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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Raf Simons: From Banking to Bulky

Godfrey Deeny
June 26th, 2011 @ 00:25 AM - Paris

Few shows more summed up the restrained mood of the Paris menswear season better than the latest by Raf Simons, an avant garde designer famed for theatrical shows, who unveiled his spring 2012 collection on Saturday, June 25, in the historic headquarters of France’s biggest bank in the Wall Street of this nation.

Staged in the radically renovated neoclassical atrium of Credit Lyonnais, a monumental building taking up a whole city block two minutes from the Bourse de Paris, the collection was a populist take on neoclassical hipster style.

Simons would appear to think that next spring will be wet, as a good third of his looks were raincoats, waterproof jerkins and car coats.

A Swinging Sixties mood permeated the clothes as at least a dozen plaids trench coats and swing jackets were given a reefed in A-Line cut. Simons was so obsessed with plaid, he dressed several guys in matching tartan T-shirt, jacket and mackintosh.

The silhouette felt like a Beatles album cover. And like several other key designers in Paris this season, Simons donned his models in leather T-shirts and tank tops – a tricky wear even for fashion conscious men. For such an inventive designer, this as a restrained collection – right down to the simple brogues chose as shoes, albeit with quirky chain trim.

The designer’s line was consistent throughout – narrow, almost drainpipe pants under the splayed jackets and coats. In a big styling trend here in Paris, each model's hair was coated in latex – it makes for a great effect, though a demanding preparation if one wants to go out to dinner or a club.

Simons’ coolest looks were subtle patchwork shirts, composed of vertical strips of contrasting fabric. His own large, fold out invitation was somehow telling - a huge orange X was stamped across it. That normally means negative.

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