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Paris Menswear

Sports-inspired looks top scored in the trend stakes on Paris’s spring 12 catwalks

Sportswear influences emerged as the key commercial direction for spring 12 at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, with designers undoubtedly taking inspiration from next summer’s London Olympics. Track and field pieces, an outdoor pursuits theme and a smart retro sports feel confirmed the trend first noted on the Milan catwalks last month.

There was also a focus on key product categories in Paris, with outerwear standing out as one of the strongest product areas for spring 12.

Casual blousons pushed the sports trend, with baseball and varsity styles seen at Acne, Hermès and Mugler. Performance jackets were also strong, with functional windcheaters and a new over-the-head cagoule style coming through at Brit designer Kim Jones’ first collection for Louis Vuitton, but it was Dries Van Noten that led the way. Its collection dedicated to outerwear for outdoor sports included parkas, anoraks and zip-through jackets worked in coated fabrics and performance nylons.

Elsewhere, designers experimented with bold pattern play, which was used across all categories. Colourful Hawaiian and retro aloha florals were seen at Kenzo and Jean Paul Gaultier, picking up from the Moschino and Prada collections showcased in Milan. Riccardo Tisci modernised the look with large bird-of-paradise placement prints at Givenchy, while Raf Simons and Louis Vuitton updated perennial plaids and checks.

In terms of key items, the patterned resort shirt looked most commercial, channelling a retro sports feel as well as a surfer vibe. Patterned trousers were also noted, offering a directional update to the basic coloured pant.

Colour was also strong, with confident use of vivid summer brights such as cobalt blue, chrome yellow, tropical green and red, particularly for tailoring. Some designers steered clear, however - Yves Saint Laurent, Dior Homme and Rick Owens stuck to strict palettes of black, white, inky blue and beige.

Milan’s rock ‘n’ roll vibe also surfaced at several shows in Paris, confirming it as a key spring 12 trend. Lanvin and John Galliano channelled it through military-influenced looks, tapping into the 1960s rock icon style first noted at Alexander McQueen, while Balmain opted for high-end rockers in exotic-skin leather jackets and luxe biker vests.

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