There has been such a concern in fashion this season: the world is crashing down all around us, what now? But if anyone has the ability to look forward to the future, it would be a brand like Dunhill. After all, this is a house that kept its doors open during the WWII bombing of London when Alfred Dunhill’s only option was to set up a desk in front of the rubble of his store. The recent hiring of Kim Jones as creative director shows that the label is unafraid to look ahead, even if the 28 year-old designer took inspiration from the house’s past looks. This season’s collection included a duffel coat with mammoth-tooth toggles, waterproof Mac’s with a London map lining and knits with clean Deco-like color blocking. They were old ideas made newly relevant again.
There was also a focus on the unorthodox (and meticulous) cut and construction of the garments, which was all Kim: the banded waist on a shirt essentially turned it into a short-sleeve Harrington, while a double-breasted blazer had a covered placket. And don’t forget those Dunhill leather goods: briefcases and portfolios with strong zippers and rounded corners that seemed to say, “Why so serious?”
Men’s ready-to-wear currently not available in Toronto.
Shown on January 25, Kris Van Assche’s (successor of the brilliant Hedi Slimane, Hedi revolutionized Dior Homme and the raison d’être for the current power Dior Homme holds on men’s fashion) image for this season’s collection was from angles. True to form, the collection itself was born out of geomatry class: where a waistcoat built from ridged black and white paillettes was shown, as did triangular cutouts in jackets. Judging by skinny jeans being paired up with oversize tees with large-lettered messages, the white and black palette and Malcolm McLaren’s remix of his dance hit “Deep in Vogue” as the soundtrack for the show, there was a sense of the 80’s being revitalized within the different pieces. As in all the Dior Homme shows, their cult-followed skiny black suits were presented in different variations. MC Hammer would have been pleased to see that Van Assche utilized his multi-pleated Hammer pants, Van Assche-style of course! However he eased up on the volume a little and folded the waistband to create a kind of cummerbund. This perhaps might be Kris Van Assche’s last collection for Dior Homme as there is probably going to be an announcement in the future from LVMH that he is being replaced with Paris-based Gareth Pugh. We shall see what the future holds for Dior Homme.
Currently not available in Toronto. http://www.diorhomme.com/
January 25 saw Lanvin’s most impressive men’s collection to date as Lucas Ossendrijver and his mentor Alber Elbaz working the crowd before the show began. There was a pragmatic new mood at Lanvin this season where the challenge to balance both being real and radical was presented to both men. While it retained the sneakers-with-tux edge that has been their influential signature, the season’s offering put on hold the floppy bow-tie decadence and sexual ambiguity in favour of a more direct take on the 21 century male. There was, for instance, a distinct military feel to the beginning, with an army green double-breasted coat and trousers tucked into laced-up boots (the much-imitated two-tone sneakers were nowhere in sight). Sober, not somber was the way reality was addressed. The palette was toned down, the monochrome alternative utilized in full force. Often in the same piece, fabrics were the Lanvin trademark blend of traditional luxe and technological mix. The use of contradiction meant a suit laser-cut from jersey, or trousers with the ease of track pants. Ossendrijver had defined “the mix of tailoring and jogging” as one key look to the collection. And to fully understand where the heart of this collection lies, a waving and smiling Barack Obama stand-in led the final walkout.
Available at Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor Street West, (416) 922-2333.
The inspiration for Paul Smith’s latest collection was right on his invitation. It was a photo of what could have been a tearoom on the English coast. Same went for the equally English-looking images he used as a backdrop. The idea of “cool Britannia”, which has been the quintessence of Sir Paul’s international success, ruled the show. As usual, he dipped into his own past. The opening group of gray suits was accessorized with fluoro cycling shirts. And the frock coats paired with multi-buttoned waistcoats had an Edwardian flair that connected to the sartorial snappiness of the mods, who were an early influence in style for Smith. In fact, “sartorial” says it all. The collection emphasized tailoring (and there were ties with everything). He then mixed up different tartans in the same outfit, or combined city and country by showing jackets in a hearty twill. The lining of a brown corduroy jacket popped with hunting red. After the show, he pointed out the current climate by emphasizing the importance of accessories in the collection. Sure enough, the shoes were standouts: particularly a pair of dusty pink Chelsea boots.
Available at Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor Street, (416) 922-2333 & Nicolas Men, 153 Cumberland Street, (416) 966-2064.