This month The Skinny Fashion section feature is all about the boys. The recent Paris Autumn/Winter 2010 menswear shows have given us a glimpse into the future of the high street. With over 40 design houses clamouring for our attention, we select a few to take a closer look at. Vive la France!
As an American living and working in Paris, Rick Owens had the home advantage and drew a huge crowd. His now signature macabre and futuristic style has recently become even more popular, and the A/W offering certainly didn't disappoint his fans who were hungry for more dark and textured designs.
Gaunt models looked menacing in long coats with high, stiff necklines worn with deep-crotched harem trousers, while asymmetrical hemlines and a mix of heavy fabrics hinted at unsettled times. Some wore ribbed knitwear with large flaps of fabric reaching their knees, while arms appeared truncated, finished with blunt edged gloves, creating an eerie reptilian feel. Owens stuck to a fittingly sombre palette throughout, with the notable exception being a fur lined, belted trenchcoat in gold.
It was all about the silhouette over at Dior Homme. Designer Van Assche's collection was dominated by a contemporary take on the traditional suit. Boyish pale models wore loose, flowing jackets over slim cropped trousers. Flaps of fabric again were prominent, with jackets cut to include an elongated front section, creating strange connected scarf-like details. Likewise, long knitted jumpers spanned the design houses and were again seen here, while shirts were tightly buttoned at the neck and tucked into waistbands. Van Assche seemed to capture the Parisian winter outside with dark, romantic blacks, browns and greys featuring heavily, soundtracked by The Sisters of Mercy's Temple Of Love.
Later in the week, Kim Jones yet again managed to reinterpret Dunhill's self proclaimed classic style for the discerning gentleman. The collection was full of elegance, harking back to the roaring 20s when British brand Dunhill first opened a Parisian boutique, known appropriately as Le Rendez-Vous Elegance. This 20s homage was more than mere reproduction or pastiche; each piece was subtly reinterpreted for the modern age in luxurious fabrics, slim suits, neat bomber jackets and blazers all put together with immaculate style. Quirky accessories were used to inject a bit of fun into the collection. Hip flask attachments swung off belts, origami-style flower brooches embellished lapels and trousers were tucked into chunky socks.
Not to be outdone, John Galliano, the storyteller supreme, artfully drew the audience into the world of Sherlock Holmes. A visual feast of dark tweeds, masculine military suits and fur lined deerstalkers opened the show, with traditional hunting garments updated by periodical use of hi tech fabric. Models even sported moustaches and quizzical eyebrows. The Holmes theme continued with dashing Victorian gentlemen, sharp suited with bowler hat et al, with only the glimpse of tightly laced, nude coloured corsets undermining the seemingly conservative nature. Delving yet again into the character, Galliano showed us the martial arts expert, with bandaged head and bright painted satin boxing shorts. Last was Sherlock Holmes the opium fiend, ready for an evening of decadent debauchery wearing dark velvet and floral silk.
The mix of the subtle and the in-your-face was plain to see throughout the Paris A/W shows. However, across the board there was an importance put on great tailoring, and a generous cut that is looser fitting than we have recently seen. Luxury fabrics in dark muted colours were also a recurring theme, with combinations of leather, fur, silk, velvet and snakeskin cropping up again and again. Invest in good tailoring with a twist, consider your accessories, keep colour palettes restrained, the corsets are optional.