50 shows, 5 days

Fashion says “bonjour” to Paris menswear

A model wears a creation for Julien David's men Fall-Winter 2018/2019 fashion collection during a presentation in Paris, Wednesday, Jan.17, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — The travelling fashion press bid “ciao” to Milan and said “bonjour” to Paris on Wednesday — kicking off 50 fashion shows, endless parties, million-dollar business deals and the last leg of the menswear mania, which will sweep the French capital for five days.

Powerhouse Valentino will unveil its couture-infused fall-winter creations from designer Pierpaolo Piccioli on Day 1, alongside some lesser-known houses such as Julien David and Facetasm.

Here are the some highlights:

JULIEN DAVID’S

DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD

That fashion is a dog-eat-dog world was perhaps the message from French designer Julien David, whose models for fall-winter previews all donned comic canine masks.

The looks — featuring huskies, Dalmatians, poodles and bulldogs — endowed David’s 22 designs with a sense of surreal fun and relaxation. The models posed during Wednesday’s “show” sitting on chairs next to tables decorated with cards games and dominos, or slouched on a couch, as fashion insiders chuckled and snapped their cameras.

It was clever stage-managing by David, one of the rising stars in Paris menswear, to highlight his signature casual style. His clothes — baggy denims with turn-ups that revealed pulled-up wooly socks and white-laced sneakers — were just that.

Dungarees in deep indigo were worn over a utilitarian golden brown toggle sweater, and lined boots had big eyelets — riffs in Paris on the workmen styles that have been ubiquitous on the Milan runway shows.

CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE EVOKES A MASCULINE AIR

Wearable, fashion-forward and minimalist. That’s the successful mantra employed by former-Hermes designer Christophe Lemaire and it was used with aplomb for his stylish fall-winter show brimming with clean lines and loose silhouettes.

There were nods to the utilitarian trend with boots, buttons, big flat pockets and boxy workers’ jackets. And a strong masculine air was evoked, in this 40-piece collection, thanks to its autumnal color palette of smoke, slate gray, black, drab and golden brown.

Lemaire’s clever use of round shoulders and soft fabrics evoked comfort and ensured that the hardy elements of his designs were never overpowering. Sometimes they almost fused into the gentle mottled-paint decor.

A flash of white — in baggy pants — may well have reflected the fall sky’s occasional fluffy cloud.

FACETASM

DELIVERS

CONTRASTS

Facetasm took the on-trend worker style as its starting point for a fall-winter collection that was ultimately hard to pin down.

Japanese-style thick denim fabric was given a great scrunched-up effect in a round-shouldered bomber with oversize proportions and baggy jeans. It was twinned with a black hoodie, which had a raw street-wear vibe that resonated with the show’s warehouse venue and its wrought-iron columns.

The Tokyo-founded company has won plaudits for its conceptual styles with hints of punk — but Wednesday’s show sometimes lacked focus.

Oversized garments, one of the show’s major themes, were delivered with a dark palette that was cut with occasional bold colors — acid green, neon blue, lemon yellow or bright red. Several designs — like a big pale blue winter coat — riffed on the ’80s.

The name of the house was based on its founder Hiromichi Ochiai’s idea of the varying angular sides of a diamond — angles that seem contrasting that yet produce an inner harmony. Their show Wednesday was highly creative but could have done with less of the contrasts and more of the harmony.

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