Olympic spectacle upstages menswear Fashion Week in Paris

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Posted: Jun 23, 2017 12:48 PM
Olympic spectacle upstages menswear Fashion Week in Paris

PARIS (AP) — It's rare that an event can upstage a top Paris Fashion Week show taking place in the French capital's ornate Grand Palais.

But guests arriving at the Cerruti display witnessed one — and flocked to take in a major aquatic spectacle happening on and below the gilded Alexandre III bridge as Paris tried to woo Olympic officials in its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Here are the highlights of Friday's spring-summer 2018 menswear collections at Paris Fashion Week.

OLYMPIC EVENTS VIE FOR ATTENTION WITH FASHION SHOWS

Fashionistas gathered around cheering crowds Friday as synchronized divers plunged off diving boards on Paris' famous Alexandre III bridge, twisting in the air before splashing into the cool water.

To boost the city's 2024 Summer Olympics bid, Paris created an ephemeral Olympic swimming pool in the River Seine.

High-divers plunged, while trampoline athletes somersaulted inside the Petit Palais art museum. Runners raced on a floating track as the City of Light turned some of its world-famous landmarks over to sports for two days in the hopes of wowing the International Olympic Committee.

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CERRUTI'S SALEABLE SHOW

"Chief Creative Officer" Jason Basmajian of Cerruti 1881 brings as much a business approach to his fashion designs as an artistic one. Friday's saleable collection was a case in point.

While the 49 looks didn't break any molds— barring the odd gold tuxedo — they were elegant, masculine and highly wearable.

Loose suits with baggy, sometimes Bermuda, shorts and wide-pleated pants defined the pared down aesthetic — rendered crisper by the show's bright white medical lighting. Slicked back hair, round shades, belt straps hanging from the waist and tassels accessorized these styles alongside large wide-toed leather shoes or sneakers.

This display was very much tailored for a masculine man who's not interested in modern menswear's flamboyant excesses.

Despite this, Basmajian was not afraid of using color. Yellow-green, coral, pale peach, navy, burnt caramel, cream and dusty ultramarine all made it into Cerruti's menswear fashions — but they were always handled with restrain.

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GENDERLESS DISCOURSE ON THE RUNWAYS

Fashion houses are blurring the lines between male and female styles to the point that it has become a tangible runway trend.

As major labels such Saint Laurent and Givenchy make an editorial decision to showcase menswear designs in the fall's womenswear season, other houses this week have opted to do the opposite.

South Korean designer Juun J. opened his Friday menswear show with a female model in a diaphanous male-female shirt dress. Elsewhere in his show, waiflike male models had intentionally feminine faces, styled with long tousled hair.

Rick Owens, too, chose androgynous waiflike models with long feminine hair and skirt silhouettes for his menswear show.

It is little wonder that stars like Lily Allen have cottoned on. The British singer turned up to Paris Fashion Week dressed in an oversize menswear shirt.

"I'm quite wide on the hips, so I buy a lot of men's clothes," Allen told The Associated Press, laughing.

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JUUN J.'S MYRIAD IDEAS, OVERSIZE PROPORTIONS

Juun J. took his signature pinstripe and subverted it in a gender-bending show of oversize proportions and myriad ideas.

The white pinstripe shirt was blown up into a floor-length gown with surreally long cuffs that obscured the model's hands. And then, in a nod to the 1930s U.S. gangster styles the designer uses as a creative touchstone, dark pinstripe pants peeped out from under the long shirt silhouettes.

This was a conceptual show in many ways. Styles had a purposefully unfinished, deconstructed or thrown-together feel — evoking the middle phase of the creative process of designing a fashion collection. The show's decor — large image boards on stands — evoked a fashion atelier, bringing home this idea of the unfinished design.

But the best ideas in the 29-piece collection were found in looks that playfully merged the East and the West. One oversize "Western" gray pinstripe suit sported a one shoulder black sweater on top that evoked an Asian wraparound. Elsewhere, a black fanny pack was worn to look like a Japanese Obi belt.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K