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It’s about wearing not daring...

Ah Paris. The city of lights. Ultimate romantic destination. Europe’s gastronomic capital. And land of experimental fashion.

Well, not quite the latter.

The roster of luxed-up casualwear that filled the men’s runways in Paris this week was as much about commercial value than avant garde appeal. Combinations of tailored separates, softly-structured suiting, seriously luxurious knitwear and long-lined coats all offered a versatile collection of wearable clobber in a palette of grey, blue, camel and a handful of highlights.

While a champagne drinking monster on Adam Kimmel’s catwalk may have been a comment on fur, equally warm was the down-filled puffa, which continues to thrill in the chill for autumn 11. At Lanvin and Agnes B, a fresh take on Nelson chic included db nautical coats and tri-corn navy hats.

Duffel coats are still relevant (They were also seen at Raf Simons, where Fair Isle knits took on super-slim proportions) and overall tailoring has taken in more double breasted silhouettes than ever.

Looking further ahead and there are signs of a re-tread of utility. Less about Maharishi style drawstrings-for-the-hell-of-it, this return to true functional looks. We’re talking laboratory-level technicality here, with hermetically sealed seams and technical fastenings of every order.

At 3.1 Phillip Lim, it was all about clean lines and sealed seams, biker jackets and the rock edged leathers seen in previous seasons were very much in the mix.

Speaking of the music world, did anyone else notice that Lady Gaga has landed herself the role of musical director of Thierry Mugler. WTF? (that’s What The Fashion, by the way, as if we’d be so vulgar as to mean anything else…) It turns out she is now musical director of the label. OMG. (That’s Oh My Gaga…)

Cynically, we could suggest this is a spurious addition to her business cards, but there is something in it. After all, her stylist Nicola Formichetti is creative director at the label and if you can’t milk one of the world’s biggest grossing musicians, then who can you milk. Gaga aside, the collection turned out to be pretty straight and tailoring led, even though there was the judicious use of rubberised treatments to add textured interest.    

Meanwhile at least as intriguing was the launch of Mr by Roland Mouret.  The first menswear collection by this feted designer (who is now allowed to use his own name again) was startlingly commercial with safe colours teamed with a few helpfully innovative body sculpting cuts. So, classic Mouret then. The drop pleat was a particularly insistent detail, used on every pair of trousers to deliver a clever injection of volume on the thigh, which tapered to a slimmer calf. Expect to see that look inspiring plenty of trousers over the next 12 months.

Like most of Paris’s shows, Mr by Roland Mouret was a well-balanced mix of casual and smart, adding further weight to the theory that menswear is now about premium casualwear, rather than just a roster of suits.

And our favourite? Well thank you for asking – it is hard to not enjoy a collection like Acne’s. Far from rolling out the signature denims, and minimalist palette that saw it breakthrough and become one of the most loved brands in the business, the stratospherically cool Swedish brand turned to a collision of 80s-inspired long-line wool coats and 90s minimalist tailoring. 

 
All in all, it will be left to London to do the “experimental” thing now and I for one can’t wait.

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