From London to Norway with Valentino, Julien David, and Carven

Published January 17, 2013

There is always a certain reverence at Valentino for precise tailoring tradition, be it from Roma or London, but Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli never fail to shake up this cinematic vision. This was a classic tailoring collection with twists: suits and coats were side swiped with wide black stripes across the middle (actually, heat-bonded leather bands) that implied an architectural modernism. And then Chiuri and Piccoli went to town with capes. In checks and solids, over matching suits, the Valentino capes are a nod to swinging London, tailored meticulously over skinny trousers. Blue and green plaids and other checks were duplicated in overprints for coats with a surreal effect. To soften all this precision, white shirts and ties hid under crewneck sweaters, choir-boy style.

Julien David’s Franco-Japanese fusion has grown quickly and seamlessly from accessories to womenswear and casual menswear, but his new tailoring is a triumph. After winning 2012’s ANDAM young designer prize, David presented his first “Don’t be Cruel” show for men, and the big-boy pieces bridged the gap between a young man’s casual slouch and tailoring. Long, oversized jackets, worn over drop-crotch trousers in banker’s grey flannel, suit the boy, and coats in nubby Alpaca look like an elegant teddy bear. This all comes back down to casual earth mixed with corduroy backpacks, wool leggings, cowhide leather belts, and “crazy check” shirts with yarn cut by hand to make a fuzzy finish.

Carven’s Guillaume Henry is another quick study who has given an old French house a sharp, young image and leaped from women’s into menswear without a hitch. After sending his models on a waiter’s race around a bicycle track at Pitti last summer, Henry held his first menswear show in Paris yesterday, where he mixed up winter sports and tailoring. Walking through an underground retro office, the Carven boys showed lots of leg with little patch-pocket blazers and matching pants cropped mid-calf in pastel turquoise and sea green flannel. This junior tailoring was freely mixed with alpine sports: hairy Norwegian yoke sweaters matched with Norweigan print blousons, parkas edged in bright red fur, sporty color blocking for urban trench coats, and sleek ski goggles from start to finish.