by Madelaine Triebe
It was a wide selection of designers that showed their A/W 12 collections at the Paris Men’s Fashion Week this year and there were many upcoming labels to keep an eye on. It was a week of fresh faces and widespread inspiration from around the world; from Swedish label Acne and Japanese Miharayasuhiro to the Croatian-born German designer Damir Doma and the London Show Room, displaying Britain’s most promising talents in menswear.
Dark colours and heavy fabrics, such as wool and knits dominated the runway shows pointing to a tougher masculine look for the coming fall. The message to the men was to go for the dressy yet casual look and to spice it up with some fashion courage, playing with colours and pattern.
Parisian-based Ami, the ideal label for any Francophile out there, epitomised Parisian chic with its fall collection. It was all about the well-polished shoes and the sheepskin leather jackets and neatly knitted sweaters. It was masculine and pretty at the same time, perfect for any man ready to stay in the city or impulsively go on a weekend-trip to the coast of Normandy.
Designer Damir Doma changed the focus from Europe to around the globe as he found inspiration for his collection in far away countries. It was an assortment of clothes with reference to both Asia and Africa. The German designer took a step out of his comfort zone and switched his usual black and minimalist approach to design for ethnic eclectic. The models walked down the catwalk in bold mixtures of patterns and layered garments in fur and wool, looking comfortably ready for a fashion-filled season.
Henrik Vibskov, the man famously known for his pig-patterned graduation collection at Central Saint Martins in London, was still keeping it real this season in Paris. Quintessentially Vibskov with the drop-crotch patterned tights and trousers and colour-injected black and grey cardigans, the Danish designer showed a light-hearted upbeat assortment of clothes for grey November days. It was playfully Scandinavian and New York hipster merged into one.
As most of the menswear lines had a consistent theme in their collection, Japanese Miharayasuhiro intelligently managed to create a collection of opposites. With beautifully tailored shiny suits in Asian inspired flowery patterns, juxtaposed with Scottish-influenced checked cotton trousers and rolled up sleeves, it had the characteristics of a split personality! However, immensely magnetic and with a tattooed, bare-chested guitarist playing head banging rock music to accompany the runway show, it was refreshingly diverse and filled with pleasant surprises.
At the London Show Room British designers such as Agi & Sam showed colourful menswear and clothes made for easygoing men; brave and humoristic enough to have fun with fashion. Labe E. Tautz on the other hand represented the classic and sophisticated man loving balanced and unfussy design. The Brit men’s designers showed a promising prequel to the newly announced Menswear Fashion Week arriving in London in June.
All together, the menswear week was filled with a positive vibe of creativity. The military look with tucked in trousers in untied leather boots was contrasted against the more playful and vivid menswear. Refreshingly upbeat and diverse, the emerging designers and labels lead an innovative approach to men’s fashion. As established houses Dior and Lanvin shared the week with upcoming labels, the menswear collections in Paris showed that the masculine side of fashion is no longer just a corner of the industry. It is more diverse than ever with even more to come.
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