Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
Dries Van Noten: Mr. Dries Van Noten changed the venue of his show from last season’s sumptuous space at the Musée Bourdelle to an industrial loft, shifting the focus of the collection from a refined and tailored wardrobe to things that are inherently sporty and urban. But he did so without abandoning this fall’s elegant suits and coats, like the Bordeaux wine silk suit worn with an untucked white shirt.
The collection contrasted technology with tradition and sportswear with sartorial construction: this meant a mix of waterproof parkas and silk leggings. There was a yellow parka with the thinness of transparent nylon fabric, a navy hooded long coat worn with tropical wool pants and a tan linen jacket with black nylon stitching. A bonding technique was employed on the outside of parkas and trims of jackets, reinforcing the outlines of the rigid cutting patterns.
The long navy trench belted at the waist, the tan-charcoal-brown striped coats, and the transparent yellow raincoat are sure to be best sellers come spring.
Despite the heavy technical work involved in crafting each outfit, the show was light and airy.
Jean Paul Gaultier: In recent years, there have been debates among designers regarding whether or not a fashion show is the only way to present a new collection. While there are no clear answers, there are no real alternatives to staging a live show. This season Jean Paul Gautlier opted for a hybrid showing---a combination of a look-book photo shoot and a casual buyer’s type of walk through with each model’s outfit announced on the PA system complete with all the details: fabric types; color numbers.
The designers headquarters were temporarily converted into a showroom with order sheets and fabrics cards on the table. There was no theme that binded the outfits shown into a cohesive collection. Look 1 was a Hawaiian post-card print cotton baseball jacket, shirt and pants, Look 7 was a blue one-button, single-breasted pinstripe vest and pants in navy. Look 12 was a transparent trench coat in fabric 151 and a pair of jeans in fabric 02. This mini-show did not have any of Mr. Gaultier’s signature tailored suits or trenches which are the staples of his business.
I hope next season Mr. Gaultier would go back to his runway show format where his touches of humor often enliven the superbly cut clothes.
Adam Kimmel: “I think surfers are always cooler than the clothes they tend to wear. I wanted to make something that captures the spirit without the look,” said designer Adam Kimmel of his first runway show after several seasons of staged presentations. A video of twisting waves signaled the start of a collection of black and olive reversible jackets, bomber jackets with detachable collars, and mesh knit sweaters with neoprene elbow pads. To make the garments look and feel authentically lived-in, Mr. Kimmel lightly washed the fabrics.
Outstanding was a black cotton/silk/linen single-breasted shorts suit worn with a black and white striped cotton shirt , as well as a black single-breasted pantsuit. Both are signatures of Mr. Kimmel detailed clothing.
The casting was extraordinary, comprising models and "regular" guys: balding guys with moustaches, dreadlocks guys, long hair guys--the very men that buy Mr. Kimmel’s well tailored and non flashy clothes.
Ann Demeulemeester: The seemingly old photograph of a white cotton shirt hanging on the handle of a window that Ann Demeulemeester used for her fold-out show invitation gave a clue to to the runway's components.
Showed at the Couvent des Cordeliers, the nostalgic collection was based around the knee length sheer tunic and the black chechia head cap.
The show opened with a khaki cropped jacket and capri pants, with a sheer black tunic enveloped by a black long silk scarf, and continued with a sleeveless cropped jacket and roll-up black cotton pants–-the sartorial vestiges of a North African nomad traveler. I loved the black sleeveless cropped jacket attached with a black bouquet of nylon flowers and worn with the sheer long tunic with jet bead embroidery.
Juun.J: Deviation, the theme of Juun.J’s spring collection, denotes a deviation of lines and planes as expressed in breaking the typical frame of a garment by intentionally distorting and modifying the traditional patterns.
That meant a white single-breasted jacket had a lapel sliced at the middle to form a second folded lapel, a khaki cotton trench coat with the lapels diced into three layers, an ecru bomber jacket with two sided zippers, and a khaki jacket with part of the curved bottom of the jacket cut-out and re-stitched. The effect was most dramatic on a charcoal and light gray single-breasted jacket with truncated patchwork of trompe d’oeil lapels.
One great look was the black sleeveless double-breasted hotpants suit. I didn’t mind the white double-breasted hotpants suit worn with those gold metallic bracelets, or for that matter the printed pantsuit. The classic trench, which Juun.J remasters every season, has now been transformed into a sleeveless side closure khaki trench with black cotton linear patches on the shoulder, the lapel and the sides.
I was surprised by several of the super-sized looks like a large shoulder white coat or a black double-breasted coat with pagoda shoulder bolero. They seemed out of place and probably belong in another collection instead of in this otherwise tightly thought out show.
**Photos by Imaxtree.