Outerwear come-back

di Diane Pernet, foto di Sonny Vandevelde

The reworked, revamped must-haves of the season obey the golden rule laid down by Lanvin’s Elbaz: “The important thing is not to be modern, but to be relevant.”

Outerwear come-back

Aside from the Nineteenth Century dandies and the dropped-crotch pants it was an amazing season for outerwear in both Milan and Paris. Oversized coats, slim coats, big shearlings, fur coats, pea coats and evening coats are all on the horizon. Milan felt warm and nostalgic while Paris left the dreamy nineteenth century poets and aristocrats and Sixties jet setters behind. Instead, futuristic soldiers, rebellious punks were the order of the day. Many of the designers seemed to collectively envision a dark, dystopian future with slicked hair and an aggressive, take-charge attitude. Maybe it is a reaction to the current European economic situation and the so-called “austerity” program. Rick Owens showed a strong and confident collection in cool black and white with super high-waisted trousers, some with dropped crotch paired with skinny white shirts that made the models look like they had extremely long arms and legs. His muse for the collection was the iconic and forever elegant, Fred Astaire. There was great strength in his double-breasted long evening coats and graphic leather jackets. Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones showed in a futuristic glass-walled hall with a collection that merged classic silhouettes from the 1920’s, Oxford bags to 1950’s baseball jackets and 1960’s skinny trousers with a focus on the shoes and slim suitcases and the doctor bags. Dries Van Noten had some smartly tailored, crisp suits but the bold 1960’s psychedelic calligraphy on coats and jackets was the focus of the show. The idea was to combine the elegance of Oscar Wilde with the coolness of Frank Zappa with his fictional vocalist and character, Suzy Creamcheese, on the soundtrack. Dior Homme by Kris Van Assche took a completely military stance in olive drab complimented by the touches of leather that seems to be everywhere this season. Talking about leather, Jil Sander showed a polished black trench coat that would make any man morph into the perfect spy. Raf Simons signature collection returned to his fascination with youth culture and was injected with and energized by idealism, the show’s title was Run Fall Run, and implied that he is a true survivor. He proposed schoolboy shorts, oversized jackets and coats with veils of hair trailing across faces, and down the backs. It was a contemporary manifesto merging his love of the couture with street style. He paired slightly dropped crotch narrow leg trousers with dip-dyed sweatshirts, suit jackets and classic pea coats that had a bit more volume and movement. The layering of his shirts was genius and reminded me of Ralph Fiennes in David Cronenberg’s Spider. Riccardo Tisci expressed his childhood obsessions with the American Flag and the Minotaur and like Rick Owens, put his very masculine men in skirts. Tisci showed hard-edged elegance in monochromatic tailoring and hard-core sportswear accessorizing his models with gold nose rings. The Lanvin collection was a jewel with high-waisted, sometimes boot-cut trousers that were a bit slouchy and big rounded drop-shoulders that we’d also seen at Rick Owens. His final look: a parka-over-tailcoat made for the perfect evening ensemble. Alber Ebaz summed it all up: “It’s not modernity that’s important. It’s relevance.”