Couturiers showing no signs of fatigue in menswear finale

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Valentino's military theme and Haider Ackerman's opulence hit the Paris catwalks

Paris

The fashion circus has shifted once again, from Milan to Paris and the final round of the spring/summer 2014 menswear shows. It feels appropriate for the house of Valentino to open proceedings, not because they bridge the two nations – although as Italians who show in Paris they're a neat fusion – but because they epitomise a certain shift in aesthetic. There's a touch of couture to what they do, for men as well as women.

For next season, the Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli referenced "the subversive rigour of the uniform". That meant fatigue styles of navy denim, khaki and olive-drab cottons, and camouflage paradoxically designed to get you noticed. It wasn't especially subversive, but it was desirable, if a touch derivative at times. That was, oddly, part of its charm: the way Chiuri and Piccioli managed to synthesise elements that cropped up in other collections – like the flat-folded envelope bags banded in fluoro, contrast banded strips on suiting and Milan's prevalent palette of indigo – and twist them into something that looked fresh. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, like the matching his 'n' hers navy tuxes the duo took their bows in.

His 'n' hers is an idea Haider Ackermann always takes to heart – when he showed his first looks for men as a one-off in Florence in 2011, they trod out in peacock-feather embroidered slippers draped in brocaded kimonos.

In his first menswear presentation on the Paris schedule, Ackermann stuck close to his well-established modus operandi, satin obi-folded around the hip, dandyish fringed scarves and silk jacquards in Renaissance tones. Those colours – amethyst, chartreuse and a cloudy tourmaline – were the standouts, especially in a menswear season where boys wear little other than blue, although Ackermann nailed that with a succulent sapphire kimono-coat. The criticism? Squint your eyes and any of Ackermann's models could have been Tilda Swinton, an ardent Ackermann fan. Blurring genders is fine, but you hoped, from a talent like his, for a menswear aesthetic more clearly defined.

There are few menswear aesthetics as clearly defined as Raf Simons', who now shows his menswear on the first day of Paris to create the greatest distance between this presentation and his haute couture for Christian Dior, to be unveiled on Monday.

Simons' collection was relentlessly young, torsos elongated above spindly legs in the briefest of shorts, oversized multicoloured trainers an echo of the pumping dance anthems roaring out. The graphic designer Peter Saville, a Simons collaborator in the front row, would recognise the excitement of the Nineties' Hacienda days leaping from oversized shirts emblazoned with almost-nonsensical statements.

That all sounds brave and different from the rest of the season's menswear. It is. There was a striking sense of the exciting and new here, something exhilarating that will push fashion forward. Nothing old, or borrowed, or blue.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

    £32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

    Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

    £25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones