3.1 Phillip Lim

New York-based designer Phillip Lim chose Paris for his first menswear runway show. He labelled it 'White Noise', which, as he elaborated on after the show, was all about removing the background noise from colour and surroundings. His ‘balanced visual symphony’, which took inspiration from counter-cultures such as skinheads and punks, as well as the more traditional elements of gents' dressing, resulted in details such as houndstooth prints being blown up and pixilated to resemble camouflage. Meanwhile, monk-strap shoes lost their buckles and gained zips, and latex was fashioned into sheer raincoats. As a nod to the parka, coats came with inner drawstrings, whilst slip-knot belts and high-waisted trousers finished off the looks
 

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

3.1 Phillip Lim

Rick Owens

‘Kabuki Skater Monk’ is what Rick Owens called his new trouser for Fall. Part balloon-back boxers, part jodhpurs, the low-dropped crotch gave rise to the longest fly placket ever seen. Paired with his signature lace-less leather trainers and a series of fine-knit military tops, cowl-necked shirts and two-button blazers, the silhouette was further elongated. Other standouts included a new group of puffa coats (on which he used the same manipulating volume techniques) and graphic biker jackets with contrast tape detailing

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf’s Monsieur shows are always notably tamer than their women’s. That said, this show - which at first glance could comes across as a collection of classic menswear pieces - had somewhat of a twist. Referencing the duo's early womenswear work, nappa leather trousers were paired with formal jackets, while suiting, parkas and trenchcoats displayed oversized top-heavy silhouettes that were created using fur (beaver and shearling) and Alpaca cloth

 

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

Louis Vuitton

The Louis Vuitton catwalk space comprised of a 12-metre-wide air-filled globe suspended like a hot air balloon over a runway - which was then covered with a photographic parquet of tatami matting. Menswear studio and style director Kim Jones was exploring the dialogue between Paris and Tokyo (which dates back to the 19th century) and its resulting cultural and creative cross-fertilisation. This is totally relevant to this brand. Vuitton's famed monogram, known the world over as a symbol of French luxury, has its roots in Japanese floral art, while Japanese designers had a profound effect on French fashion when they arrived in Paris in the 1980s - Marc Jacobs' own public acknowledgement of Japanese design in his work being one such instance. This was not only another stand-out collection with plenty to please, but also an extraordinary display of exceptional skill in execution, detail and technique - seen in the specially-developed reflective thermo-bonded sportswear and derby shoes which featured astrakhan and metal detail. The show also boasted a specially-mixed soundtrack by the 'pope of disco music', Giorgio Moroder, who introduced himself and officiated over the opening of the show

 

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten commissioned Dutch artists Gijs Frieling and Job Wouters not only to create prints for this collection, but also to work on a mural which formed the backdrop for the show. The mural, for which the artists and their team employed a folk painting technique to create, was painted before, during and after the show - becoming part set and part performance. In brush strokes, they created beautiful artful calligraphy which spelt out 'All my pianists look exactly like painters and all my painters look exactly like pianists' - a quote from Oscar Wilde - whilst John Gielgud read out the same lines on the soundtrack. The collection was Oscar Wilde meets Frank Zappa, and the latter's favourite cocktails were served in his honour. There were plenty of blazers, covert coats, frock-coats, peacoats and chunky oversized knits, worn with slim cropped trousers and slip-on shoes. Detailing included white felting under the collars (now a house signature), larger collars, wider lapels and deeper pocket flaps. As well as Frieling and Wouters' prints, pattern and texture came from velvet, vinyl and plasticised mohair that could be mistaken for astrakhan

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Junya Watanabe Man

Junya Watanabe used the concept of traditional workwear as a starting point for a group of 'suits' comprising of matching jackets and trousers. Featuring tough top stitching, rivets, a multitude of tool pockets, collars, elbow patches and yokes fashioned in contrasting cloth or leather, the look was accesorised with leather and felt boots and flat caps. Taking it a step further, Watanabe then patched together sections of the garments with a multitude of materials such as garbadine, plaid, flannel, leather, waxed cotton and denim. Working with menswear specialist brands such as Gloverall, Duvetica, Brooks Brothers, Levi's and Trickers, the collection might look like it can walk straight off the runway, but like most things, the simplest is the hardest to get right and this is where Watanabe excels

 

Junya Watanabe Man

 

Junya Watanabe Man

 

Yves Saint Laurent

Stefano Pilati is on a roll at Yves Saint Laurent. The Fall collection he just presented is spot on for both the brand and the season. It's infused with that chic Frenchness that is YSL, but injected with just the right amount of toughness. The show opened with a slim two-buttoned suit of bonded mohair cloth trimmed with a black nappa leather collar. Pilati used a lot of black and a lot of leather, already quite the key fabrication of the season. He bonded the skin across yokes and down trouser legs, shadowed collars with it, cut trousers  and even T-Shirts from it, and combined it with baby shearling. The latter was fashioned into blousons and new hybrid garments that were part waistcoat, part tank and part tabard. These, as well as cowl-neck 1980s-style tops, were right on target for the season. The tough chic look was further enhanced with a razor blade motif intarsia on a sweater and chrome plating on loafers
 

