Sunday, January 20, 2008

paris - men's fall/winter 2008 - day three



about a month ago a very good friend of mine asked me to give him a hand at helping him out pick out a snazzy suit for his first big paying career interview in the field of finance. him being of the fashion conscious kind, i immediately suggested raf simons. since raf manages to speak the vocabulary of youth and at the same time marry it with sophisticated tailoring. alas, he ended up spending a thousand dollars on a pair of botteta veneta wing tip brogues and he didn't have enough to spend on a proper suit. if his interview was six months from now, well then raf's latest collection would've captured his attention and his mastercard bill would've said "raf simons" instead. continuing with his perennial exploration with the idea of youthful rebellion, raf simons took a slightly different approach and tackled the twilight zone between youth and manhood. that resulted in a more pronounced attention to tailoring and things worn in the hours between nine to five. this didn't mean that he neglected his usual tendencies of injecting a sense of giving the man the finger. jackets were still tailored close to the body but this time instead of his usual thin lapels, it was a mandarin collar that was cut to reveal an almost empire waist paired with a burst of coloured sweater underneath and the pre-requisite of this season, a creeper inspired shoe. because the clothes were a little more "grown up" from his previous collections, he dabbled with artistic influences, most notable the rothko inspired colour blocking of his sweaters and an almost feminine approach to the finishing of the garments. the darting and the exposed seams on the clothes highlighted the silhouettes of the waif thin models he prefers. the raf simons man might have grown up this season, but he shows that old habits are hard to break.


the ann demeulemeester man is always the same man season after season. in many ways he is the masculine reflection of ann herself. its almost as if to fully understand what inspires the belgian designer, one only has to look at her menswear show. music has always been the muse to her collections and certain characters always manifests themselves into her shows. most notably bob dylan and patti smith, which in a lot of ways explains all the black and a sense of sombre rebellion. her trademark black and personal take on layering was still out on full force this season and so were the rakish models that reeked of intellectual nonchalance that posses both dandy sophistication and street urchin free spiritedness. a master hand when it comes to deconstruction, she however presented more refined tailoring and amidst all the black she surprised everyone by showing clothes printed with flowers in shades of periwinkle, pinks, yellows, and mauves. given that the whole mood of next fall's menswear collection is that of a more polished, refined aesthetic, it was a breath of fresh air to see some lighthearted, positive touches, especially coming from someone like ann all the while never sacrificing the trademarks that she's established for herself. even when the clothes are more finished they still speak to ann's customers. velvet jackets in deep purple with a fringed lapel and pockets paired with the omnipresent "carrot" cut pants in those euphoric floral prints are silhouettes and details the demeulemeester customer will appreciate. for the more traditional demeulemeester customer she offered him a jacket with asymmetrical button holes paired with a vest cut longer to peep out of the jacket all under a coat with a lining that appeared to be little origami squares of fabric. it is all these little touches, combined with her consistency and her ability to surprise that makes her one of menswear most endearing secret.


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