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Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Dior perfect menswear

THOMAS ADAMSON
The Associated Press
Modified: January 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013
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photo - A model presents a creation by British fashion designer Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton's fall-winter 2013/2014 men's fashion collection, presented in Paris, Thursday, Jan.17, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
A model presents a creation by British fashion designer Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton's fall-winter 2013/2014 men's fashion collection, presented in Paris, Thursday, Jan.17, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

PARIS — White was the color of Paris menswear fashion shows for fall-winter. But it was not in the clothes.

The last of five frenetic days of collections saw the City of Light turn into the city of frost, with snow blanketing the city white and reducing its grand buildings and monuments to the purest of forms and shapes.

It's perhaps appropriate that one of the final day's fashion shows, Lanvin, chose to explore shape.

In the week's major collections, Dior Homme continued the on-trend military style, looking forward with a futurist aesthetic that had a fair amount of mileage in other shows, too.

Large hats and trilbies cropped up at John Galliano and a classy show from Berluti; while the trend for pants was to be cut to expose the boot as seen in Carven and Juun J.

Designers this season, including Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, also dabbled in blowing up traditional patterns like madras, prince of wales check and houndstooth, adding an almost postmodern twist.

They were all styles thrown into the pot that made for an extremely dynamic fall-winter season.

LOUIS VUITTON

Could it be the recent death of Maurice Herzog, the first man to scale the 8,000-meter Annapurna, that inspired Louis Vuitton to climb the Himalayas for his winter menswear outing?

Or perhaps just a love of exotic, far-flung destinations for the house most famous for its luxury travel bags?

Whatever the reason, it worked — with designer Kim Jones turning out an effortless, luxury collection.

He came down to ground level, bringing with him with lashings of fur and the Asian region's snow leopard as a motif — naturally, alongside the bread-and-butter sharp suits.

But it was the snow leopard who stole the show — whether in needle punched jacquard on a light double breasted coat, or in collars, neckties and pocket squares, and even in one show-stopping laser cut mink coat — the sky-high feline kept popping up.

The final part included sumptuous floral prints in silk and cashmere on tuxedos and nightgowns.

It was a decadent line up to suit all.

VALENTINO

The Valentino fashion house explored new landscapes in its first menswear show in Paris, travelling first class to London's Saville Row via a dash of British punk rock.

It was a highly confident affair.

Indeed, Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli said their decision to move from the Italian menswear tradeshow Pitti Uomo to the more-publicized Paris catwalk reflected this new confidence in their men's aesthetic.

In just a few years, the design duo have stamped their own bold vision on the Roman house in? this year in a show that left behind the charming Italian toy boy in favor of more sober British elegance.

Plays on patterns featured highly wearable single-breasted suits that harked back to 1960s fashions.

Some of the looks could easily have been worn to a British country club.

But despite all this, there was a strong, rebellious undercurrent that Piccioli called a nod to Mick Jagger

"As a man, you know a suit, but you can have a different point of view," Piccioli said. This collection proved him right.

GIVENCHY

Gladiatorial combat is in the air for Givenchy's ever-creative Riccardo Tisci.

The Italian designer delved into his rich ancestry bringing back hundreds upon hundreds of candles which carved out an ominous catwalk arena.

Like Roman torches, they lit the way for the models who filed by in 48 mainly black-and-white looks.

The references were subtle but unmistakable: square breastplate-like photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe printed on T-shirts, sweaters and tank tops.

Winter bubble jackets, tied round the waist, fell in the shape of a legionary's skirt.

Then, leather shoes shined provocatively with a silver armor-band.

For several minutes, Ancient Rome did indeed come to Paris — albeit with a contemporary, even futuristic edge.

There was, however, a real sense of continuity with previous season's styles — in a long gray coat that lacked lapels, for instance, which evoked the ecclesiastical style of last season's show.

For fall-winter therefore, it was not revolution, but evolution, Roman-style.

DIOR HOMME

It was cosmic musing for Dior Homme's Kris Van Assche, who injected a space-age fiber into the house's DNA of fitted black suit, white shirt and black tie.

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