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Rykiel Homme Goes Wild and Elegant

PARIS, January 27, 2006 - By Friday afternoon a Siberian air mass had settled over Paris, subzero temperatures even causing the fountain in the courtyard of the Louvre to glaze into icicles. But all was warm inside the Ecole des Beaux Arts where the Rykiel Homme show effectively opened men's fashion week.

Sonia Rykiel mixed the look of a clean cut American Ivy League college boy with the eccentricity of Oscar Wilde and the result was not so much Yale, which is reputed to have the highest percentage of gay male students of the Ivies, as it was Bohemian Rive Gauche, say Boulevard Saint Germain. (That logo incidentally found its way onto baseball jackets and model's behinds.)

Sonia sat front row before the show began swathed in black fur. "They aren't bad, college boys," she remarked with the confidence of a connoisseur.

The boys sat out along the dove-gray runway, hair slicked back and the heels of their paten leather dress shoes kicking up dust. Scarves twirled, zippers dangled, and bright colors (robin egg blue, lavender, emerald green and plum) offset the gloomy day.

There was certainly a wild elegance to the leather pants worn with a fuchsia striped sweater, or the raspberry-colored Prince of Wales check trousers. Elsewhere, Duke of Windsor tweeds gave way to scintillating evening wear. A tuxedo, handkerchief in pocket, worn above a vest trimmed in rhinestones, or a black velvet cummerbund replete with cabbage in full flower summed up this collection: nonconformist, refined and sexy.

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