This season, menswear worked all the angles: futurism, the elegant now, and retro sport. While Dior Homme's clean, uniform suits and symbol-patterned knitwear imagined a sleek superhero, Hermès and up-and-comer Damir Doma played with ski style.
Kris Van Assche loves working with the Dior atelier, and it's easy to see why when you look at this collection. The futuristic tailoring—inspired, he said, by the 1997 film Gattaca—trades buttons for zippers, cinches the waist with nickel buckle belts, keeps collars high, and prefers contrast panels to pockets. Something this complex could only have been made by the finest tailors. Anything less than perfect construction would have looked amateurish here—Van Assche is at the wheel of a Ferrari, and he knows how to drive Dior far. While items like the triangle in a circle pattern, which shines laser-like across the chest and over the sleeves of some of the Dior Homme suits, might seem a bit just for show, the same graphic on color block sweaters is a real winner.
Hermès is another Paris legend with a great atelier, but designer Veronique Nichanian plays it safe. Within Hermès' carefully controlled framework, brilliant raspberry or mustard yellow in a crewneck sweater is big news, a visible zipper on a perfectly cut pea jacket looks cool, a turtleneck with a velvet goatskin front is way out there, and dark hiking boots with colorful laces worn with tailoring is downright revolutionary. But don't forget, these are the clothes you can count on; they will stay in your wardrobe for years, and if you can afford them, they might even make you look French.
Damir Doma is a young men's and womenswear designer who runs his own eponymous label and sells internationally. In today's corporate fashion grid, a company like this should be placed on the endangered species list. This season, Doma added more structured tailoring with ski style, giving his soft, ethnic look a bit of muscle. The V-neck shirts in graph-paper check worn with a skinny turtleneck in and matching with high-waist pleat trousers look pure Doma. What's new are big, shawl-collar, brushed-wool plaid coats and what he calls a retro ski sweater, a heavy crew neck in a patchwork of swirling, optic patterns.