sunday evening, after the Saint Laurent show by creative director Hedi Slimane, menswear gives way to six days of haute couture.


© 2014 AFP

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