Defining Moments

Galliano’s pyrotechnics, Moncler’s campers and a bout with Gaultier were among the highlights for fall.

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Back to the future at Polo Ralph Lauren.

Back to the future at Polo Ralph Lauren.

Thomas Iannaccone

Billy Reid’s hip country tableau.

Billy Reid’s hip country tableau.

Robert Mitra

A model sports a crown-of-thorns necklace at Givenchy.

A model sports a crown-of-thorns necklace at Givenchy.

Stephane Feugere

Ready for reveille at Moncler.

Ready for reveille at Moncler.

Davide Maestri

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Men's Collections issue 03/15/2010

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.”

This story first appeared in the March 15, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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.


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


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.


Ermenegildo Zegna was founded in 1910 in Trivero, a small village in the Italian Alps, by the son of a watchmaker-turned–wool mill owner, and the group has stayed in family hands for three generations. To mark the centennial, it planned a fl urry of new products including a suiting inspired by 1910, a rose gold watch by Girard-Perregaux, a fountain pen and diamond-encrusted, rose gold cuff links. After parading its fall collection in Milan, Zegna showed a black-and-white film montage of fabric manufacturing and scenes of old-time Italian life. Then the whole cast poured out in suits cut from the centennial fabric. Finally, a mistyeyed Gildo, Paolo and Anna Zegna took a bow together, basking for a moment in respect for the family name.

Billy Reid was named the winner of GQ’s third annual Best New Menswear Designers in America competition, edging out Richard Chai, Unis, Burkman Bros., Caulfield Preparatory and J. Crew. All the fi nalists showcased their designs at a GQ party on the first day of the New York shows. Reid, known for Southern gentility and rusticity, will design a capsule collection for Levi’s that will be sold at Bloomingdale’s this fall. And that’s not the only collaboration for Florence, Ala.– based Reid, who already operates seven men’s wear stores in New York and across the South and Texas. He partnered with Stetson on a limited edition range of hats and accessories for fall. Each style is an interpretation of outdoor headwear made with heritage-inspired workwear techniques. And in his signature collection, Reid presented tweedy looks for country gentlemen and the downtown hipsters who emulate them.

He’s not the fi rst designer to put religion on the runway as a symbolic, satirical or spiritual statement, but when it comes to iconic imagery, Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci played it literal. His collection, awash with ecclesiastical references, paraded in a gilded Sorbonne ballroom as the strains of “Ave Maria” set a dead-serious mood. “Religion has always been my inspiration at work and in life,” Tisci said. “I grew up in a family and country where religion comes before anything else.” Crown-of-thorns necklaces and a T-shirt emblazoned with “Jesus Is Lord” spelled out the theme. A duffle coat’s oversize hood recalled a monk’s habit, while pristine white shirts had clergy collars or densely ruffled bibs. But not everything was so chaste. A number of shirtless, muscular looks packed an erotic punch. And sandals for fall? Well, the Lord is usually depicted as a sandal man. Tisci also showed his tailoring skill with sharp-shouldered jackets and elegant topcoats for his street-smart clientele. Jesus freak, c’est chic????

Big luxury players are moving heritage to the forefront of product and communication as a way to reassure—and seduce—consumers spooked by recession. At Gucci, Frida Giannini turned back to the brand’s heyday in the Seventies with a quiet, tastefully luxurious wardrobe with no ornamentation. She revived Gucci’s equestrian foulard prints, its red and green stripe and, for luggage, the diamante pattern that predated the double-G. At Burberry, Christopher Bailey sent out a parade of coats that not only saluted Burberry’s outerwear heritage, but also paid homage to military history for inspiring so many enduring coat styles. Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren brought back the American sack suit by Polo, doing away with darts and shoulder construction. He also presented Polo sport coats with wide notch lapels, worn with wide ties or turtlenecks, and pops of groovy color. “When I started 42 years ago, this is what I did to combat the cookie-cutter guy on Madison Avenue,” said Lauren. “It has heritage—my heritage.” Back to the future at Polo Ralph Lauren.



Uniformed boys, apparently at a Teutonic ski camp, slumbered on rows of matching cots as guests at the Moncler show found their seats. As the minutes ticked by, guests marveled at the boys’ stillness. No fi dgeting, no peeking. At reveille’s blast, the campers roused and pulled eccentric snow gear over their gray thermal underwear. One by one, upon passing a troop leader’s inspection, they took a lap. Down-filled ensembles ranged from sartorial gray to crayon colored to “black tie.” For the finale, the catchy soundtrack switched from Ravel’s “Bolero” to Roy Orbison’s “You Got It,” as designer Thom Browne delivered another of his fantastically creepy spectacles.

Bringing his men’s wear back in-house, Jean Paul Gaultier put some punch into his collection with a boxing theme for fall. “It’s an image of grand elegance—think Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, or Muhammad Ali—elegant silhouettes in movement, long satin robes and leather from boxing gloves,” explained Gaultier. The boxing-inspired fare also included hoods, padding and gym-style layering, along with belted cardigans and spongy towel-like scarves—worn with a tuxedo for added elegance. In an unfortunate bit of front-row casting, guests at the show included R&B singer Chris Brown, who hit headlines last year after assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. Apparently oblivious to bad p.r., Brown posed for photos next to the designer— who had been made up to look like he had a black eye and bloody lip—after the show. But Gaultier’s man is more a lover than a fi ghter. Corseted lady kickboxers sparred in a ring as musclebound, roughed-up pugilists strolled around the periphery. “Women are the real force,” said the designer, who seems to have a penchant for lady punch-ups (remember Coco Rocha staging a fight during the designer’s fall 2009 women’s collection?). Not that his man isn’t toughening up. “This fall’s men’s season is a major one for us, as it is our first new line managed internally [creation, product development and choice of producers],” said Véronique Gautier, president of Jean Paul Gaultier. Going the distance at Jean Paul Gaultier.

Belgian designer Dirk Bikkembergs isn’t afraid to raise the stakes in the ongoing democratization of the fashion system. Just as other houses were clamoring to get on the live-Webcasting bandwagon, Bikkembergs went a step further, putting tickets to his “Sport Couture” show in Milan up for sale to the public. The requisite audience of buyers and press was invited as usual, but in addition, the fashion-loving hoi polloi had the opportunity to buy tickets via bikkembergs.com for 11 euros, or about $16. Profits from paying guests were pledged to a cancer charity, the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation. And the show itself? City boys in the Alps was the riff, with bright parkas, chunky knitwear and hiking-inspired boots fit for a seasoned mountaineer—or a city slicker who pines to look like one.


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