Carven, Von Beirendonck kick off men's fashion in Paris
Models present a creation by Carven during the men's Fall/Winter ready-to-wear fashion show on January, 15, 2014 in Paris
Carven designer Guillaume Henry set a scene of prewar Chicago as his models sauntered around two pool tables.
Describing his look as "twisted", Henry said he deliberately mismatched the outfits, teaming a casual jacket with formal trousers.
Ultra-modern thick-soled shoes guaranteed a less serious silhouette, while suitcoats were shorter than classic cuts and trousers, too, often stopping at the ankle.
Suggesting "less aggressive proportions", Henry also went for velvet suits.
Carven sent several duffle coats, expected to be de rigueur next winter, down the catwalk, and threw in some black and white graffiti prints for a younger look.
Van Beirendonck rolled out more of his trademark "art wear", dressing models in garish vertical stripes of clashing colours suggesting escaped convicts and even clowns -- but wearing felt caps shaped like soldiers' helmets and bright high-topped sneakers.
Suit jackets or capes might top lycra leggings with geometric patterns -- sometimes with matching face paint. To beat the cold the bushy-bearded Van Beirendonck suggests fur bermudas.
The avant-garde designer staged the show at the Maison des Metallos, the former headquarters of the French metalworkers' union, where he took a stand against racism: one of his models wore a giant Indian headdress with "Stop Racism" scrawled across the feathers.
US designer Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, Japan's Yohji Yamamoto and Dries Van Noten present their collections on Thursday.