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Paris menswear

Whether soft or shiny, the romantic mood dominated the men’s catwalks in Paris

In the city of lights a romantic mood swept over menswear last week with retro and feminine influences combining to create an airy feel across a contemporary range of tailoring and casualwear. Gossamer poet shirts, ethnic embellishments and reworked feminine silhouettes were all ingredients.

Wide-necked knits (Hermes), floaty shirtings (Armand Basi) and whimsical embellishments (Givenchy) added to the more casual elements of the romance with all of these coming in lightweight fabrications. Slightly at odds with the lightweight feel but giving the romantic look a different spin was the shiny suiting seen in convincing form at the likes of Dior Homme, Lanvin and Gaspard Yurkievich. The unstoppable rise of shiny suit fabrics has rolled right through from Milan to Paris this season and what started as a gentle swell three seasons ago is now a tidal wave. Barely a designer went without some version of the metallic or shimmering surface in silk or mohair on their tailoring – but that tailoring took many forms.

There was a split between the luxurious and the experimental with the former including the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, using soft fluid silhouettes that echoed the languid appeal seen in Milan the week before while more experimental silhouettes took in cropped drops at Louis Vuitton, rounded collars at Gaspard Yurkievich and shorts suits at Armand Basi.

So there was plenty of direction and alongside that some familiar items were there – lightweight techy outerwear (Juun J), ombre tops (Antonio Miro) and waistcoats (Louis Vuitton).

But Paris is as much about personality as it is the pursuit of the new. Paul Smith’s quirky tailoring and 1980s-inspired casualwear and the luxury aesthetic at Lanvin were all tweaked to inject enough newness to be commercial.

One personality still being defined is Kriss Van Assche’s at Dior Homme where he is continuing his quest to stamp his authority on the label following as he does in the iconic steps of his predecessor Hedi Slimane and this season saw his confidence shine through in both fabrications and palette.

And while similar confidence may be hard to find on the shopfloors of the UK menswear retailers right now there were enough clear directions and commercial nudges in the shiny, the unstructured and the relaxed looks for brands to get their teeth into. Just go easy on the sheer shirts.

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