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Highlights from the Paris menswear runway shows

Thom Browne channels Johnny Depp; no Gaga but still wild at Thierry Mugler with Nicola Formichetti; Adam Kimmel and Louis Vuitton give a David Lynch vibe; Jean Paul Gaultier, Bond villain; and more.

January 30, 2011|By Adam Tschorn | Los Angeles Times

Instead of being printed on canvas, this version is embossed onto soft leather, which has the effect of making the less-noticeable cousin of the iconic LV monogram logo nearly invisible to the untrained eye.

Which might just make the new Damier Infini check the stealth luxury branding equivalent of the batwing B2 bomber.

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten's runway show was set in the main hall of the Musée Bourdelle, under the watchful gaze of immense stone sculptures — towering military men rearing up on horseback, gargantuan bare-chested archers with bows drawn and outsize sinewy soldiers with swords raised in mid-strike.

It wasn't by accident; the designer's collection was a celebration of the heroic and the gallant — what he referred to in the show notes as "manful elegance."

For Van Noten, that meant a mix of military influences — gold hand-embroidered details that evoked the notion of military braiding, belted trench coats, bandleader jackets, high-collared military-style shirts and full-legged trousers that recalled naval uniforms of another era.

But to that he added some of the sartorial touches of nobility: detachable fur collars and lapels, pagoda shoulders on silk shirts and jackets and luxurious camel car coats.

The silhouette was a bit of a contrast — jackets and shirts were tailored and trim, while trousers were full or oversized, keying into a seasonal trend, and the palette was grounded in the navy blues, blacks, whites and khaki colors of military-issue uniforms.

Paul Smith

Framed by a backlit photo of the full moon hanging on the horizon at both ends of the runway, and accompanied by a soundtrack that began and ended with the strains of space rock pioneers Pink Floyd, Paul Smith sent an out-of-this-world collection down the catwalk.

Gray trousers, jacket linings and shirts bore a pattern that seemed to combine leopard print with the crater-pocked lunar surface; large polka dots on other shirts symbolized the full moon. Some jackets were made out of actual aluminum, while traditional tailored sport coats had collars with zip-in metallic hoodies that recalled the crinkly foil on NASA's Apollo modules.

Knit watch caps lent a '70s-era Navy vibe, and zippered embellishments around trouser legs looked straight out of Hanna-Barbera's early-'60s Space Age cartoon "The Jetsons."

Other offerings included toggle-button coats (hands down the hottest trending outerwear piece on the runways of both Milan and Paris this season), outsized furry jackets and cool-blue collarless chambray shirts.

John Galliano

Sure, "Black Swan" has made ballet a motif of the moment, but for his collection, John Galliano sought inspiration from a ballet superstar of another era: Rudolf Nureyev.

Galliano showed a collection that referenced key periods in the dancer's life, including his roots in Siberia, the rehearsal studio, his 1961 defection from the Soviet Union and finally his rock-star status on the world stage in the 1970s.

That meant a parade of Russian émigré types in layered coats shaking baby powder snow from their immense fur hats; dancers clad in chunky knit cardigans, leg warmers and ballet-style T-shirts; and slim-silhouette tailored suits (inspired by Irving Penn photographs) all in muted neutral tones, along with a few brightly colored outfits like the catwalk Cossack ensemble: blousy purple trousers with vivid orange flowers paired with an embroidered shirt knotted at the waist, inspired by Nureyev's Tatar heritage.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Until he was chased off the runway at the end of the show by a trio of parkour-vaulting ninjas, we never realized how perfect Jean Paul Gaultier would be as a Bond villain. (Sample dialogue: "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to sit in the last row of seats.")

The designer paid homage to the stylish spy — and added a dash of androgyny — with a "James Blond" collection. That meant riffing on the tuxedo, of course; the first look was a traditional, one-button, peak-lapel number accessorized with a bow tie and gun.

But it also meant gray pinstripe wetsuits, suit jackets paired with hot pants and fishnets, shiny black diamond-quilted puffer jackets with fur-lined hoods and double-breasted blazers in metallic gold neoprene with outsize fur collars.

And the chic sunglasses that accessorized many of the looks? They had less to do with channeling the super-suave secret agent and ?everything to do with a new eyewear collaboration between the brand and Alain Mikli.

Adam Kimmel

Adam Kimmel was the second designer at Paris Fashion Week to explicitly reference the oeuvre of David Lynch, drawing on that peculiar "Twin Peaks" vibe of mystery and uneasiness, with the expectation that something unseemly was lurking behind the next redwood.

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