Y-3, the collaboration between Adidas and Yohji Yamamoto, took inspiration for its show from the 2010 World Cup. The clothes, which boasted patriotic insignias and colors, were not inspired by team uniforms, but by the fans, Yamamoto said backstage. So it was only fitting the most unforgettable player of the last World Cup, France’s Zinedine Zidane, took part. At the end of the show, a net dropped down and six of the female models took feeble shots on goal before Zidane, joined by Yohji Yamamoto, showed them all how it’s done. Applause! Backstage, the retired player said he had no plans to get involved in soccer again. Asked to predict the next World Cup winner, he gave the safest possible answer: “Je ne sais pas.”


Just as fans staged a massive moonwalk on the Champs de Mars in Paris on June 26, so, too, did designers pay their respects to Michael Jackson after the music icon died. Paul Smith and his models boogied down the runway to “Thriller.” Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, meanwhile, said his dapper-rapper styles paid tribute to Jackson with metal-festooned shirts in shimmering gold and cropped tuxedo jackets. In New York, the soundtrack for the Y-3 show was national anthems and Jackson songs, a credit to their global appeal. Back in Paris, celebrities at the shows also were visibly distraught at the news of Jackson’s death on June 25. “It’s a great loss. I’ve taken it very, very hard,” said Usher at Rick Owens, adding he was still reeling from the shock. “We worked a lot together, we actually performed together one time. We’ve seen each other a lot over the years.” Of Jackson’s contribution to the worlds of both music and fashion, Usher said: “It would have been so much more.”


The ever-controversial Thom Browne took some barbs this season for a show that seemed more absurdist than ever, partly because of a lack of context or showmanship. There was no choreography, no set design, no theme—just a simple procession through the designer’s bare Tribeca store, putting the clothes in a harsh light. Browne heaped a hodgepodge of kooky sportswear and accessories on top of his avant-garde tailoring and obvious showpieces, such as a fish-tail tuxedo covered in black paillettes. A neoprene microskort, anyone? A polka-dotted halter romper? And don’t forget the lipstick. Perhaps it’s a credit to Browne that, after several years of smashing taboos—first with exposed ankles and shrunken suits, then with more extreme proportions, femininity and deadpan perversity—these notions failed to shock or amuse this time around. He did accomplish an about-face from the fascist uniformity of his last show, and from his signature shrunken suit. His new suit has round shoulders, wider sleeves and swingy, cuffed trousers. And to be sure, some critics applauded Browne’s unwavering audacity. He has always sought to elicit strong reactions—love it or hate it. He got his wish.


Come rain or shine, the show must go on—as Dries Van Noten proved in Paris. Having planned to seat his guests on the sunny steps of the Palais Brongniart, the Belgian designer moved the crowd last minute under the arcades of the historic financial institution, just in time to avoid a torrential downpour. While the fashion flock squeezed together to dodge raindrops, Van Noten’s DJ dodged a penalty, spinning recent radio hits from the bed of a truck, despite the lack of a music permit, to deafen the sleepy business neighborhood.


Whatever their meaning, if any, the gold logos and reptile motifs that pervaded Raf Simons’ enigmatic collection created a stir in a sumptuous Paris 7th arrondissement garden, where the show was set. Theories as to what the gold R’s and S’s emblazoned on the backsides of jeans and the coiling snake motifs on trousers or transparent shirts might mean extended from biblical allusions to riffs on conspicuous consumption—or simply experimentation. But the designer wasn’t giving anything away, evading questions after the show. “There’s a bit of everything. It is what it is,” Simons said.


Four seasons ago when Angela Missoni tacked men’s wear to her creative duties, taking over from her brother, Luca, little did she imagine she would enjoy it so much. Backstage, just minutes before the show, a bronzed and smiley Missoni described how she was inspired by a dreamy globe-trotter, one who “travels extensively and mixes the various cultures.” The theme might not be groundbreaking, but in Missoni’s hands, the melting-pot references looked edgy and modern. Moreover, the collection further underscored how the designer is succeeding in turning the house’s distinctive, and at times challenging, signatures into hip, modern garb. Africa, India, China and England were all tossed into the mix as Missoni delivered endless variations of one look—crinkled outerwear breezily layered over cotton shirts and rolled-up checkered pants or faded jeans, paired with the house’s signature knits. This eclectic wardrobe with a grungy undercurrent is spring’s passport for a new-generation Missoni man.

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