Paris Menswear SS13: On the Spring Seas

Published June 29, 2012

“Water is God’s tranquillizer,” was the apropos quote from Diana Vreeland that launched Kim Jones on Louis Vuitton’s Spring collection. Seated in the pre-show dark in hot, humid Paris, watching a sinuous, computer-generated phosphorescent undersea creature flit by on the runway’s slit screen backdrop, we had to agree with her. This ode to the seas was sleek, beginning with the loose, double-breasted suits in mohair/silk with wooden buttons. Jones’ style is full of anecdotes; the yachting sailors sport flag charms on their pockets and the occasional anchor earring. But Louis Vuitton is, above all, about the good life—the life vests are in leather and wetsuits in cashmere. Jones didn’t forget the croc—an LV tradition—this time in a navy blue, hooded blouson with waterproof zips and tech cord.

Jean Paul Gaultier loves sailors; their uniforms are part of his style vocabulary, and even his Diet Coke bottle is striped accordingly. This collection was a dreamy ode to seafaring stripes, sailor collars, and pants—polo shirts in sailor stripes with lace insets, the crossover sailor smoking jacket, and sailor tattoos embroidered blue-on-blue over the bicep of a double-breasted jacket suit JPGs nautical peacocks perfectly.

You can see every seam and discern the colors of the pieces underneath Rick Owens’ loose white jackets, which looked as though they were made in handkerchief linen. The crossover, one-shouldered T-shirts and white, jagged-diamond-quilted, patchwork anoraks hint at a new lightness here.

Camouflage, colorblocking and transparence—three of menswear’s major attractions for spring—are woven together seamlessly by Dries Van Noten. Camouflage and white, as in a spotless parka over a filmy camo shirt, got the ball rolling. This was followed by orange and white colorblocking for another shirt with a camo chest stripe, and transparent camo mixed with dark plaid in loose shapes. Like Jones at Louis Vuitton, Van Noten makes a strong case for the light, double-breasted suit, shown here with tech sandals. And there’s a new blouson, which looks like a loose, colorblocked fencer’s vest or life jacket; a perfect foil for a mix of white and tech-orange.