And so onto Paris and into the final leg of the Mens Fashion week circuit for this season, well next season, never mind. Ahhh Paris in the Summer, the Champs Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, THE PACKED UNDERGROUND SYSTEM ! The first day of the Paris shows and its off to Carven, who were inspired by the great artists, not one in particular just a mix, or collage of them. We saw bright sherbet colours and artist smock style shirts and all rather wearable.
Onto an Italian Powerhouse, who has taken a shine to showing in Paris is Valentino, and rather then me tell you I’ll leave you in the rather stylish hands of Monsieur James Sleaford, a Englishman in Paris who just happens to be the Fashion Editor of GQ France, “One of my favourite shows was that of Valentino. It was a collection both rich in fabrics, colours, styles but equally very wearable! Whilst, many designers went for the floral print at a strong statment piece Valentino subtly used it in a comoflauged trouser print to add both colour and texture to an outfit but keeping it commercial at the same time! Whilst summer leathers were everywhere for the Spring Summer collections – the Valentino vests were of the highest quality – styled in a clean sportswear fashion with both T-shirts and tailored trousers! This was sports chic at its best with a twist of Military flair!”
Please don’t think lazy of me but I sort the opinion of another fashion leader this time in the shape of Adrian Clark, Style Director of Shortlist. “Dries Van Noten knocked it out of the park for this season. The Belgian designer’s use of print is unsurpassable and the combinations of his menacingly dark florals on liquid silk and satin fabrics worn with romantic military tailoring will set a precedent for Spring 2014.”
For both Kris Van Assche and Kenzo it was about forgetting Sports Casual for Spring 2014 and think Sports Formal. Van Assche managed to blend elements from suiting with casual outdoors attire plus added splashes of BRIGHTS for maximum effect. Whereas Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, for Kenzo, returned to their California roots, replacing the tiger stripes of their phenomenally successful sweatshirts with the waves and surf of Cal-I-for-ni-a and offered a BLUE-tiful collection.
Over at Hermés, silver was the colour du jour as Véronique Nichanian celebrated 25 years of producing exquisite, not often I get to use that word, collections for the French Luxury house. As always she didn’t disappoint offering everything the Hermés man could possibly want from a Summer wardrobe.
To finish the day it was off to the Ami show, increasingly becoming a fave of Clothes-Make-the-Man, where Alexandre Mattiussi, showed us his sense of humour, sometimes in all too short supply in Fashion Land, he tried to convince us that budget airlines and the stresses of contemporary airline travel have and could not take the glamour and gloss off international jet set travel, obviously he needs to experience the delights of Ryanair and Easyjet a little more.
And to, what has to be, arguably, the most sort after ticket on the Paris schedule, Louis Vuitton. So, of course I wanted to gauge the opinion of the most sort after lady of Menswear Press, the alluring Catherine Hayward, Fashion Director of British Esquire. “When you’re the style director of Louis Vuitton, talented teams and big budgets mean it’s easier to be noticed, receive accolades and collect awards for your efforts. But for his Spring 2014 menswear collection, Brit designer Kim Jones proved his worth with probably his most successful collection yet for the house of Vuitton. Managing the notoriously uneasy balance between commerciality and artistically viable pieces of ‘fashion’, Jones’ road trip across the USA produced a mix of uber luxurious lambskin holdalls and back packs, bright orange crocodile skin bomber jackets and python sweatshirts and sneakers with a more down-at heel vibe across the casualwear; cotton drill varsity jackets and parkas decorated with carpet woven travelling badges plus oversize shirts and t’s which channelled classic bandana prints. With David Beckham sitting front row, Jones sent a red–carpet friendly finale of slick grey, black and monogrammed evening wear along the runway with quirky clothes peg detailing on lapels for added chutzpah.”
Finally, from a Brit at a French house to a Brit at what has to be THE most British of houses, Sir Paul Smith, although he showcased his new Best of British collection during London Collections:Men, Paul still, for the moment, shows his signature line in Paris. When I caught up with Paul recently, sorry I don’t mean that to sound as wanky as it does, he explained how he thought his recent collections had become very dark and how when he had visited his archive he saw all this colour that he had become synonymous for. Well he wasn’t bluming well joking, there was Red and orange and pink and, I think you get the picture, essentially the catwalk and venue was awash with colour.