Paris Fashion Week Recap, Part I
As the seriously style-minded switch their focus from Milan to Paris, the first day of menswear collections showed that even the haughty world of fashion can have a giggle.
Comedians Seth Meyers and Colin Jost, dressed head-to-toe in Valentino, punctured the stiff-upper-lip in the first of five days of back to back shows with humor, as powerful editors scrambled around to see who had the better seat position.
Meanwhile, some demonstrators certainly didn’t see a funny side to fashion week - protesting the "Just Cavalli" scent logo for ripping off an ancient religious symbol.
Here are the highlights from the day of spring-summer 2015 shows including show reports from Valentino, Raf Simons and Carven.
Is Valentino loosening up?
This season’s show, inspired by "outsiders and freethinkers," saw designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli try to break out of their couture-conscious - sometimes stiff - mold.
Along the pared-down catwalk of wooden planks, 52-looks in myriad styles were showcased - including silken baggy pajamas pants, psychedelic flower prints, 60s-style ethnic suede jackets and even a dressed-up 4-piece suit littered with retro prints of a comic book.
The strongest looks came from the simplest ideas: a fitted satin burgundy and gray suit that shimmered rock ’n’ roll, or a luxuriant caramel 4-piece suit that was beautifully free-flowing.
Though the loosening of gear is welcome, details such as rather odd butterfly appliques and the repetitive use of camouflage made it feel sometimes like Chiuri and Piccioli were still finding their menswear voice.
The soundtrack, a version of "A Walk on the Wild Side" delivered with distinctly un-wild pan pipes, summed up the collection quite nicely: we’re wild but conservative at heart.
MEYERS LAUGHS AT FASHION
Though Meyers cut a fine style with a fitted navy blue silk and wool Valentino suit to the heritage house’s spring-summer 2015 show, he still felt a little nervous.
"I’m a comedian in the world of fashion... I don’t know if I have any street cred, but I hope I’m blending in," he said with a twinkle in his eye.
The 40-year-old, who found fame as Saturday Night Live’s head writer and has, since February, hosted NBC’s "Late Night with Seth Meyers," said that he doesn’t single out the fashion world for mockery - but poking fun at this industry was like "shooting fish in the barrel."
Meyers saved his best innuendo for his SNL successor Jost who hovered behind him in a funky blue denim Valentino suit.
"(I watch his show) like a deposed king watches the younger person who took his throne. Oh, so angry," he added, smiling.
RAF SIMONS GOES JAPANESE
Raf Simons looked East for spring-summer with yet another strong and inventive menswear collection, mixing contrasting street styles with Japanese vestimentary codes.
Models with wispy Asiatic fringes and brightly colored sneakers sported long jackets in sanitized white, navy and black with shawl-collar lapels that borrowed from the traditional kimono.
The Belgian designer’s penchant for contradictions was on full display. Sporty vests appeared with the delicate patterns of 19th Japanese woodcut. Elsewhere, singlets with swirling waves conjured up associations with the famed Japanese old-master painter Hokusai.
As the collection advanced, buttons at the waist nodded to Japanese belted fastenings, while a couple of models had skin-tight sweaters whose patterned sleeves made the models look like they had Japanese-style tattoos.
There’s always a coherence and progression in Simons’ shows, from beginning to end.
PROTESTORS SAYS ROBERTO CAVALLI LOGO COPIES RELIGIOUS SYMBOL
Paris fashion week always has its fair share of politics.
This season, it was Roberto Cavalli who was in the line of fire, with Wednesday seeing dozens of campaigners in support of the Sufi branch of Islam protesting outside the Italian designer’s Paris boutique in opposition to his "Just Cavalli" scent logo.
The stink, according to the placard-holding protesters from the Sufi community, is that the Cavalli design - a graphic of 2 C’s joined together with spiky edges - is a rotated version of an ancient Sufi symbol for peace, purity and the name of god and that it destroys the sanctity of their symbol.
The Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi group says it holds the copyright for the logo and has registered a cancellation action against the Cavalli design with European and U.S. trademark offices.
Cavalli reject the claims and says their symbol is "clearly very different."
Carven’s acclaimed designer Guillaume Henry trod the line between proletariat and classical chic for spring-summer.
Road-worker bands were reimagined as sanitized on optical lumber-jack check shirts cut with the clean minimalism which the French designer has used to revitalize the 70-year-old house.
Contrasting sporty bands featured horizontally on buttoned-up office-shirts or paneled sweaters, while working-class-style zipper turtle-necks and ruffled elastic bands broke up the classicism of an airy gray suit. (Henry said he was inspired by the theme of classical versus industrialization in filmmaker Ken Loach’s works.)
There was the odd flash of orange or purple, breaking up the mute palette - but restrained and light was the name of the game.
American pop star Joe Jonas added a small splash of excitement to the show, with the 24-year-old former Disney star turning up at the last minute in a trendy Carven sweatshirt reading "Eye Hope 2 C U."