With the end of the last decade's heady maximalism behind us, and the dawn of a new era upon us with a loud call being heard for palette cleansing essentials in a time when the economy ain't so pretty, many are looking for easy, fuss-free propositions that are not only right for the times, but right for the future even. The day of instantly recognizable runway pieces is long gone and many venerable labels are looking back at not only their own heritages, but also the fundamentals of a smart wardrobe. The urban warrior, the svelte mod, the 80's electro playboy and the avant-garde techy futuro man we've seen many times around throughout the last decade have all taken a backseat(but that's not to say things are about to get too classic). In his place comes a clever use of house signatures for Fall/Winter 2010 that epitomize easy sophistication from institutions that you can always turn to for guaranteed quality. Three stand-out collections with "investment" potential & forward thinking clarity in this latest menswear movement were Dries Van Noten, Lanvin & Prada.
PRADA-(also above)For the first time ever, or at least since V can recall, Muiccia Prada showed her latest menswear collection alongside her women's Pre-Fall for 2010. Like any Prada presentation, the setting here was a statement making collage composed of mixed media from large screen installations to a printed runway illustrated to denote the political, cultural, environmental and economic climates of the decade past. Thankfully though, the nostalgia ended there. The show opened with a natty take on familiar 60's & 70's inspired garb, a beautifully cut camel jacket paired with classic navy trousers, simple yes, yet at the moment it feels fresh. And in Prada's hands, her smart suiting was met with abbreviated and awkwardly geekish sweaters in a myriad of offset dulled gemtones. Leaving much of those arty "Prada-isms" behind, the range moved on to offer a serious assortment of outerwear options that each had their own distinctive flair. They came in lean mod shapes from rubberized black peacoats to double necked toppers and parkas with updated camo prints. Most of all, it was nice to see such a forward thinking directional designer create modern riffs on timeless ideas that felt anything but timely.
Since taking over in 2001, Alber Elbaz has transformed venerable French house Lanvin into one of the most sought after, beautifully executed and delightfully wearable labels around, and that's why we have begun to reconsider it as an institution, fashion doesn't get much higher than this. The Lanvin woman is known for her off -kilter and somewhat disheveled easy take on classic haute Parisian style in couture fabrications and he's brought that relaxed luxe quality to the the house's menswear label alongside Lucas Ossendrijver. Known for sophisticated takes on Parisian streetwear and refined suiting, this fall the Lanvin man walks a fine line between the dualities of rough and refined with a tougher overall edge. Coats and outerwear, the standouts of this collection, came raw edged, some with dropped shoulders, some in dulled black leather, some nipped at the waist with a v shape and many with ingenius contrasting detachable sleeves. Best of all were shots of soothing pale pink, muted mushroom, cinnamon, cranberry, and Atlantic blue.
Dries Van Noten-
Dries Van Noten is a man who knows his fabrications and how to make them achieve an emotional response, after all, he is the prince of prints and a man with an eye for serious color. And this may be off the subject, but in womens wear at the moment Phoebe Philo at Celine is creating great buzz for her clothes that have an easy minimalism and a studied intellectual cool about them, and when we saw Van Noten's fall show, it felt as if he had channeled that same sensibility brilliantly. For fall, Van Noten re-imagined familiar fabrications from collegiate letterman jackets, preppy plaids, sweat fabrics and rugby stripes and collaged them with classic camel, pinstripes and windowpaine plaids with a result that somehow felt sophisticated, upbeat and undeniably contemporary all at once.