Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 07/08

Dior Homme
By Timothy Hagy, Paris Editor

PARIS, January 30, 2007 - A fog settled over Paris on Tuesday, the last day of the men's shows, and with it floated a melancholy that seemed to permeate the very air. By the time of the Dior show, evening had fallen, and the somber night could not have been more perfect a setting for the clothes that came down the catwalk. Hedi Slimane sent out a collection that brooded with gloominess, then burst into sparking evening jackets, one embroidered in crystal webs and another that broke into a prism of semiprecious jewels. Otherwise black, pearl gray and charcoal ruled the catwalk. Of the interesting pieces, dungaree-style pant skirts were draped at the ankles atop tight leggings, while overextended sweaters peaked from the sleeves of jackets and trailed down the length of the hand to form pseudo-mittens. Elsewhere, long shirt tails twirled and scarves fell. Skinny pants were cut short enough to reveal leather boots, and jackets had a black finish poured in circular motions that resembled the style of Jackson Pollack.

If fashion is an edgy place, you would never have known it from the way Karl Lagerfeld chattered with Hélène Arnault, telling her he'd made lambskin gloves for himself with the fingertips cut out, so that he didn't have to shake hands. She burst into giggles. Further down the row sat Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy's artistic director.

In fact, Hedi continues to bring out the best in most everybody, and if his contract is in limbo, you'd never suspect there was any tension. Sydney Toledano, President of Dior Couture, was all smiles as he posed for pictures backstage. Antoine Arnault stood on the other side and greeted Hedi with "Bravo!"

The codes that Hedi Slimane has developed for Dior Homme are uniquely his, and his style is consistent season to season. Ideas change and colors may come and go, but the power of his work lies in its exuberant Romanticism, depression interrupted by bursts of brilliant light.


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