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Paris

Shiny fabrics and colours added a touch of gloss to the Paris menswear catwalks. Stephen Spear reports

Layering, futuristic fabrications and a palette that blended neutrals with intense brights offered menswear buyers and pundits enough trends to get their teeth - and wallets - stuck into in Paris.

In terms of silhouettes, the looks on show were a schizophrenic mix. While the likes of Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garaons offered shrunken tailoring and cropped pants, most designers opted for a more relaxed outline. Raf Simons' pants billowed, Kris Van Assche's shirts fluttered, and Stefano Pilati's padded-shouldered jackets defined the spring 08 Yves Saint Laurent shape.

Following the departure of Hedi Slimane from Dior Homme last season, Paris Men's Fashion Week has lost its leading light. His rock-inspired, achingly cool collections had stolen the show at Paris for the past seven seasons. This time, new wunderkind-on-the-block Kris Van Assche stepped in at Dior Homme, seemingly at late notice if the narrow presentation was anything to go by. His close-cut shirts and understated tailoring lasted only the briefest of salon shows.

Stepping into the limelight instead were Paul Smith with his quirky and commercial preppy interpretations, Alber Elbaz's intelligent modern luxury at Lanvin, and Raf Simons' techy fabrics and cocoon shapes. It was Simons whose lightweight layers and shiny nylons first flagged the futuristic story, but these finishes united the week, with almost every range polishing tailoring and casualwear to a high gloss.

The sci-fi ethic was punctuated by a retro story at Paul Smith, whose Hockney-inspired 1960s looks added a sprinkling of colour to a nautical theme. A romantic feel came through in Emanuel Ungaro's Darcy-like equestrian style and Kris van Assche's Byronesque poets' shirts, with sheer shirting and feather-like layers were also on show at Yohji Yamamoto.

Ubiquitous shorts were the key trend to watch. The most wearable options were tailored to the knee at Junya Watanabe and Yves Saint Laurent, while Lanvin and Raf Simons cut them far higher. Tailoring details included braiding and ribbons, as seen at Comme des Garaons and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Colour offered the clearest direction, with flashes punctuating the pigeon-grey shades at Junya Watanabe and Louis Vuitton. Pure white looked fresh at Raf Simons and Yohji Yamamoto, but in comparison the intense blues looked more commercial and most directional. Cerulean was used at Louis Vuitton and Armand Basi, while darker ink shades came through at Lanvin and Veronique Branquinho.

RAF SIMONS

KEY LOOK: A technical nylon cocoon top with drawstring-gathered panels was teamed with an oversized ink-blue shirt and shorts

TARGET MARKET: Only fashion's young Turks would buy into Raf Simons' futuristic shapes

SILHOUETTE: Futuristic, modern and youthful. New silhouettes included tightly cocooning parkas and long T-shirts and sweaters

FABRIC: Treated nylons and parachute silk-style tops and cagoules featured next to blister-effect knits and lightweight shirting

COLOURs: Pure white was followed by orange, green and brown. Inky blue, mint green, pillar-box red, claret and lemon also featured.

PAUL SMITH

KEY LOOK: The contemporary smart-casual style had heavy nautical references, while checked trousers added interest

TARGET MARKET: Aimed squarely at today's mix 'n' match, smart casual, 30-plus customers

SILHOUETTE: The range combined 1sb and 2sb jackets with high-fastening 4sb styles

FABRIC: Crisp cottons and fine-gauge knits were teamed with lightweight wools on Paul Smith's tailoring

COLOURS: Tailoring took in neutrals from putty to cappuccino, while ice white provided a contrast on trousers. Vivid red, pink and green enlivened knits with polka dots and stripes.

LANVIN

KEY LOOK: Shiny and sludgy tailoring defined the slouchy spring silhouette as designer Alber Elbaz combined drawstring slacks with a narrow 3sb taped seam jacket

TARGET MARKET: The shabby luxury aesthetic is aimed at a fashion-forward clientele with plenty of leisure time

SILHOUETTE: Casualwear was layered and tailoring loose, with jackets cut short and paired with looser-legged trousers and shorts

FABRIC: Technical sheen triumphed, but treated cottons and light knitwear added layers

COLOURS: Mushroom, putty, tobacco and ivory tones were mixed with rich blue and black.

KRIS VAN ASSCHE

KEY LOOK: Wide-leg pants billowed under a tight 2sb jacket as Kris Van Assche referenced early 1900s farm workers in their Sunday best

TARGET MARKET: While still pitched at younger customers, these smart looks should help to broaden the Van Assche fan club

SILHOUETTE: Pleated pants ballooned and romantic shirts fluttered, while low-slung waistcoats and jackets added contrast

FABRIC: With lace on waistcoats, featherlight poets' shirts and tonic tailoring, this was a collection rooted in a feminine sensibility

COLOURS: Grey tones dominated, often with a high blue content. Pure white was refreshing.

