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Paris menswear fashion week: A return to quieter elegance |


Paris menswear fashion week: A return to quieter elegance

Ria de Borja - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -Paris Men’s Fashion Week is a place where designers like to experiment and bring on waves of colors, silhouettes or ideas that are not seen as often in Milan’s more tailored offerings; nor London’s emerging poles of new talent and old-school haberdashery. But in these collections featured below, we see a return to a quieter sartorial elegance.


The Berluti collection was shown on a runway built around pieces of natural, unfinished wood that immediately express a down-to-earth vibe. Simple, natural, it seemed to say. The clothes, however, were far from those elements — in sophistication, with special attention to fabric. Organic wool was also the base of the creation of the collection, said designer Alessandro Sartori after the show.

From the easy-breezy trench coats in white and deep red to the brown and mahogany pairings, it was apparent that the Berluti man’s flair was embedded in craft and not in fashion. “When the looks are overstyled they are unreal because only a few men can do that. A little bit of styling like this” — Sartori puts his hands in his pockets and his coat crunches slightly — “can be gorgeous and modern.” This also explained the broader bodies of models of all ages — no grungy, skinny hipsters here — that aimed at a dapper air with a studied carelessness while strutting the runway.

Louis Vuitton

“We looked at NASA maps of the world from space, and at aerial photographs of Machu Picchu, Cusco, the Atacama Desert and the Nazca Lines in Peru. Then, we went into those areas and found the finest local materials,” said Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton in the collection’s press notes. And with that tone, the fall/winter ’14-’15 show began, amidst a large backdrop and floor of a handpainted view of the Atacama Desert.

There were no V emblems from last season’s collection or bold prints from the season before — at least, not recognizable from a few feet away. This time, the bar was set for a quieter version of luxury clothing, where there was little visual recognition that you were wearing Vuitton in Peruvian-inspired stripes on scarves and blankets, bright blue sweaters and soft-looking mocha and grey monochromatic ensembles. The collection was also cleaner looking than seasons past due to a slimmer silhouette in suiting. The focus was less on fashion than on the fabrics used — which included cashmere, vicuña, chinchilla, alpaca and python — and the refined feeling of the clothes. Less sport, it appeared although a global adventurer had shrugged off his past of chunky bag straps, Japanese denim and glittering robes in favor of a more modest aesthetic.

The FW ’14-’15 collection also launched the Damier Cobalt in dark blue, which is said in the show notes to represent a new era of the Vuitton man’s “understated luxury.” Two styles were created exclusively for the show: the Keepall 45 with an added backpack carry and an incarnation of the Atoll clutch.


Bomber jacket? Check. Olive parkas? Check. Brown suits? Tapered, cuffed pants? Check. But lest you think the collection was uninteresting, think again. First were the drop shoulders on several coats, a sporty but elegant break against sharper-shouldered suits of the season. Next were the heathered flecks of wool that produced the slightest shimmer. Then there where the brown checks; on a bomber jacket paired with gloves, it was easily a cool statement piece. Last were the capes: more dramatic for a brand like Cerruti but not over the top. It was a collection balanced by old classics and newer fashions.

Paul Smith

Again, Sir Paul Smith regaled us with punk and rock in his FW ’14 menswear collection, but this time there was a clear reference to rock band The Doors and its lead singer Jim Morrison, whose music filled the show. Flamingos and palm trees for the fall/winter could only mean vacations in Southern or tropical regions — and an homage to Morrison’s LA.

Along with an upbeat attitude were ethnic-printed pieces speaking about world travels. Peru? Mongolia? Were those elephant prints from India or Thailand? It was a mix that made the brand come alive, with pants that were not hopelessly chic, nor too cropped nor too skinny (which could have been easy to reference).

There were touches of ethnic prints and a subtle range of rose and mauve colors that gave the collection a dusky spice. In the studied hipness you could see Smith shining through: he made all the references, in the end, his own.

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