Paris menswear shows end on manly note

Lanvin went for a more masculine look on the final day of the Paris spring-summer menswear shows on Sunday and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am made his runway debut for Rynshu.

With the sun blazing through the glass dome of the old Paris mercantile exchange, Lanvin delighted its fans with a deliberately wide-ranging collection from colourful suits to hooded jackets.

"We introduced fragility a few years ago when we started Lanvin menswear and I think this season it was time to be a little more masculine," said the venerable French label's menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver.

Standing out were the suits, in both single- and double-breasted versions, including one in polished leather and four others - impressively sent out one after another - in orange, blue, burgundy, purple and yellow shades.

Tailoring was scapel-sharp and shoulders padded just enough to subtly suggest an aura of manly strength.

"We propose options for different men, different body types, different ages," the Dutch-born designer, who works closely with Alber Ebaz, Lanvin's creative director, told reporters.

"It's really about individuality ... We really wanted to give strength back to men."

Noteworthy in several of Lanvin's outfits was the appearance of neckties - virtually unseen in any of the other 49 menswear shows that began on Wednesday - and footwear morphed from military boots to sandals.

Later on Sunday, Japanese designer Rynshu credited Rutger Hauer, a longtime customer, for inspiring a collection that drew from the Dutch actor's role as a chieftain in the 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner".

Neo-Goth jackets and vinyl trench coats were unlikely to make it to the sales rack in the one-armed versions seen on the grey-carpet runway, but the young and daring might try spaceman-silver suits with cigarette-slim trousers.

Closing the show in a collarless leather get-up was will.i.am (real name: William Adams), whose visit to Rynshu's boutique in Tokyo four months ago has blossomed into a creative relationship with the designer.

"We're going to collaborate on a couple of pieces in the near future," the rapper said backstage. "It was a pleasure to lend myself to his fashion show today because I'm a fan of his ... His clothes are like art. It's cool."

Rynshu threw a few women's looks into the mix, including skinny jeans with punkish slashes down the legs and a minimal chiffon dress perfect for the emo girl who'd rather wear black on her wedding day.

In a sartorial salute to the heyday of cabaret, New York designer Thom Browne - who relishes pushing the Ivy League preppy look to extremes - took over Maxim's nightclub for a characteristically spectacular show.

He had his models wander somnambulistically around the tables in exaggerated pinstripe suits, tassled trenchcoats and elongated coats that mirrored the lines of his womenswear collection.

Many sported teashade sunglasses, collapsed umbrellas, deerstalker hats with tassles down over the eyes, or miniature Charlie Chaplin bowlers. Everyone wore slicked-back hair.

Formal wear featured a tassled black jacket with red sash belt and sequined trousers that dazzled in the dim light, while a hooded grey leisure jacket was matched with a minimal kilt.

What's for sale in his stores is far more wearable, but his flare for the theatrical - last season he recreated a Mad Hatter's dinner party - makes Browne one of the most entertaining designers to show in Paris.

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