Valentino kicks off men's fashion in Paris
Models present creations for Valentino during the Fall/Winter 2014/2015 men's fashion show in Paris on January 15, 2014 - by Patrick Kovarik
Valentino's models treaded softly on colourful, geometrically patterned kilim carpets, a motif sometimes echoed in the coats and jackets though in muted winter hues.
US actor Will Smith was among the guests who warmly applauded Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who came up with endless variations on the suit.
One navy blue suit featured a pyjama cut with falling shoulders for a relaxed look; another is in green army camouflage.
Striving for understated elegance, the fashion house said haute couture is "never flaunted but always evident in the eyes of those who know and want to know".
Also Wednesday, 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 suit coats 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.
Belgium's Raf Simons teamed up with US artist Sterling Ruby to deliver a graphic collection of tight outfits with pictures of planets or icicles, tie-dye -- or paint-splattered -- looks and oversized boots in bright colours.
Simons, who is also artistic director of Christian Dior's Haute Couture, had already paired up with long-time friend Ruby for a Tokyo boutique.
The messy touch of the Los Angeles-based artist -- influenced by urban graffiti and known for his dripping sculptures and paintings -- was visible on the catwalk Wednesday.
For his part, iconoclast Walter Van Beirendonck offered the latest edition of his trademark "art wear", featuring garish vertical stripes of clashing colours suggesting escaped convicts and even clowns -- but accessorised with 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.