ShortList's style director Adrian Clark reports back on the first day of the shows in the French capital
The pending triple-dip recession has influenced designers to consider the workplace as a new focus for their creativity. A challenging task as the boardroom has never really been known as an arena for exploring individuality and flare.
However, Guillaume Henry, designing for Carven showed that it could be done by simply juxtaposing an executive sartorial sensibility with a great outdoors influence. The innovative presentation was played out in a room set of filing cabinets and desks, to a soundtrack of French easy-listening punctuated by the electronic sounds of photocopy machines and manual typewriters. The collection itself included contemporary updates on the city boy suit, worn with slim trousers cropped to mid-calf, and was injected with retro ski-wear, such as a red mohair sweater or a hooded flannel parka with oversized collar.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collection for Valentino was a masterclass in scalpel-sharp tailoring and couture-influenced masculine elegance. A very British feel was adopted with references to Savile Row and neatly dressed 1960s English style icons, such as Michael Caine. It was all about the statement check suit, the cape as outerwear and luxury wool fabrics peppered with exotic furs as detail. Dark ink blue and raven green were the design duo’s new black and a state-of-the-art process that saw heat-bonded bands of leather slicing through traditional tailoring fabrics, which helped to install the message of luxury meets modernity.
The first day of Paris closed with a stellar collection presented by Raf Simons. Tank tops and polo neck knits in 1970s graphic patterns and shirts in bold pops of colour with spread-pointed collars were on show. Coats came belted and elegantly cut trousers that featured a cuff and that were two inches too long were draped at the back of the shoe, all of which harped back to the era when Ryan O’Neal planted his first kiss on Ali MacGraw in Love Story. While the references of 1970s youth culture were obvious, the result was modern and given a new subversive edge.
Valentino’s slick presentation called for a polished look that was one part preppy, one part film noir, with lustrous textured hair that had a natural but well groomed finish. To achieve this, try L’Oreal Paris Studio Line FX Architect Styling Wax £3.56 (RRP) for 75ml; stockists 0800-0304 032, which will add structure and shine with no greasiness or residue. To complement the high shine texture of the hair, keep the skin as matte as possible, we recommend using L’Oreal Paris Men Expert Pure & Matte Exfoliating Wash, £6.12 (RRP) for 150ml; stockists 0800-0304 032 which will lay the foundation to a lasting healthy looking and shine-free complexion.