TRAFFIC CIRCLE
Antonio Marras just redefined “old school.” Even as other brands race to live stream their catwalk shows, the Italian designer transported guests at the Kenzo men’s wear show four decades into the past with his joyful homage to French fi lmmaker Jacques Tati. The choice of the retro date was no accident. Kenzo celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and Marras, who is fond of theatrical finales, wanted to kick off the year with something a bit special. So he engineered a traffic jam of honking vintage Citroën DS cars on the Place des Victoires, home to Kenzo’s Paris flagship, in homage to Tati’s 1971 movie Traffic. As Saturday-morning shoppers clustered under a light drizzle, models paraded around the center of the square before being whisked off by an old bus. “I’ll admit it wasn’t the easiest show to organize,” Marras confessed. Meanwhile, the designer’s art director, Paolo Bazzani, dealt with the challenge of sourcing 30 vintage cars and halting local traffic. “Until one week before the show, we didn’t know if the authorities would give us the green light,” he recalled. The final display, complete with ushers dressed as old-fashioned gendarmes, was full of nostalgic charm. Marras said the concept of a “happening” is in sync with the bohemian spirit of brand founder Kenzo Takada, who showed his first designs in a pedestrian passageway rather than a plush salon. “There is a lot of talk these days about streaming catwalk shows live on the Web, and the ‘opening’ this provides on the world of fashion, which, until now, has been very closed and elitist,” he noted. “I thought a catwalk show that spilled out onto the pavement—without anyone being told in advance—was an authentic way of reducing the distance between design and the street, and making fashion a part of people’s reality.”

ON FIRE
Not one to skimp on sets or spectacle, John Galliano’s models posed before a giant movie detective–style magnifying glass before hitting the runway. “John’s inspiration and [keywords] for me were Sherlock Holmes, Bunny Rogers, Thai kickboxers and opium den,” said show producer Alexandre de Betak, who pumped out steamy water mist for the kickboxer section before turning up the heat for the show’s dramatic finale. Announcing Galliano’s show bow, red pillars of fire shot up 12 feet through the metal grid runway, emitting volcanic blasts of heat to startled front-row dwellers—who probably would have liked to swap their shades for lab specs.

BECKS BOUNCES BACK

Soccer superstar and fashion clotheshorse David Beckham was quite the man-about- Milan. At midnight on the dot, he strode into Roberto Cavalli’s dinner, held after the designer’s Just Cavalli show. With a 4-0 victory for his AC Milan team under his belt, Beckham was clearly upbeat, but, rather than indulge in the chef’s seafood risotto, he spent time chatting with guests, hopping from table to table like the best of grooms at a wedding, and signing autographs on the restaurant’s napkins. The following evening at 10 Corso Como, Beckham, wearing a complete Adidas Originals by Originals outfit—a macintosh with lightweight waterproof Gore-Tex shell fabric and tweed suspender sweatpants made with Scottish Harris Tweed wool—presented spring styles and key fall looks of the collection created for the brand with streetwear designer James Bond. Beckham’s easy, approachable manner was not reflected by the organizers’ unnecessary scrutiny at the doors, which left a lot to be desired—and many out in the cold

FIRST TIME’S A CHARM

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren of Viktor & Rolf brought their conceptual and humorous men’s wear out of the showroom and onto a Paris runway for the first time. The debut was an orchestration of sophistication and youth, formality and sport, fun and restraint. “There will always be an element of irony, but maybe less than in the past,” said Horsting. “We want to balance it with the fact that we’re dressing a grown-up man. He’s us, really. Ultimately, we’re always dressing us and our desire to be both formal and sportive, never too much one way.” They pulled off a “Paint It Black” theme with an inky palette, black glitter, nifty painted effects and fetching shadow patterns. Singer Ben Hamilton, doing a live acoustic cover of the Rolling Stones’ ditty, heightened an intimate, gracious atmosphere and opened the Paris week on an electrifying note.



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