Jan 19, 2012
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East meets West with Vuitton, Miyake menswear shows

Jan 19, 2012

PARIS - East met West at the Paris menswear shows Thursday as Louis Vuitton sent out a kimono-inspired look and Japanese house Issey Miyake showed an upbeat autumn-winter line full of curvy tartans and checks.

Louis Vuitton - AW 2012-13 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Citing a "dialogue between the great cities of Paris and Tokyo" as his keynote, Vuitton's British menswear designer Kim Jones paired classic European suits with Japanese-style silk kimono shirts in grey, green, tan or navy.

Swinging large leather travel totes, in close-fitting suits that also ran from grey to navy and camel, Vuitton's models cut a refined, gentlemanly silhouette, striding the catwalk in the giant greenhouse of a Paris park.

Grey felt berets, worn with a tan nubuck crocodile blouson jacket and chalk stripe grey pants, or a baby camel knit sweater with khaki military pants, were meant to evoke the spirit of Paris circa 1970, Jones said.

Later, there were whole suits cut from the finest kimono silk, in charcoal or navy, matched with the exquisite accessories typical of the French luxury house, like metal-tipped nubuck lizard derby shoes, or a crocodile portfolio.

After waxed cotton hunting jackets or a fur-trimmed navy puffer coat, Japan's influence was felt again in thick, roomy wool coats wrapped and tied around the body, with a zig-zag pattern and "LV" monograms, and shawl wrap at the neck.

Louis Vuitton - AW 2012-13 / Photo: Pixel Formula

At Issey Miyake, the autumn look was all about destructured tartans and checks, in warm reds and blues, matched with the house's trademark fine pleats, in tan or navy or cream.

Miyake's collective of menswear designers created check coats, jackets and pants -- and a huge red military-style cape -- from layers of wool gauze, fed by hand into a punching machine to pull the squares into a curvy pattern.

Wide-legged pleated desert pants stopped at mid-calf or just above the ankle, over leather lace-up trainers, paired with bright-coloured ribbed jersey tops.

A boilersuit in pleated navy was belted at the waist, with a lime roll-neck peeping out at the top and mustard socks at the ankle, offset by the black model's skin.

Issey Miyake - AW 2012-13 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Earlier, the New Yorker Phillip Lim sent out a sleek, sporty urban vestiaire for autumn-winter where graphic prints met smooth suiting fabrics in cream and black, turquoise or violet.

Asymmetric jackets were fitted at one side, with the other half as if wrapped around the neck, sleeve and all, in a trompe l'oeil effect.

Moto jackets and high waists lent a 1960s feel to the Cambodian-American's collection, while a digitised houndstooth print in camouflage colours adorned a pullover, combat boots or a computer folio case clutched under one arm.

A biker spirit also ran through the collection of the American designer Rick Owens -- but in an altogether darker register, with industrial techno setting the pounding pace for the show.

All in black, grey and white save for flashes of turquoise, Owens' look played around with the male silhouette, bulking out shoulders and raising the waistline of pants whose crotch was tugged down to mid-thigh.

Cropped biker jackets rose with a shawl effect at the neck, while others in suede had graphic T-shaped lines on the back and arms, breaking the run of mostly monochrome pieces.

Long overcoats came in waxy black leather, or thick tweedy wool and there were a dozen giant-shouldered black puffer-style jackets, coats and bodywarmers.

Owens' recent invention -- the "four-piece suit" with a floor-length apron or skirt laid between the pants and jacket -- also made several new appearances.

The models stomped down the catwalk in footwear midway between Converse-style trainers and biker boots, in rubbery-looking black or white, flapped open as if the laces were missing, and buckled high on the ankle.by Emma Charlton

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