Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 07/08

Raf Simons
By Timothy Hagy, Paris Editor

PARIS, January 27, 2007 - American fashion editors are want to encapsulate a collection with the phrase "it was all about", as if the elements of style can be reduced to say, a Louis Vuitton logo. But the Raf Simons collection, shown late Saturday evening, defied any such easy labeling. What it was was a reflection of a subtle European approach to men's fashion, notable for its intricate finesse and dark romanticism.

Two robotic arms gyrated in the middle of the room, their halogen-lighted fingertips almost touching, as they slowly revolved at an angle similar to earth's orbit. A series of high-powered New York editors looked to be mesmerized by the scene, as they sat like a Triumvirate waiting for the "games to begin".

The two opening vinyl suits, fitted with black arm bands worked with embedded fingertips, ribbed E-bands and zippered pockets, were followed by lurex suits, looking for all purposes to be wet with glistening beads of sweat. Jackets and coats were slashed with long ovals front and back, set off by inner folds of shiny rubber. Add in two-toned suits, by that I mean the color changing at waist level, ribbed knit sweaters, copper and turquoise coiled wrists, and you get texturing on a mega-scale.

Simons has evolved with the times as a designer since the summer of 2003, when he showed under-developed pieces deep in the forest of the Bois de Vincennes. He's now pulling men's fashion forward with him, in rhythm with the heartbeat of life.

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