Jun 28, 2012
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Raf Simons shows leg at Paris menswear, before Dior debut

Jun 28, 2012

Raf Simons headlined day one of the Paris menswear shows on Wednesday, sending out an urbane, playful look that showed a lot of leg, days before his hotly-waited debut as the top designer at Dior.

Raf Simons spring-summer 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

All but a handful of the Belgian designer's looks were built around bermuda shorts cut high on the thigh, and slashed at one side, paired with clean white shirts and single-breasted jackets, black patent brogues or sneakers.

Boxy white tunics or art-print T-shirts added to the contemporary feel of the collection - at odds with the nostalgic, post-war inspiration behind many of the looks on the Milan catwalks last week and elsewhere in Paris on Wednesday.

Raf Simons spring-summer 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Coats came in flower-prints, ultralight raincoats in pink or orange, while suits were dove grey or navy, with splashes of emerald and violet, a handful of slim cigarette pants and wide-legged ones thrown in with the shorts.

Raf Simons spring-summer 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Simons' show was scheduled earlier than usual in the men's calendar to give him time to prepare for his debut haute couture collection at Dior on Monday - where he takes over from the disgraced John Galliano, ousted over a racist outburst in March last year.

Earlier Wednesday, Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies whisked its sharp suits with a twist from London to Paris.

The British firm, whose founder Sir Hardy Amies is best known for dressing Queen Elizabeth II up until his retirement in 1989, was making its debut at the Paris show, taking place hot on the heels of Milan.

House designer Claire Malcolm said the spark for the show was an anecdote involving Sir Hardy, who got into trouble while serving as a wartime Special Operations Executive in Europe for conducting a fashion shoot for Vogue.

She built the menswear look around the pre- and post-war periods, starting with double-breasted suits and pleated pants meant to evoke "the frivolity and glamour" of the 1920s and 1930s.

Then came a string of more serious-minded, uniform styles, cut from wool-twist silk in tones of khaki, sand and olive inspired by the aesthetic of World War II itself.

Hardy Amies spring-summer 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Followed more relaxed silhouettes - a nod to the rise of casual menswear after the war - such as tailored shorts, cut like in Simons' show at mid thigh, with little jackets, striped sweaters or, daringly, a bright pink polo shirt.

"I am not saying war is glamorous, rather I am interested in the idea of a man who finds himself in different circumstances," Malcolm explained.

Earlier the German designer Tillmann Lauterbach - who is also artistic director of menswear for the Chinese fashion label JNBY - showed a confident collection that also played on the idea of the uniform.

But compared to Hardy Amies's sharp edges here the look was free-flowing, with tapered pants, round-collared shirts and jackets in luxurious silks, linens and velvets in cream, black, navy or khaki with flashes of rust and turquoise.

The designer, who was raised on the party island of Ibiza, said the look was inspired by a trip Andy Warhol made to China in the 1980s, blending a New York post-punk aesthetic with the clean shapes and straight lines of Chinese dress.

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