Patterns and prints dominate autumn menswear collections in Paris
Peruvian stripes at Louis Vuitton, polka dots at Dior and golden diamonds from Issey Miyake proved patterns are in for autumn 2014, writes Filoftea Dinu
Sartorial elegance can get boring after a while. It's always about finding the perfect way to match a classic tuxedo with pleated pants, without forgetting a neat, well ironed shirt - tucked in, please - a statement tie, and a pair of polished Oxford shoes.
No wonder a man's wardrobe needs some exciting surface play to break with the status quo.
In fact, the autumn 2014 menswear season in Paris last week was dedicated to the dapper and dandy, who are tired of the usual chic and preppy looks, and eager to spice up their wardrobe.
Both Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme pulled off a subtle game of prints and patterns. The former's style director Kim Jones travelled to South America for his menswear show, and was inspired by the local styles of Brazil, Argentina and Peru.
He added a Latin touch to his otherwise sober menswear collection.
His focus? Double-faced cashmere overcoats, tuxedos and jackets, sported easily over the shoulder, and long woollen blanket-scarves that fused with his silhouettes for a nonchalant attitude.
The fit was focused on the shoulders, with a strong, yet rounded shape giving a clean and slim outline.
A particular highlight was the Peruvian-inspired needle-punch horizontal stripes on the long scarves.
At Dior Homme, meanwhile, Kris Van Assche revealed the soft side of his usually psycho-rigid man.
His men's suits were as classic as can be, impeccably cut and perfectly fitted. But the designer was also out to shock.
You thought the Dior man looked like James Bond? Well, let's put some dots on it - it just looks so much cuter.
In fact, all those who thought polka dots were a no-go in a man's wardrobe were proven wrong by Van Assche.
When it came to quirky prints, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto's looks were distinctive in showcasing a bold take on patterns. They perhaps pushed their pattern-play a bit too far, mingling too many prints and overloading the looks.
Nevertheless, Miyake's Jackson Pollock-like drop-painting, resembling prints on men's suits, was particularly notable, while Yamamoto's golden diamond prints on a washed-out blue men's suit had a nostalgic charm.
And then, beyond the surface, there was the tailoring itself, which was well executed. It was soft, almost fluid, free from rigid cuts and boxy fits, smoothly adapted to the men's silhouette - Haider Ackermann being the best example of this. He opted for a serene presentation. And just like last season, his menswear was all about the typical Ackermann attitude - wild at heart but still sophisticated.
His models walked nonchalantly around mirror installations, sporting long woollen topcoats on their shoulders, with flowing scarves and unbuttoned vests. Occasionally they paused to strike a contemplative pose.
The patterns came along as softly as the cuts; Ackermann added some subtle herringbone, stripes and diamond motives.
Finally, there was an artistic collaboration between Belgian designer Raf Simons and American artist Sterling Ruby.
There was an eerie feeling at the show, which didn't stop until the designer and the artist appeared on the catwalk for the finale.
Both share a penchant for punk and new wave. Here, Ruby's eye-catching geometrical strips of fabrics and knitted patches were applied deftly to Simons' clean-cut men's silhouettes.
Through their collaboration, designer and artist found themselves at one mutual point: their passion for fashion.