PARIS: Stars turned out in throngs for Saint Laurent’s menswear show, the highlight of the last day of fall-winter 2014 Paris shows that included Lanvin, Paul Smith and Thom Browne. Here are some key moments and tidbits from the finish line of the colorful menswear season.
INVOKES LEGACY OF
YVES SAINT LAURENT
Salma Hayek turned up at the very last minute for the Saint Laurent Paris show, attracting attention because she was dressed head to toe in men’s clothes.
But the “Frida” star, who wore an androgynous dark “smoking” jacket, white shirt and menswear tie from a previous Saint Laurent menswear show, pulled the bold look off with style. She twinned it with a demure beehive.
Hayek was clearly invoking the legacy of the late, great Yves Saint Laurent, who broke the mold as one of the first designers to blur the lines between men and women’s dressing with “Le Smoking.” Today’s designer Hedi Slimane, too, has continued the house’s androgynous spirit and put men’s codes in his women’s creations.
Hayek was accompanied at the show by her husband and CEO of Kering, Saint Laurent’s owner, Francois-Henri Pinault.
Eighty-six-year-old French music icon Juliette Greco also watched Slimane’s meanswear show from the front row wearing a big, black vintage YSL hat.
LAS VEGAS MEETS
With the blinding lights of a Las Vegas casino, Slimane once again went back in time to the Rockabilly early-1960s.
Python shirts, pencil ties, black skinny jeans and a pale pink shimmering tuxedo were worn by slouching models.
They stomped about the catwalk clumsily with shades and metallic tassels from jackets that glittered in the bright Vegas lights.
It gave off a nice air of disco sleaze, at times.
But Slimane also gave a nod to London with his now-familiar retro wardrobe. Check scarves and drape coats seeming to echo a sort of East End gangster, or a Teddy boy.
He stylishly hit this season’s big trend for large footwear, with his brothel creepers and black platform shoes with leather buckles.
Though this collection packed no surprises and similar styles have been seen in his previous shows, Slimane’s rebellious vision is becoming more focused and has already influenced other Paris fashion houses in powerful ways.
Lanvin gave the rebellious punk boy of the street an injection of high-street luxury.
Punk hairstyles, skinny ties, long thin 1970s scarfs, bold prints and retro cyclamen pink blurred down the catwalk.
But Lanvin is about pure luxury: This rebel looked like he’d won the lottery and gone on a shopping spree, sporting shimmering, couture fabrics and jackets and pants with finessed tailoring.
Like Saint Laurent’s Slimane, who’s sought to rebel against established high fashion, Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver here are also showing that street and couture can make a neat mix. And, like Saint Laurent, Lanvin’s silhouettes are getting skinnier.
Accessories were the name of the game here, with belts in metallic tassels, shoes and sneakers in cobalt blue, faridian green and burgundy, and neckties in pale blue and shocking pink.
It was as if Elbaz were saying: “Le street, c’est chic.”
WITHOUT THE FUR
There have been lashings on fur in Paris this season. And even a gorilla coat.
But some designers chose to deal with the latest menswear trend with a wink and a nudge.
Designer Thom Browne recreated a Tim Burton-like forest, with black deer and foxes frozen underneath nightmarish, sinewy trees.
Finely tailored gray suits with frayed edges were sported on the models wearing wiry elephant masks, checked caps with antlers, and a hat with a rabbit’s ears, eyes and whiskers.
Real fur was nowhere to be seen.
The middle of the show took a surprising turn for the surreal, featuring gargantuan black-and-white clown-like outfits that looked fit for the circus.
But Browne, who rose to prominence after dressing first lady Michelle Obama at the second swearing in ceremony of U.S. President Barrack Obama, is so famous now he can probably afford to take some risks.
Another show to use the animal imagery, but with no fur, was from British designer Paul Smith.
Pink flamingos, elephants, zebras, leopards and monkeys cropped up as embroideries on sweaters and coats with a Persian feel in a beautiful show with rich earthy pinks.