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Summer’s in the air at Paris Fashion Week

Summer’s in the air at Paris Fashion Week

Flowers, colour at Paris Fashion Week, as Balmain makes menswear debut

By (AP)

Published: Mon 29 Jun 2015, 8:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:52 PM

The adventures of Balmain

The adventures of Balmain

Balmain’s menswear debut was all about discovery. First, was a journey of inspiration for 29-year-old designer Olivier Rousteing on how to translate his designs — which have garnered great attention in womenswear — for a male clientele.

And, second, Rousteing’s starting point on this creative journey was — rather literally — voyages.

“This guy is exactly how I am. Someone discovering the world as an adventurer, trying to find new treasures,” he said.

Safari-infused colours of ochre began the show in a stylish leather jacket, warm khaki army shorts, and a cap — that looked part safari, part baseball.

And the colours of the earth that proceeded — brown leathers, stone, ochre yellows and ochre browns — continued evoking this impression of a man walking the land. Accessories like backpackers’ bags, and high sandals — were almost fit for a desert trek. Multiple layered looks — with satchels, belts, lapels, and pockets — also felt like the Balmain man would be well-protected to weather the elements.

Rousteing is lauded for his exuberant female designs and fastidious embellishments. This menswear debut captured this, but perhaps could have benefited with the designer bringing the detailing down one notch for the more sober male audience.

Since the days of Coco Chanel, and then Yves Saint Laurent, fashion has been about blurring the lines between male and female.

One of the new trends in Paris Fashion Week is to have female models walk the catwalk in menswear shows, alongside the male models. The Balmain show had 12 female models sporting couture-like gowns with baroque detailing. 

Flower power at Dior Homme

Flower power at Dior Homme

It was a walk among the flowers for Dior Homme, who unveiled its new collection in a labyrinth filled with several thousand white roses. The garden theme was appropriate enough setting for a spring-summer show, and brought home the house identity: Monsieur Christian Dior famously loved blooms.

Guests, including actors Boyd Holbrook and James Franco’s actor brother, Dave Franco, stared out in delight — and normally-retrained fashion editors were seen stooping down to get the best photo of the scented spectacle — reflected back with huge mirrored panels.

But the flowers were also a metaphor for the collection.

It started out safe with bread-and-butter dark slim suit styles, which, as the collection progressed, germinated into camouflage print on lozenge tank tops and on shirts, where it was contrasted with abstract squiggles on a shirt.

And then the collection bloomed.

A vivid red car coat appeared, bright white jeans, and a statement dazzling yellow coat with large collar in crocodile leather. The touches of colour were bright, bold and perfect for the metrosexual summer man. 

Kenzo gives a space age spin to American factory worker styles

Kenzo gives a space age spin to American factory worker styles

Was the dusty, bolder-filled decor of Kenzo’s show evoking a rocky US landscape, or a planet in outer space? The spring-summer collection’s funky designs — which took American factory worker styles and gave them a space age spin — pointed to both.

A buttermilk yellow jumpsuit with hoops, drawstrings on high-waisted workers’ pants — mixed with a prickly 3-D sweater and assorted pants in ochre that looked like an extra from Star Trek. It had a fantastic texture, and was one of the show’s best looks.

Tassles and drawstrings on slim ochre jackets added the necessary utilitarian details for the ever-cool designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. But the collection was also a display of Kenzo’s talents as colourists, with a beautiful series of patchwork collage garments, like an enviable striped coat and jacket that was worn tucked — of course — inside the pants. 

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