Paris Mens Fashion Week: Leather, Updated Suits and Military Influence

YSLThe designers at Paris Menswear a/w ’12 fashion week put their unique stamp on the dominating trends already seen in Milan. From leather accents to outlandish reinterpretations of classic styles, the Paris collections were unabashed and at their best.

Statement leather and leather details were seen everywhere. YSL featured the material in lapels, turtlenecks and even shoulders, which were patched in soft black leather. Dark skin treated sleeves melted into Alexander McQueen’s zip-up wool bomber jacket, while Acne featured malleable leather shirts and Phillip Lim chose dense and heavy leather for his hip-length vest and jumper. Unexpected texture made its way in via quilting techniques in Christian Dior’s olive brown parka and Balmain’s skinny leather trousers with quilted knee patches, which were paired with strong blue pea-coats.

Thom BrowneDesigners also delivered exceptional interpretations of the gentleman’s suit, which went beyond classic ideals. Sarah Burton’s double-breasted three-piece suit in crisp white pinstripes was a success, as was the shorts suit presented at Raf Simons. Jean Paul Gaultier took a deconstruction approach, layering jacket vests over cummerbunds, collars and lapels. Influenced by Marine suits, Thierry Mugler’s Nicola Formachetti focused on tailoring and construction by minimizing (or removing) details such as pockets and lapels. Military nuances were also seen at Hermes, where sophisticated charcoal suits resembled uniforms and were accompanied by belted coats in leather and exotic skins.

As always, Paris also upheld its reputation for breaking and making trends. Thom Browne’s sinister collection of punks versus jocks introduced exaggerated quarterback shoulders, devilish spiked masks and schnauzer prints. Lanvin’s eye-catching jailhouse looks featured high-waist trousers, puffed jumpers and wide navy Lanvinstripes cut across orange coats, blazers and pleated pants. Yohji Yamamoto’s real life models donned pauper ensembles (layers of oversized red silk, wide wool suits and padded overcoats with blanket scarves). Rei Kawakuba presented an androgynous libertarian collection for Comme des Garçons that was filled with tailored coats in polka-dot and floral prints. Henrik Vibsgov’s affluent hippy collection included mature deep v-neck cardigans in printed knits and slouching trousers with tapered ankles and zip decals. And Junya Wantanabe’s a/w ’12 collection, entitled “Work,” was by far the most relaxed with country inspired flannel shirts and colorful suspenders holding up heavy dark denim.

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