Men face realm of fashion choices on catwalk

3rd July 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 3, 2006 (AFP) - From dandy and dressy, to daring or just downright chic, the freedom and range now facing men in their sartorial choices was clear at men's fashion week on Sunday.

PARIS, July 3, 2006 (AFP) - From dandy and dressy, to daring or just downright chic, the freedom and range now facing men in their sartorial choices was clear at men's fashion week on Sunday.

While Yves Saint Laurent stayed true to the more traditional codes of masculine elegance, other labels sought to spice up the male wardrobe for spring-summer 2007.

Belgium's Ann Demeulemeester, one of the famed "Antwerp Six," stuck to her preferred black and white for her dandy-esque look but accessorized with double strings of pearls and lace trim on short trousers.

Bernhard Willhelm went further, blurring the line between men's and women's clothing with a baggy white jumpsuit, cut to below the knee looking almost like a dress in a meadow flower-print.

He then took the fashion crowd on a romp through the Alps with colourful lederhosen and laced breeches, white edelweiss, red-and-white knits and mountain hats. Long shorts were loose like a skirt.

Paul Smith's cool cotton shirts and relaxed approach to jackets and ties with jeans or baggy shorts was as refreshing as a cool breeze through the Fine Arts School on a stifling Paris afternoon.

Casual shirts had a faint echo of last season's cowboy influence, while floral prints next to dusty pink solids provided a charming contrast to more sober suits or checked sports jackets.

White jeans pepped up with a fluorescent belt were another key look by the British designer for the man who sees no need to go all-out flamboyant to show he takes a keen interest in his clothes.

Didier Grumbach, president of France's couture federation, said menswear had become much more varied and exciting in recent seasons, relegating the three-piece suit to office-wear only.

"Since Yohji Yamamoto and (Jean Paul) Gaultier showed men in skirts - we don't wear skirts yet - but the collections are much more daring and much more fun," he said, on the sidelines of the shows.

Menswear shows until a few years ago were boring in comparison, he added.

"Even to make it a little spicy you always had two or three beautiful ladies in the middle. That's over. Men are enough," he said, adding that two years ago the men's calendar had jumped from three to five days.

At Hermès and Yves Saint Laurent, the kind of aristocratic chic destined for a glamorous summer in Saint Tropez or Capri in low-key shades of greys, blues and beiges upheld the day's more classic quota.

Stefano Pilati, for YSL, drew on fine fabrics for his sophisticated wardrobe of short straight pants, adding a silky scarf as a belt, while shirts lost their collars to button at the back of the neck.

Multi-coloured prints on white trousers and a shirt in black and white print were perfect for a more informal occasion, perhaps under a black trench lined in red, with fringed shoes or just bare foot.

Véronique Nichanian dressed down the Hermès man slightly in espadrilles, in a trend of taking the edge off smarts seen elsewhere on the catwalk here, opting mostly for wide trousers in cotton, linen, wool and mohair.

Stripes were de rigeur; waistcoats, tank tops and fine-knits such as V-neck sweaters, as well as silky neckerchiefs, gave next summer at Hermes a whiff of faded 1940s grandeur.

Mauve and acid green punctuated modest mineral and vegetal shades.

Men's fashion week continues in the French capital on Monday with collections by Lanvin and Francesco Smalto. The catwalks wrap up on Tuesday, to be followed by three days of haute couture shows.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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