"Thin is in" on final day of Paris menswear

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

PARIS (AP) — The last day of Paris menswear shows celebrated the young waif Sunday, with Saint Laurent and Lanvin channeling the motto: Thin is in.

Even rock star Lenny Kravitz was pushed back to a default second-row by skinny, near-adolescent groupies at Hedi Slimane's show.

Here are the highlights and show reports ending spring-summer 2015.


Wearing his customary shades, cooler-than-cool "Hunger Games" star Kravitz sat in pride of place at the center of Saint Laurent's front row.

Not for long.

Uber-young skinny groupies, selected by designer Slimane to set the tone for his boho show, entered last-minute all swilling beer and sat down Woodstock-style on the floor in front of all the A-listers. It was perhaps the first time a star like Kravitz had to sit behind someone at a catwalk show.

He didn't seem to care, rocking his head to the music by Mystic Braves. Maybe Kravitz was impressed by one of the '60s looks on a model with an afro hairstyle and leather waistcoat that channeled his idol, Jimmy Hendrix?


It was Tex-Mex meets West Coast at Slimane's latest show — with more than a little drop of hippy flower-power.

The mix somehow worked, producing a more coherent and stylish show than in previous seasons.

Fashion insiders are used to Slimane's now-signature shimmering Vegas statement jackets and sparkling disco tuxedos.

But here in Sunday's pulsating offering they joined striped Mexican ponchos and skinny matador pants embroidered down the side. That was the Mex.

The Tex came in looks that would not have been out of place on Clint Eastwood in "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," such as a beige shawl and tan suede cowboy boots.

As ever, the '60s and '70s infused the fashion vocabulary, with ubiquitous Woodstock-era styles — ethnic, hippy pendants swung on a naked torso with an embroidered waistcoat and neat black lapels.

There were some great looks, but — as ever — is getting a hippy, boho-look worth a multi-thousand dollar price tag?


Well and truly gone is the big hulking male model of yesteryear.

In its place is one Paris trend started two years ago by Slimane: Thin is in. The skinny near-adolescent model look, with the grouchy rebellious walk that now defines the French-Tunisian's aesthetic continued in Sunday's show, making "skinny" the final fashion statement, capped menswear spring-summer shows.

But there was another major house, Lanvin, who picked up the trend this season sending young, skinny models down the catwalk with a fine, slim silhouette.

Ironically enough, generous helpings of sugared brioche were served to fashionistas prior to the Left Bank Fine Arts School morning show. The often-misquoted Marie Antoinette quip as the legend has it that was said to spur on the French Revolution sprung to mind, as the wafer-thin clothes-horses filed by: "Let them eat brioche!"


Designer Lucas Ossendrijver has an eye for chic.

An enviable stone gray-color slim suede jacket with tassels cut a fine figure in the Lanvin display, with the sleeves rolled up and the collar worn vertical, '70s-style.

Diaphanous blue silken three-quarter coats elsewhere sported fantastic sheer black tulle paneling at the back.

But in style terms, the Lanvin collection — which started with the rock codes of the '60s and '70s, flirted with the high-waisted pants of the '50s, and ended up with a sporty, contemporary vibe — felt almost too exhaustive to be pinned down properly.

Also the models, the youngest and skinniest seen in a Lanvin show in recent memory, meant that the showed lacked some of the dark, sensuous virility that defined previous seasons.

Still, the materials, like shimmering viscose silk, and beautiful silken scarfs made sure this collection did not stray from Lanvin's gold-standard of luxury.


There's been lashing of Gallic stripes in this season's collections, and Frencher-than-French Agnes B. hit the trend, too, in her restrained but wearable spring-summer 2015 show.

The Breton stripe appeared on a top under a blue denim cotton jumpsuit, all over a black and white sweater with a rose detail, or in jazzy color-striped pants.

The collection switched into print-mode halfway through playing with flowery shirts and a nice pair of trousers came with a flower-themed paisley print.

It was a safe, if unadventurous, collection.


Like the hotchpotch of divergent pot plants placed littering the runway — from small student cactuses, mother-in-law pillows, to large palms, bluebells and yucca trees — Paul Smith's catwalk show threw in too many different styles, and suffered for it.

The British designer said he was inspired by the opening day of the Venice Biennale, the famed Italian cultural institution, where different artists and gallerists gather in a garden setting dressed smart-but-snazzily mixing traditional dress with "creative confidence."

This idea spawned some enviable single pieces, like a shimmering navy round-neck sweater or a loose navy tuxedo jacket with contrasting lapels.

But the collection felt a little too confident in its use of flamboyant color, checks and leaf prints and eclectic styles — like a stripy student T-shirt with leather fringing, tuxedo jacket, shorts twinned with sneakers with large cotton socks.

It would be great to see a more focused show next season from the popular fashion icon.


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