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Miyake brews up coffee-steeped menswear collection

The French capital's menswear displays started with a caffeine rush today, as Japanese label Issey Miyake sent out a coffee-soaked autumn-winter 2010-2011 collection.

Miyake creative director Dai Fujiwara looked to Japan's coffee shops, drawing inspiration from their trademark gingham tablecloths, the baristas' casual chic and even the fluid dynamics of cream mingling with a piping hot cup of joe.

"After the crisis, I thought people needed a rest, a coffee break," Fujiwara told The Associated Press in a pre-show interview. Fujiwara, who begins his weekdays with a cup of English Breakfast tea, said he sees coffee as a languorous, weekend pleasure.

"You go down to the coffee shop in comfy clothes, with a newspaper," he said. One of the models, wearing a slouchy, bath-robe-inspired sweater with a rolled-up newspaper peeking out of the pocket, looked like Fujiwara's definition of a lazy Sunday morning.

Another channeled the barista's just-rolled-out-of-bed chic, wearing a neat black apron over wide cut trousers and a chunky grandpa sweater.

Other looks were more elaborate: Microfiber prints alive with swirling clouds in shades of gray and brown were based on the Miyake design team's experiments in fluid dynamics: Under the expert guidance of a Tokyo barista, the team filled molds shaped like dress shirts and trousers with liters- (gallons-) worth of steaming coffee, daubed it with foam and photographed its swirling surface.

"I like it when clothes tell a story," Fujiwara said ahead of the display, held in the label's central Paris showroom — which had been strewn with burlap bags of beans and a specially installed coffee bar. Shots of espresso, served up by harried baristas, got Paris' four-day-long menswear shows off to a punchy, caffeinated start.