PARIS (AP) — From behind a black curtain in the central catwalk, fashion powerhouse Dior pulled a surprise on its guests in unveiling a concealed orchestra at the start of the Paris menswear show.
"Matrix" actor Lambert Wilson, actresses Isabelle Huppert and Noomi Rapace, and former "True Blood" star Luke Grimes, who appears in the eagerly-awaited "Fifty Shades of Grey," all gasped in delight.
The 30 or so violinists, trombonists, trumpeters and flutists had clearly been ordered to hide out for over an hour in deathly silence, as fashion VIPS such as LVMH owner Bernard Arnault and Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld filed in late.
But it wasn't all suffering for the musicians: they were kitted out head-to-toe in Dior Homme.
Here are the highlights of Saturday's fall-winter 2015 menswear shows — including show reports for Dior Homme, Kenzo and Hermes.
Dior's fashion orchestra played a rousing classical interpretation of Ivorian electronic music composer Koudlam's 'The Landsc Apes.' And the metaphor of fusing the traditional with the cutting edge extended to the clothes.
Dior aptly described the collection as "techno-sartorial."
Enviable drape suits, cummerbunds, tux tails, bow ties, double and single breasted jackets, evening scarves and waistcoats mixed with Oxford shoes with fluorescent soles, and caps with funky buttons.
Suits were layered, with mid-thigh or knee-length undergarments, and sported contrastingly-colored collars.
The show was also a study in blue denim — a go-to material for designer Kris Van Assche.
The material came in a great pea-coat, or in another stand-out look: a thick textured, indigo workman's shirt with sheeny fetishistic pants.
The collection tried its hardest to be daring.
But, 10 bowties and 37 ties later, the show couldn't help but feel perhaps a little constrained. (Perhaps it's to do with Dior's classical "codes" to which Assche must stick — apparent, especially, in a series of "Flower Men" looks that emulated the late, great designer's love of "Flower Women".)
This didn't matter. There were buckets' full of nice ideas — such as the flower badges that were placed, cleverly, near the lapel, where men from the '50s would place real blooms.
KENZO'S URBAN DWELLER AND OCCASIONAL SPACE MAN
Layered silhouettes and bold colors abounded at Kenzo, a show that was fit for the cool urban dweller, as well as the occasional fashion-conscious alien.
In a futuristic set that resembled a sort of space ship with vent grills, contrasting vivid colored bands were featured on oversize sweaters, and black-and-white doodle prints funked up jumpsuits.
Words, including "LOVE," appeared several times, but designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are never ones to get caught up in human sentiment.
The text was abstracted in a primitive pattern, and came alongside the word "UFO."
Huge multiple-layered capes and pants came in shocking silver and drove this space-age musing home.
Sometimes the colors felt a bit too bold for the average earthly fashion capital.
The standout part of the show were the boots, made from strips of leather, and the simply fabulous leather drawstring tote bags that got fashion insiders giddy.
Does Hermes call it a fall collection, because we all end up falling for it even if it's nothing groundbreaking?
Designer Veronique Nichanian, who famously shuns trends, produces season after season the most stylish clothes on the catwalk — clothes that men actually want to wear (despite, probably, not being able to afford them.)
Saturday's muted variation on sartorial elegance — fitted double breasted wool suits, Left Bank dark turtle necks, loose, pin-striped jackets and sumptuous car coats — was just this.
Perhaps "safer" and less risk-taking for the already famously safe driving Nichanian, this show was packed nevertheless with the basic rules on how to look good.
Scarves in bold colors elegantly balanced the classicism, as did a splash of ethnic patterning across a round-neck sweater, or across a fine black leather coat with a belt tied tightly in an insouciant, boho knot.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP