Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taking the concept of a man's wardrobe as a uniform, Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver rewrote the menswear rules. Their visionary spring/summer collection succeeded where others have failed, injecting an intrinsic sense of modernity into their subtly revamped silhouettes and quirky proportion play.
The look: A man's wardrobe as a uniform
Silhouette: Languid and layered with a new dropped shoulderline and mismatched proportion play
Key items: The tunic or elongated shell top was confirmed as one of next summer's key items, here worked in leather or in jersey with a leather front panel, providing the season's new layering pieces when teamed with SB tailoring, shorts or narrow straight-legged pants. The boxy commuter coat too was here in spades, zipped in leather – occasionally without sleeves – wet-look patent or worked in colour-blocked shades of bone and string with a high funnel neckline. Colour-blocking updated basic shirt shapes too, while elsewhere the season's emerging hot item, the zipped blouson/shirt hybrid, was worked as an integral part of languid tailored looks. A new dropped shoulderline added soft volume to SB jackets and there was a change of pace, with youthful military jackets and frockcoats teamed with techno-ethnic printed low-rise pants or soft ombréd jersey leggings
Colour: A masculine palette of summer darks punctuated with the odd mid-tone brights we have seen elsewhere in Paris this week. Think saxe blue, watermelon and old gold layered on black, charcoal, midnight, burgundy, bark and espresso, with a neutral level of washed-out tones including pebble, stone, pigeon grey and manilla
Fabric & knit: Leather, patent, languid silk and viscose blends, silk tweed, brushed wool, jersey, bibbed jersey, check shirtings, light melanged worsteds
Print & pattern: Blazer stripes, micro check shirtings, subtle engineered ombré placements, techno ethnic prints
Details & trims: Exposed zips, military buttons, raw edges
Footwear: Military boots, suede lace-ups, sandals
Accessories: Rumpled scarves, military belts, small cross-body envelope bags on skinny straps, nylon totes, iPad case bags, slim ties, wooden beads

Roland Mouret Mr
Laidback masculine elegance from Roland Mouret for his eponymous Mr label. The designer mined the fashion archive for inspiration, working fluid 40s silhouettes by way of the 70s, with lean torsos balancing wide full-legged pant shapes, to create a 70s-style resort look.
The look: Fashion archive
Silhouette: Nipped waists and lean torsos teamed with fluid volume in bottomweights
Key items: The fluid pleat-front pant and wide-legged tailored short were at the heart of this collection, teamed with nipped-waist 2SBs or DB jackets, layered over torso-tickling vests. Neatly styled Harringtons and softly belted safari jackets brought a casual look into play; the perfect jacket weights to layer over resort-style perforated jersey and fine-gauge knitwear or buttondown polo shirts
Colour: French navy, ink, white, string, pebble grey, old gold, vivid chrome yellow, saxe blue, espresso, brilliant cobalt blue, olive, straw and flashes of turquoise and blush for top weights
Fabric & knit: Luxe summer tweed, silk, perforated jersey, perforated knits, fine-gauge knits
Print & pattern: A subtle burnout botanical motif on jersey
Details & trims: Exposed zips
Footwear: White or coloured lace-ups
Accessories: Straw hats
Paul Smith
With rock 'n' roll emerging as a key reference this season, it was surprising to see Paul Smith bypass the look when so often the 60s and 70s music scene has been a favoured inspiration for him. Instead Smith chose commerciality over costume, with a collection built upon saleable items. His mot du jour for summer 2012? Everything was spliced, colour-blocked, pieced and panelled.
The look: Easy believable dressing
Silhouette: Slim but casual
Key items: Pants were either slim and straight with a cropped turn-up or tapered from a loose-fitting dropped crotch, also spotted were a pair of luxe silk joggers tapering to a ribbed ankle cuff; tailored jackets featured spliced leather sleeves or a patchwork of matt-shine panels, while outerwear - including hooded car coats, collarless baseball jackets and odd back-to-front windcheaters - were casually layered over granddad tees, super-fine jersey shirts and sky blue shirt-and-tie combos with neat buttondown collars, and occasionally denim overhead shirts added a casual top layer; the jean jacket also proved a key item, arriving in several fabrics from shiny ink-blue satin to neat denim with spliced leather sleeves
Colour: Offbeat combinations of bright orange with navy, sky blue and drab neutrals, or washed terracotta pink and shadowy merlot with camel and navy; a final passage of tonal blues
Fabric & knit: Cotton, silk, satin, leather, super-fine jersey, nylon and ciré, denim, silk mohair suiting, heathered grey yarns
Print & pattern: Shadowy shaded effects, a multicoloured shattered shard print
Details & trims: Spliced leather sleeves, tonal panelling, colour-blocking, back-to-front hoods
Footwear: Kiltie-fringed formal shoes with cutaway sides and buckled strap, leopard spotted casual lace-up shoes, brogues in denim or two-tone suede
Accessories: Round sunglasses, narrow-trimmed trilbies, blunt-ended ties, colour-blocked squashy leather bags

It was another stellar showing from Jonny Johansson at Swedish denim label Acne, where the menswear collections are going from strength to strength, confirming the label's place on the Paris fashion schedule. Taking functionalism and Swedish purity as inspiration, Johansson translated that into retro sportswear with a smart-casual mix.


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