Shows presented on Day 5, final day of Paris Men’s Fashion Week: SS2013




Lanvin’s men’s show today marked a first for the label: the first time the clothes had been shown on an elevated catwalk, because, said Alber Elbaz, “It’s time to elevate fashion.” But Lanvin has always made time for that, which was clearer in this collection than ever before. From beginning to end, it had a relentless drive, defined by the tension between fashionable opposites: classic versus high-tech, linear versus rounded, detail versus no detail. And, although the presentation was staged with boyish models who were manorexic to the point of parental concern, the collection itself was actually infused with a more generous spirit than has ever been manifest in Lanvin menswear.

That was partly a function of the collection’s roundness, with full, high-waisted, pleated trousers and tops whose shoulders drooped fetchingly. But those pieces were all in black and white, as atonal as the Soft Cell track “Memorabilia” that played on the soundtrack. In fact, you had to apply the beady eye to find color, usually a Lanvin strong point (find it you could, in the slim layer of Lanvin blue that shaded shoe soles). In its place there was shine, one of Spring 2013’s big stories. There has always been an undercurrent of the shadowy side of glam rock in Lanvin’s menswear, and here it was gloriously expressed in a silver-glazed peacoat. That contrast between tradition and tech was extended into pieces that combined reptile and nylon in a shiny union of the snake.

It was such a graphic face-off that you could almost picture the collection’s evolution from urban monochrome to futuristic metal as a journey from city streets to moon and stars. That narrative made this the most convincing men’s collection Lucas Ossendrijver has created for Lanvin. It was also a testament to the label’s enduringly strange romance. (Review by Tim Blanks,


“Optimism” was Paul Smith’s word for Spring. “Tough world, so optimism shows through,” he said after the presentation. He was in jolly spirits for a man who’d scored his entire show, front to back, to the sounds of New Order.

But for Sir Paul, good business is good humor, and he reports that his suits are going gangbusters. That may be part of the reason he focused so strongly on them in this vivid, colorful show. This season, the suits come sharper and more tailored, with more defined shoulders and more cinched-in waists in the jackets, and cuffed cigarette trousers below.

Two prints—a sliced-and-diced rose, and a graphic print formed of the scissors that did the slicing—looked fine but a bit beside the point. They paled, very literally, before the barrage of dusty-colored suits that closed the show. With their slight sixties swing, they gave the models the look of a rainbow-as-rock-band. Crank it up. Season after season, Smith reminds us that he still does. This time around, he seemed readier than usual to be writ large—that is to say, played loud. (Review by Matthew Schneier,


Lookbooks lie. The images you see accompanying this review are the most pallid record imaginable of the remarkable presentation that Thom Browne staged in a Parisian garden square for his Spring 2013 menswear.

For all its flaws, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is a movie as primed for impact on fashion as his earlier masterpiece Blade Runner. Unfortunately for that theory, Browne hasn’t seen the film. Still, there was a mythological component in his show that seemed a little bigger than your average clever staging. The mythology of fashion? Delightful thought. On arrival, guests were greeted by a greensward covered with neat lines of rather large silver brogues. So far, so anal, in the Browne tradition. But when the garden was invaded by huge silvery insectoid satyrs, like escapees from Pan’s Labyrinth, past predictabilities evaporated. After the satyrs had worked their macabre magic, an army of giant Slinkys shuffled into the garden to boing-boing electronica (Doctor Who fans could have visualized Daleks as an alternative). Each one of them settled over the silver shoes like a broody king penguin. When the Slinky dropped, a model was revealed in an outfit from Browne’s new collection. So transporting had been the setup that it took a moment to remember that clothes were, after all, the point of all this.

And, amazingly, they matched their intro. It was still Browne’s silhouette—outré layering and cropping—but the palette had shifted from Calvinist sobriety to preppy-on-acid. Candy-colored ginghams and madras, beaded lobster appliqués, whale-print trousers, knee socks—Browne’s vision transported into a parallel universe and given a delirious spin. It was a wise, and necessary, move. All those signature items suddenly took on a new lease of life.

But a comprehensive appreciation of Browne’s madness would have to take into account the fact that the silvery goat pants worn by the satyrs were branded with the designer’s signature tricolor tag. As in, they might also be in the collection. Be afraid. Be very afraid. (Review by Tim Blanks,