each other with beeping horns, and a sense of unity permeating its big-city living. Even the fashion world hasn’t found itself
immune to the football mania, with editors — supposedly impervious to such displays of public emotion — skipping late shows
to crowd in front of TV screens and cheer their home teams, and more than a touch of sport cropping up on the French capital’s
Issey Miyake got the mood in motion when outgoing designer Naoki Takizawa sent out a model sporting a t-shirt that read "Track," followed
by a parade of white and green, like a football pitch in reverse; randomly placed numbers were blown up to adult height, thus
abstracting the effect, while ankle-zip pants jostled with rip-stop jackets and varsity laurel-leaf decoration. John Galliano‘s allusions to sport were more in the swimwear vein, and Yohji Yamamoto‘s vast offering brought a sporty freshness to tailoring with curving, shiny inserts in matte jackets, suspenders playing
peekaboo, and a procession of easily worn t-shirts.
Junya Watanabe gave suiting an athletic overhaul with go-faster striped trousers and jackets inset with multi-linear grids and arcs of color.
The result, despite recalling track and field, was beautiful. Louis Vuitton, on the other hand, might not have been sporty per se, but the line looked fresh and clean, and the show’s space — a white
cube with water projections on the walls — made it clear that the clothes wouldn’t be out of place around a swimming pool,
an impression strengthened by hibiscus-print shirts and foulards evoking the Hawaiian surf. Dries Van Noten had the same notion; his candy colors and softly hued tropical prints were clear winners in a gracefully handled collection
that saw jackets and shirts casually belted about the torso.
Mining a youthful vein, Hermès was the freshest it’s looked in years; Vèronique Nichanian has made the silhouettes slimmer, resulting in grown-up clothes
with a sporty spin and the potential to inspire long waiting lists. Speaking of silhouettes, it was maverick Belgian Raf Simons who really shook things up, in a clear, understated, and confident manner. Shorts with curling techno insets and narrow pants
paired with gladiator sandals that zipped up the back were joined by parachute raincoats, cut out at the side and forming
strange billowing shapes that, in their spare nature, were truly mind-blowing.
Taken altogether (without getting into the subjects of belted apparel and a focus on the waistcoat), the shows revealed the
one thing you’ll need for next spring: a cardigan. Selections ranged from Rykiel Homme’s wonderful elongated versions, Miyake’s
large knit with green trim, and Dirk Schönberger’s long number with a ribbed shawl collar in winter white, to Running Dogs’
soft camel, Gieves’ superimposed patch pockets, Vuitton’s chunky deep blue, and Hermès’ super-snug slate and putty wool/linen.
Then there’s the irresistibly juicy offerings of contrasting trompe l’oeil attached cardies in the colorful capsule collection
that marked former publicist Victor Glemaud’s own-name debut on the design scene.
Despite the youthful air that the sports vibe conveyed, fashion, like all things, obeys the equivalent of Newton’s Third Law:
every bright and athletic action has an equal and opposite reaction that is dark, introspective, and rooted in rock ‘n roll.
Number (N)ine‘s angst-ridden parade was actually serene when looked at properly — open knotwork tracing a sweater, dégradé windowpane checks,
and a layering of textures and tones that called a dusky desert to mind. Ann Demeulemeester‘s menswear is maturing in a parallel vein — her fine striped knits twisting askew within a symphony of distended shirttails
and set-off collar facings had an air of poetic romance.
At Dior Homme, amid the hush-hush of contract negotiations, the strange atmosphere wasn’t helped by a head-scratcher of a collection that
saw Hedi Slimane return to emaciated proportions and a wasted rock spirit after his last classic outing. But however you feel
about trousers that could feasibly double as leggings, there’s no denying the beauty in the re-thought tailoring, the surprise
in long, semi-sheer, knotted t-shirts wrapping the torso, or the creative stretches of firework beading and origami-style
folded faille. And amongst all that is a narrow trench with a lengthened cape back and a light sense of movement that makes
the eyes sparkle. Go figure.
Issey Miyake s/s ’07
John Galliano s/s ’07
Louis Vuitton s/s ’07
Raf Simons s/s ’07
Dior Homme s/s ’07
Number Nine s/s ’07
Victor Glemaud s/s ’07