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

Kris Van Assche

Van Assche called his 15th collection 'Work'. That meant showcasing his take on workwear - particularly utilitarian jackets, overalls and dungarees and a print based on the lowly screw. Meanwhile, mini rucksacks made by Eastpack dangled off utility belts normally designed to carry tools. He also showed cowl-necked kimono-shaped ribbed knits, judo-style jackets and double-belted fastenings that clinched coats and jackets tight onto the torso. Lets hope his clients share his confidence when it comes to sporting cropped extra baggy two-pleat trousers
 

Kris Van Assche

 

Kris Van Assche

 

Kris Van Assche

 

Kris Van Assche

 

Comme des Garçons

A woman of few words (or at least one who does not care to explain herself), Rei Kawakubo described this collection only as 'neither man nor woman'. She opened the show with a look comprised of a polka dot swing-back coat matched with pink stack-healed lace-ups, following on with gender bending items, such as kilts, culottes, bib-fronted ruffled shirts and transfers of pink roses. Doesn't sound a whole like a menswear? Maybe not, but when you consider that the origins of the frockcoat, highwayman's coat, stock shirt and the wide-brimmed hat were all in menswear, and that the swing-back was first created to ride a horse in - you can see what she means. She also showed versions of tweed jackets, that menswear-adopted-by-Coco Chanel-for-womenswear staple, now reappropriated right back, complete with a décolleté neckline and a sparkle in the cloth

 

Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons

 

Comme des Garçons

 

Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci has a formula at Givenchy, which he applies to both his menswear and womenswear collections. A major ingredient in that blueprint is pattern, adornment, heavy embellishment and relatively few pieces, some of which are tailored and many that originate in sportswear. Although a menswear show, it was sprinkled with a few looks for women - the interesting point here being that the women wore the same pieces (only the shoes changed). The humble T-Shirt was elevated to a seasonal collectors item, as was the sweatshirt - complete with button-up or zip-down side seams - and the striped rugby shirt. These pieces - plus bomber jackets, pea-coats and the signature double-hem coat - got printed, trimmed with stripes, and adorned with star-shaped jet crystal or smothered with sequins fashioned from pony skin. This season it was the stars and stripes of the American flag and the mythological Minotaur figure that got the Tisci treatment. Beefy models were styled up with gladiator kilts, jet crystal ear studs and over sized nose rings, thankfully held in place with magnets

Givenchy

 

Givenchy

 

Givenchy

 

Givenchy

 

Maison Martin Margiela

A series of mini fashion shows gave just one view of the new collection from Maison Martin Margiela, and a static exhibition of the same pieces, with detailed captions, gave the rest of the story. The camel coats and tailoring, worn with honey-coloured shoes, was a case in point. It turns out the tailored garments were all 'replicas' of garments from various origins and periods, and the shoes were constructed entirely of the rubber normally reserved for shoe soles. The rings worn by the models were reproduced from rings worn by men found during castings. Bin liners and trash bags were shredded and knitted into jumpers or upcycled into coats and parkas, most successfully when in cellulose and laser-sealed over camel for coats and blazers. It may sound a little tricky or clever but actually it's far from it; upcycling apart, it was all totally wearable, cut in silk, camel hair, mohair, sheepskin, muskrat, leather and vinyl

Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

Walter Van Beirendonck

According to Walter Van Beirendonck, 'lust never sleeps' and fetish is never too far away from fashion. From the extraordinary, three-dimensional flesh-coloured leather gimp masks realised by Thomasine Barnekow and the rubberised padlock necklaces to the paraphernalia hanging off walking sticks and leather waders and the zip-through all-in-ones complete with shoes and mink-tipped leather gloves, there was plenty to lust after. Van Beirendonck's knack here is for the execution, in sugary-sweet colours like lilac, lemon, tangerine and green. And for his pairing of the straight with the straightforward, like two-button suits, bowler hats courtesy of milliner Stephen Jones, plaid shirts and miniature bow ties

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck

Dior Homme

Kris Van Assche's soldiers marched down a wide runway of herringbone parquet, coated, booted and capped in military green with enough polish to please a captain. Great coats, pea coats, trench coats, parkas, all the outerwear options were explored in cashmere, serge, gabardine and moleskin. By introducing linings or panels of shearling, he then shifted the palette into winter white before ending in ceremonial black. Zips created drama up the backs of coats. Contrasting toggles closed one sportier group, but otherwise detail was very restrained - bar the motifs of doves fashioned in grey and beige tailor's baise that adorned the finale