JOHN GALLIANO

KEY LOOK: Galliano's revolutionary references and military styling looked best when softened with pastel colours in modernist prints

TARGET MARKET: Streetwear heavy, the range will appeal to fashion-victim youths with a political agenda

SILHOUETTE: Long parkas and baggy cargos contrasted with belted military field jackets, topped off by the street-favourite keffiyeh scarf

FABRIC: Combat canvas, dull cottons, laundered knits and jerseys

COLOURS: Camouflage was teamed with black and white print linings, while pastels and rainbow clashes softened the mood.

JUNYA WATANABE

KEY LOOK: Sharply abbreviated jackets with narrow sleeves were presented with shrink-fit shirts and knee-length shorts

TARGET MARKET: Uber-directional fans

SILHOUETTE: A shrunken jacket in one- and two-button versions worked in patch-pocket and safari styles, but always with tightly tailored shorts and mid-calf trousers

FABRIC: Crumpled sharkskin silks, treated cottons and merino wools

COLOURS: Grey, navy and ice-blue provided a background palette, while poppy-red plaids injected colour. Knitwear introduced strong navy and reds with golf-inspired argyles.

LOUIS VUITTON

KEY LOOK: A piercing blue combination of narrow tailored shorts and T-shirt teamed with a patchwork pattern 1sb jacket

TARGET MARKET: A mature customer long seduced by the casual luxury of the Marc Jacobs signature

SILHOUETTE: Shapes were relaxed and easy to wear, like so many of the collections in Paris

FABRIC: Matt-shine and iridescent fabrics sat alongside fine knits

COLOURS: Monochrome looks veered from bright blue to sludgy. The Moon Beach range teamed off-white with silver, while other highlights included terracotta and yellow.

YVES SAINT LAURENT

KEY LOOK: Metallic and ink blue tailoring came in soft-shouldered silhouettes, with shirts featuring double-breasted fastenings

TARGET MARKET: Older shoppers getting to grips with Stefano Pilati's updated image of Yves Saint Laurent

SILHOUETTE: Although some tailoring was cut tight and jackets often abbreviated, the overall ethic was of soft volume

FABRIC: Sheeny mohair and treated linen glazed designer Stefano Pilati's tailoring, while outerwear shined in technical fabrics

COLOURS: Dove grey, beige, tobacco and blue, with white hosting smudged primary prints.

COMME DES GARAONS

KEY LOOK: Shrunken jackets were layered over longer jackets and super-short trousers

TARGET MARKET: Few brands can boast such a loyal following as those that queue up season on season for Rei Kawakubo's creations

SILHOUETTE: Mid-calf cropped trousers were the most aggressive of the tailoring silhouettes, while layered suit jackets played with proportion

FABRIC: A succession of lightweight wools on tailoring teamed with crisp, sheeny shirts

COLOURS: Bright purple punctuated an otherwise sombre grey and cream palette.

JEROEN VAN TUYL

KEY LOOK: A youthful combination of low-slashed waistcoats and shiny relaxed trousers with loose-sleeved T-shirts

TARGET MARKET: Judging by the overall looks, Jeroen van Tuyl's boyish styling is aimed at younger customers

SILHOUETTE: As relaxed as any in Paris but with romantic appeal, from low-buttoned shirts and the sexy injection of abbreviated shorts

FABRIC: Variations in texture were important, with mohair, silk, wool and cotton all making an appearance

COLOURS: This ode to grey took in pigeon and steel shades, teamed with inky blue and white.

EMANUEL UNGARO

KEY LOOK: Jodhpur-tight trousers were tucked into riding boots and paired with a tab-collared geometric-patterned shirt

TARGET MARKET: Franck Boclet's clever twist on traditional styles aims to lure mature clients

SILHOUETTE: Refined and elegant, the outline played with volume using slim trousers along-side relaxed versions, while jackets hung low and flared from the chest

FABRIC: Lightweight cottons and silky touches looked summery and modern

COLOURS: Less redolent of the intense shades elsewhere, Boclet's show stayed safe with grey shades and injected a coppery crimson.

YOHJI YAMAMOTO

KEY LOOK: Relaxed black tailoring with patch pockets opened a collection of soft silhouettes. Red ribbon stripes on the shirt added an operatic edge

TARGET MARKET: Moss-coloured, slouchy military jacket references were only a slight departure for Yohji Yamamoto fans

SILHOUETTE: Trademark Yamamoto draped from a boxy block to create a soft outline, punctuated by cargo-style pocketing

FABRIC: Soft cottons were layered with sheer shirts and canvas

COLOURS: Black was teamed with steel, giving way to faded ultramarine and putty.

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