“Confusion” and age-old drama reigned in the styles of Rick Owens’ spring/summer ode to the Tower of Babel.

Set outside against the art deco columns of Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, American designer’s collection show at Paris Men’s Fashion Week featured machines spitting mood-setting smoke out across the constructed geometric stage.

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The accomplished designs themselves followed this architectural theme.

Criss-cross patterns – as seen in a torn vest silhouette or in a graphic print – were ubiquitous on looks that often capped gargantuan, 1990s-era black trousers.

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Much like the Biblical tower that Owens used as a touchstone for the 40 looks, the weight of the silhouette seemed visually to carry down from the torso to solid legs.

The trousers, which were sometimes adorned with studs or imagined in geometric panels, were highly artistic in their play on proportion.

Three-dimensional tent structures adorning torsos added an eccentric edge, as did billowing white coats in multiple layers that carried an ecclesiastical-meets-sci-fi air.

The art of the invitation

The age of email does not seem to have left a mark on the fashion industry’s antiquated system for extending invitations.

Season after season, petrol-guzzling couriers criss-cross Paris to hand-deliver elaborate invitations to fashion insiders.

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Top houses vie to see which will come up the funniest or most imaginative one.

The invitation to Rick Owens’ menswear show on Thursday arrived in the shape of a black cotton mouth mask that fastened around the ears.

The Yoshiokubo label sent out an invitation to its “Bank Robbery” show that was fashioned as a thick wad of pretend US$500,000 notes.

Issey Miyake’s sunlight-inspired summer designs

Loose summer vibes were in the breeze at the open-air Issey Miyake presentation.

Flowing silhouettes of cotton jersey – hybrids between T-shirts and shirts – led the eye to baggy printed trousers inspired by sunlight.

The sun theme continued in woven jackets. The zigzag patterns that evoked summer rays were made using a computerised jacquard fabric.

It was a reminder why Issey Miyake is known as the house of techno-fabrics.

Some jackets looked businesslike or preppy – a fitting reference for the show’s venue, Paris’ Sorbonne

University.

“The boundaries between work, leisure, privacy have become blurred. One can work everywhere. A park, a cafe, a library or at home,” the show notes said.

This fact was certainly not lost on the myriad fashion writers, bunched up after the show with coffees, working to meet deadlines.

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