Dior Homme

Dior Homme

Dior Homme

Dior Homme

Hermès

Without fail we need to pay a visit the showroom after an Hermès show in order to touch and feel what we saw on the catwalk. This time that was essential even for the shirts: a glacier-coloured poplin shirt turned out to be made of lambskin with a hand of rubber; carbon-coloured 'chiffon' alligator was so fine that it, too, was cut into shirts; and the bibs on the front of the actual poplin shirts were painted with a fine brush rather than seamed. This year's theme was the gift of time, so many fabrics and skins had an aged quality, like the black 'frayed'-wool and cashmere V-neck, the slightly uneven surface of the plum wool and linen double-breasted coat and the licorice-coloured double-faced astrakhan and reversible baby lambskin, with their uneven-looking skin-side textures used on the outside. Most of the suiting was cut in wool and cotton mixes with a sheen, and the 'technical' seersucker was engineered with micro-creases. Most wanted this time were the knits, the extra-fine cashmere turtleneck with body, collar and sleeves in subtly different dark tones; the plum-coloured goatskin fronted V-neck; and the heavy-gauge sable and cashmere that was needle-bonded to a lambskin yoke

Hermès

Hermès

Hermès

Hermès

Raf Simons

Run Fall Run. All change at Raf Simons, for the good or the bad, the designer said backstage after the show. We'd go for the former, of course. The major shift here was proportion, with shirts cut as big as coats and trousers shortened to shorts, caps worn back to front with knitted brims falling to shoulders like hairy flaps. The jumbo shirts were layered over other more classically proportioned 'business' ones, often with a sweatshirt or sweater between. This created a lot of interest from the neck down, as collar sat below collar with the outerwear layered on top. That came in a shiny piled fabric, part fun fur and part AstroTurf, in intense dark hues. Colour is an area Simons excels in, with Rothko-type blocking on sweatshirts and startling mixes in tone - like yellow springbok skin sewn to the back of a wine-coloured peacoat, or the strands of multicoloured 'hair stripes' cascading down the backs of blazers and jackets like a ponytail attached to the collar with a pin. Coloured hair was also woven into fringes that fell down past cheekbones. This hair, according to the designer, has major significance. If you want to die your hair, you really want to change something
 

Raf Simons

Raf Simons

Raf Simons

Raf Simons

Lanvin

The Lanvin man is on a mission. At Lucas Ossendrijver's show he was armed with a mini-briefcase only big enough to take an iPad, which, if you think about it (as he obviously has), is almost all you need for a meeting these days. He also showed a new way of wearing a suit - not the traditional two- or three-piece we know, but something still strong, smart and formal, the garments combined in new ways. Fabrics may have matched, but the colours (grubby, subdued tones of olive, mauve, mustard and grey) no longer had to. Wool cloth was bonded, coated in silicone, felted or deliberately pilled. Trousers were either straight or flared, waists were high; shoulders were cut big and dropped, allowing shape to form in the back and sleeve. You could spot the traditions and the changes, like darts that were ripped apart and stapled together again, parkas with hems left raw and soft, shaggy sheepskin in place of the usual fox and stripes engineered or appliquéd with coloured eelskin. The show finished with a series of new hybrid coats - part parka, part puffer and completely reversible. Outstanding

Lanvin

Lanvin

Lanvin

Lanvin

Paul Smith

With giant photos of a wintery sea on the walls, fog horns to announce the start of the show and the BBC's shipping forecast mixed into the soundtrack, Paul Smith went to sea. He came back with fisherman's smocks, peacoats, anchor motifs, a little sea green and plenty of navy blue. For a designer with bright running through his views, there was little - bar the fluorescent yellow that peaked out below navy or black knits and highlighted the yokes of navy wool peacoats, and the sharktooth and jellyfish prints that adorned the odd trouser or padded sweatshirt. Wool and leather, stand-up collars, wadded nylon outerwear and peg-leg trousers tucked into tall Chelsea boots will surely keep out the North Sea breeze

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Acne

Acne closed the two-city men's season with a tough yet romantic show, as Jonny Johansson explored the idea of love and emotion for men. A play on imitation and the concept of fake meant leather, pleather, upholstery vinyl and fake fur offset with cashmere, mohair, Harris tweed and just a little denim (everyone already knows they can depend on Acne for jeans, so they don't need reminding). Silhouette at Acne is known to be on the slim side of the spectrum, but introducing just the right amount of volume on top was bang on for the season, as was the play on proportion. The pleated shorts over slim trousers, wide cardigans on top of tight blazers, short-sleeved T-shirts in stiff silk over shirts, and jackets and soft, oversized knit hoodies that hung out from beneath teeny bomber jackets all worked. Well.

Acne

Acne

Acne

Acne

3.1 Phillip Lim

New York-based designer Phillip Lim chose Paris for his first menswear runway show. He labelled it 'White Noise', which, as he elaborated on after the show, was all about removing the background noise from colour and surroundings. His ‘balanced visual symphony’, which took inspiration from counter-cultures such as skinheads and punks, as well as the more traditional elements of gents' dressing, resulted in details such as houndstooth prints being blown up and pixilated to resemble camouflage. Meanwhile, monk-strap shoes lost their buckles and gained zips, and latex was fashioned into sheer raincoats. As a nod to the parka, coats came with inner drawstrings, whilst slip-knot belts and high-waisted trousers finished off the looks
 


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