I admire how Alexis Mabille presents his collections with such attitude and eagerness that he has become one of the Paris menswear highlights. It is fantastically playful as well as bursting with energy, a trait held by all of Mabille’s projects. I think the subtly tailored pieces juxtaposed the printed t-shirts and plaiding work well with the laced jodhpurs. I have long found Mabille to always present the unexpected and on second look this is another winning formula.
Having a slight personal connection to the house, I saw a couple of design details for some pieces early last year. The dogs head – featuring here on the Kanye x Jay Z H.A.M album cover – influence draws on the new age of ‘chav’ but with a couture twist, however I am not sure where they fit in this collection. Whilst this I think gives mixed messages about the direction for AW11, I picked Givenchy out for its sharp tailoring and the knee high sneakers. Packed with check’s and baseball jackets, I can see the Californian influence creeping in Euro-side.
Not picking Hermes is like not eating Fish and Chips on a visit to England. Whilst our national dish may seem unassuming on the outside, like the grey pallet of this collection, it packs a punch on eating, like the detailing in the individual pieces. Full of luxury and style, this offering takes influence from the working man imaged through the cold leathers and relaxed tailoring. But it is the accessories that have captured my heart – and wallet – this season such as the large scarf below and the designed Haute a Curroies. Well, I have been advised it is however the body seems to be a lot less ‘taller’ than a HAC. Answers on a postcard please as I would love to know your thoughts.
Jean Paul Gaultier
To think JPG was shaken and stirred for this AW11 collection as his inspiration for this offering was James Bond. Whilst the producers, MGM, went bust two years ago and the Bond film, until recently, shelved, JPG has revived that Dr. No experience. Quilting, gold detailing and sleek leather boots all accentuated a collection which was essentially sharp tailoring. But behind the eccentricity of this underwater collection, I think, is another genius and creative season for JPG.
The very classic vision for Lanvin this season was gentlemanly – very Humphrey Bogart – accentuated by oversized fedora’s and silky velvets. I think the voluminous offering is an energized directional move for the label – as well as screaming cool – whilst retaining the luxury we have known and loved. I think this is a very adventurous collection for Lanvin and the wide knit below is one of the pieces that will trickle down and influence the high street.
Philip Lim has fast become one of my favorite designers despite having the odd miss over the hits each season. This is Lim’s first showing in Paris and I hope he stays as this, I think, is his strongest collection yet. The interesting mix of colour pallets, such as the french mustard tinged with a slight orange and the grey marle marble makes this a great collection. However, I am not too sure about the cuffed trousers – OK in Topman but not on the catwalk.
I think this is the best collection from the Parisian menswear season due to its simplicity and chic aura. Its subtlty is down mainly to the inspiration; Amish. Vuitton are not known for their tailoring, nor demure designs within clothing or accessories, yet I think it works and I simply adore every piece. The splashes of orange add a little vigor into the offering, alongside some muted browns, yet the shoes are worth looking at in varied skins. One last thing, I am not too sure about the man clutch although I know Brad from The FYI Blog will be.
MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA
Dressing the average man – though I can not really see my Dad in Margiela – the label has gone quite muted in terms of design. Could Margiela really be dressing down and retiring into sensible outfitting? I have picked out MMM for the jackets this season as I think this is the strongest area for AW11. Last season the footwear – usually a strong point – felt quite weak, if not a little normal for their cost unlike past offering. The peacoat immediately below as well as the grey marle frock coat are, in my eyes, incredible. Whilst I love the sheerling coat with strapped detail, however, I feel it is a little tired for AW11 but we shall see what New York and London holds to gauge the trend. With continued rumors that Martin Margiela is more a changing team rather than one person, could a mystery figure have taken over the helm?
VICTOR AND ROLF
Time and time again, Victor and Rolf impress me with how they can create so much out of so little. The Parisian kings of minimalist, the monochrome offerings are complimented by some great detailing such as the contrasting lapels on the jacket below or the super slim lapels on the the vibrant red jacket – a rare burst of color. If I could wear this collection every day, then I think I wouldn’t need to shop again – until next season.
YVES SAINT LAURENT
Like Hermes, not featuring YSL for the Paris review is not done but not just out of common decency. I can see a lot of the 1960s in the collection combined with some interesting visual tricks that make this an interesting collection. True to form, the general look is slim and chic yet the wider lapels and unstructured sides add volume to this offering. Though the label often leads the way in formality – I have often thought of them as a beacon for menswear – it seems YSL has toned down the strictness and has successfully gone free reign with a stronger sense of identity.
All photos style.com