Fashion Report Card: Paris Menswear

Adrian Grenier

From left, Galliano’s savage theater, Hedi’s dropped crotch, Gaultier’s seventies hair.Photo:

The Paris menswear shows just ended and the reviews are in. What did the critics think of Galliano’s Mad Max warriors? What was Gaultier thinking with that hair? And does anyone even remember the Comme des Garçons collection?

John Galliano
Fresh on the heels of his couture triumph, John Galliano’s menswear show left the critics speechless. The warrior-inspired collection ranged from helmeted samurais and ninjas to blood-splattered punks and bank robbers, according to the Daily. The effect of this show that “pulsated with energy” (Suzy Menkes)? Distracting, forcing you to “suspend all critical faculties and savor the ride,” concluded Tim Blanks at Overall, this was more like unsettling theater than the presentation of a new fall wardrobe.

Watch a slideshow of the John Galliano collection.

Paul Smith
Paul Smith had lads on the brain. This season’s selection of tweed suits, velvet jackets, and houndstooth coats had a decidedly younger slant; the collection was aimed at Smith’s friends’ sons, said Blanks, pairing traditionally aristocratic country weekend clothes with T-shirts and jeans, for what British Vogue called a “Harry Potter meets Prince Harry” look. The clothes were crumpled, “subversive” (Blanks), and “deliberately eccentric,” according to Menkes.

Watch a slideshow of the Paul Smith collection.

Dior Homme
This one split the critics. With his Dior contract still unsigned, Slimane moved “neither forward nor backward,” complained Cathy Horyn, who thought the clothes were little more than “a pretty decent produce-replacement collection.” Everybody else liked the clothes: Menkes called them “a vision,” and Blanks thought Slimane’s new silhouette — dropped crotches, oversize sleeves, silky layers — “booted the show out of the past” and into the future. The Daily even detected “a new swing in [Slimane’s] step.

Watch a slideshow of the Dior collection.

John Paul Gaultier
Can a collection that channels the movie Shampoo, a mall, and pimps (Horyn) be a critical success? That’s the big question for John Paul Gaultier, whose overly coiffed show was remarkable for “its reintroduction of swaggering, hirsute masculinity,” according to the Daily. Drawing attention to the head was likely a smart idea, since Gaultier trotted sparkling leggings down the runway. Overall, Menkes thought the Paris collections proved that men’s fashion is finally as mixed up as womenswear, and “Gaultier’s was mad — but exuberant.”

Watch a slideshow of the Jean Paul Gaultier collection.

Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo’s decision to base her show on four influential Londoners from the sixties (Duggie Fields, Andrew Logan, Sebastian Horsley, and Michael Costiff) drew raves for daring and individuality. Unfortunately, the foursome, who also walked in the show, stole the “thunder from the clothes,” said Horyn. That left the looks themselves with barely a mention or two. Kawakubo’s collection was well tailored and included knits, elongated jackets, and the overwhelming trend of “a formal hat for the cool modern guy,” said Menkes. But sharing the spotlight with those cool Londoners made this show a tribute, not a full collection, lamented the Daily.

Watch a slideshow of the Comme des Garçons collection.

Fashion Report Card: Paris Menswear