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Continued: Summer menswear in Paris a relaxed affair, brings catwalk back to people

  • Article by: THOMAS ADAMSON , AP Fashion Writer
  • Last update: June 30, 2013 - 6:20 PM

The mood of the show was tribal-meets-machine, with electronic circuitry prints appearing alongside loincloth shapes, leggings, printed Aztec-like neck adornments, sandals and even primal face paints.

It takes a designer as bold as Italy-born Tisci to pull off something this wacky and anachronistic. The 57 looks evoked, through their sheer number, as well as through the tensions created by diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines on multiple-layered ensembles in blue, red and gray, the feeling of a jostling army. Red disk motifs, a reference to both the modern computer and a primitive symbol, recurred on knee-length apron skirts as well as long and short-sleeved vests.

But what truly made the show a coup was that among all this intellectual musing, most of the looks were completely wearable.

HERMES

Hermes delivered what it called a "bohemian soul" collection, nestled among historic stone colonnades on Paris' arty Left Bank.

Never one to follow trends, menswear designer Veronique Nichanian follows her own nose and delivered yet another strong collection that was distinctly her own.

Luxurious materials, such as metis lambskin, printed silks and extra-fine cashmere, came alongside ensembles matched with a real eye for style.

Sandals, open shirts with tromp l'oeil prints, drawstring trousers, loose jackets and a one-piece gray jumpsuit all came together to give this collection a distinctly relaxed feel. It was perhaps helped by the insouciant swagger of several models who seemed to stroll rather than strut, with a hand casually placed in their pocket.

But the real soul of Hermes menswear is the colors. Cool pale blue and deep ocean blue, silvery steel and nickel gray - set against emeralds, whites and burnt siennas. One color the program notes call "cloud" just goes to show the mood the house is trying to evoke.

DIOR HOMME

Dior Homme's designer Kris Van Assche is a self-confessed minimalist.

It sits quite nicely, therefore the minimalist, neat and geometric shapes of modernist painters such as Piet Mondrian were his chosen motifs.

In highly wearable tones of burgundy and a rich mid blue, Van Assche set about painting on refined Dior suit canvasses a patchwork of squares and rectangles in tonal shades of the signature colors.

The disco-cube staging - a labyrinth of rectangular mirrors - reflected the myriad quadrilaterals and produced a wonderful spectacle when the 49 looks with squarely-cut torsos filed back for the finale recap.

The concept produced some great looks, such as a series of smooth sweaters with tapered arms. But elsewhere, where the square shapes were out of kilter with the proportions of the clothes, it worked less well.

The other nice play in the show was the juxtaposition of the office and the beach. But the best part of the collection was to be found due south: Sheeny, upper class Oxford shoes, subverted by a great metal sporty suspension spring. Could they be the latest urban trend for fashionistas who have no time to change for the gym after work?

VALENTINO

"True style has no rules," designer Maria Grazia Chiuri said of the collection - only the second menswear outing in Paris for the storied Italian house.

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