Men’s Fashion Weeks S/S ’10 Overview

Several key themes have emerged from the runways of Milan and Paris this season – unsurprisingly, the concepts behind many designers’ collections revolve around the economic climate. However, instead of a clichéd exhibition utilising beggar’s clothing to make a comment on the tribulations of the proletariat, focus was placed on finishes and styling attributes that are cost-effective, both for the consumer and the fashion houses themselves.

Colour is a prime example; as it is a relative cheap technique that has always yielded results, many collections turned to use of vivid block colouring in both traditional and more futuristic contexts, such as Paul Smith’s classic pillarbox-red trenchcoat, or Louis Vuitton’s canary-yellow sweatshirt and rolled trouser ensemble.

It has been said throughout the fashion world that this season designers seemed to be in their element. John Galliano, never one to shy away from putting on a sartorial spectacle, did not disappoint, from his abandoned swimming-pool location in the Avenue de la Porte Molitor. Inspired by the life and travels of Napoleon Bonaparte, Galliano’s pieces featured distressed leather and opulent embroidery for an harmonic balance of wear-and-tear and haute couture, imbuing the collection with a real sense of timeless joie de vivre.

Much has been made about transparency; some journalists have even gone as far as to say that the presence of open-mesh and Aertex fabrics is symbolic of the public’s desire for openness and clarity from our politicians. Nevertheless, Calvin Klein, Hugo by Hugo Boss and Prada were all coyly displaying flesh beneath meshed sleeves and string vests.

Perceptions of masculinity were also challenged this season. In Paris, several pieces by the likes of Ann Demeulemeester and Maison Martin Margiela toyed with a more androgynous look by introducing distinctly feminine detailing such as flowers and sequinned chiffon cardigans. Meanwhile, in Milan, a traditionally masculine, utilitarian look was prevalent; boilersuits in Foreign Legion khaki at Gianfranco Ferre are an effective balance with the more effeminate styles of their Gallic peers.

All in all, this was truly a season of opposites; Dunhill’s English gentleman against Romain Kremer’s hyper-futurism, Gucci’s pure white Riviera chic versus Jean-Paul Gaultier’s overwhelmingly dark palettes – who said there was such a thing as too much choice?

Images

Clockwise from top-left; Paul Smith, John Galliano, Calvin Klein, Maison Martin Margiela, Romain Kremer, Dunhill, Gucci, Gianfranco Ferre. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.

James

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