Colour bounced off the catwalks as Paris' menswear shows kicked off Thursday with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Yamamoto and Yves Saint Laurent predicting a bright autumn-winter 2008-2009.
Despite the presence of hundreds of fashion addicts mostly dressed in black, designers wheeled out everything from pastels to dark greens and gold at Saint Laurent, while Louis Vuitton harped on sapphire blues and taupes and grey-greens.
Echoing the trend at Milan's men's shows that ended this week, Yamamoto went ape for tartan, in shirts, jackets, linings, trimmings and even fake shawls. Using classical-looking Scottish patterned tartan in greens and blues and reds, Yamamoto took the highland theme the extra step.
Shirts left hanging below the jacket were pleated -- giving the impression the model was wearing a kilt above his pants, and tartans were inserted into coat pleats in another kilt lookalike. In more sombre mood, Yamamoto leant heavily towards navy blue in suits and jackets and coats that gave off a loping Soviet-era sailor-cum-worker air, and that were often paired with caps.
But a couple of his fluid outfits were off-the-wall vivid, in bright purple (worn over red tartan), orange and green. Master of illusion, he trotted out models wearing high waisted pants and shawls that turned out to be stitched into jackets and coats. Baggies were a no-no at Thursday's shows, and in a stark contrast to that trend Yves Saint Laurent and Dries Van Noten both trotted out slim short pants, cut to ankle-length and worn on boots.
Dries Van Noten, like Yamamoto, dressed his models in layers, with shirts hanging below jackets, and like Louis Vuitton, cut pants that sat low and loose on hips, without a belt. He used colourful prints for coats, pants and shirts, favoured stripes, either skinny or thin, and threw out a non-classical tartan which in one shirt was a tartan see-through. Louis Vuitton's designer Marc Jacobs too opted for slim-fit silhouettes, models in two-button suits with straight legs, carrying LV bags and wearing cashmere chapkas, all inspired by 60s "gangsta" movies.
The Vuitton models marched to the sound of a grand piano that was wrapped in a giant envelope in the house's graphic black-and-grey checkerboard, and with rapper Farrell Williams looking on.
With Yves Saint Laurent deciding for the first time to snub the catwalks, designer Stefano Pilato showed his new collection via a video presentation starring actor Simon Woods, who played Mr Bingley in movie Pride and Prejudice and Gaius Octavius in the TV series Rome. Woods in YSL was elegance and charm itself, in subtle colour combinations, a Mongolian lamb coat, fine cashmeres, mohair and silk.