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Paris Fashion Week AW13



Walter Van Beirendonck’s more mainstream than is the norm offering for AW13 had us slightly unnerved, but Paris is immortal, with one of the most diverse cross sections of designers on the international fashion circuit, never fails to disappoint!

After what was for many a lack lustre Milan Fashion Week, all eyes turned to Paris’ menswear designers to save the day in menswear, which they did and with typical French joie de vivre and style. Paris was all about forward momentum, rebirth; from Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent overhaul to Lacroix, Mugler and Valentino’s continued renaissance (old houses in new hands), to aesthetics; Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton and artisanal shoe maker Berluti’s continued foray into ready-to-wear, and of course the ever present Parisian avant garde of Rick Owens, Qasimi Homme and their ilk. The trend to a smartening up in men’s fashion was present, as was a particular boxy and unflattering cut on many runways, but the flair of the French kept it all very interesting and highly covetable.

Mugler Mugler Valentino

A few of the best.

Hedi Slimane did what he does best and kept it predictable at Saint Laurent, with his proven menswear formula, an aesthetic so honed and perfected during his game changing days at Dior Homme. Saint Laurent AW13 was a rock ‘n’ roll history tour as Slimane referenced a variety of styles and eras modelled by his target market; actual musicians. A youthful, grungy sensibility pervaded with hints of glam rock thrown in. Hedi Slimane proved he has lost none of his touch, the ‘new look’ in menswear is back, alive and kicking.

YSL YSL YSL

Louis Vuitton under designer Kim Jones is going from strength to strength in the menswear department and their AW13 collection, which included a collaboration with artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, was a critically lauded success. Traditional Parisian dressing meshed with Himalayan influences for a rugged element, and Jones intelligently irreverent touch. The accessories made you want to give up both your arms, as did the leopard print mink coat and fur trimmed parkas and bombers.

Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton

The ‘Enfant Terrible’ of Paris, Jean Paul Gaultier, eschewed the traditional catwalk for a striptease presentation. His AW13 was classic Gaultier, sleek and masculine Sixties Cardin inspired tailoring, boilersuits and military greatcoats/outerwear, with his signature hints of androgyny taking shape in skirt detailing and sheer lace. Mugler too seemed to harken back to the Sixties and drew inspiration from the futurism of the era of Cardin and Courreges. The Illuminati triangle was an omnipresent design feature (also seen at Dior Homme) in Nicola Formichea’s cyber military collection straight out of Tron.

Jean Paul Gaultier Dior

The cult of the neo-gothic still stalks the Paris runways and maestro Rick Owens remained at the head of the pack with Qasimi Homme nipping at his heels. Owens runway Jedi (in cowled hoods, kimono jackets, sleeveless tops and back to front shirts) sported a different form of futurism, one that is Owen’s alone; austere, directional and almost monastic, with clear sculptural lines. Qasimi Homme is proving itself more and more with every passing season. Although AW13 was a more restrained vision from Khalid Al Qasimi, his signature, almost sinister undertones prevailed in a superbly dark collection that carried hints of the fetishistic. Elegant suits, floor sweeping coats, wide leg trousers and paper leather tops accessorised with elbow length leather gloves, all that was missing were Venetian masks for modern day Kubrikan bacchanal.

Rick Owens Rick Owens Qasimi Homme

Words: Ian Michael Luke Turner

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