Designer Rei Kawakubo never follows the rules. In fact, she makes rules as much as breaks them, all at the same time. Her current Goth army of Edwardian punks and dandies may blur the lines between the masculine and feminine but isn't that a given for someone as peerless as Kawakubo? The message is clear: Wear your capes, skirts and culottes accompanied by bare knees - no less.
Center of Attention
Once the sartorial territory of womenswear, the middle ground - as it were - is now the focus of menswear. Think belted coats, high-waisted trousers, and -- if you're really brave -- a cinched jacket with an exaggerated, voluminous shoulder line à la Lanvin. Very deviant!
Men on Parade
When it comes to putting on a good show, Miuccia Prada has perfected her script. At the Italian marque, nine actors who'd carved out careers of portraying men in control fleshed out the designer's obsession with power. One helluva blockbuster right from the start, Gary Oldman was the final act -- bringing the house down the moment he stepped onto the red carpet. Cue applause.
I feel L-V-O-E
The 1970s were the starting point for designer Kim Jones' second outing for Louis Vuitton and very appropriately, it was the disco-producing demigod, Giorgio Moroder, who introduced the show vocoder-style. Jones told a sartorial story of an international travelling set dressed in posh threads - from crocodile bombers to astrakhan shoes. Stand-outs included the bathrobe-like coats and bombers alike, which were cut from plush Vuitton logo-stamped travelling blankets.
The Young Gentlemen
The boxy Armani suits of yore have been replaced by slimmer and more body-conscious silhouettes, with luxurious fabrics from velvets, to leather or plastics trimming classic styles -- all were included for a subversive twist. Did we also mention the ornately printed day suit by Dries Van Noten? Très neo-Beatnik.
It's a Wrap
Are designers telling us to stop being wet blankets? If they are, we're definitely taking heed. After all, there's no better time to cloak ourselves in the finest stoles and comfortable shawls. Just don't forget that dash of positivity, please.
A classic hue between sand and chocolate, camel will take you from the Egyptian plains to city streets in a heartbeat. But before animal activists get all up in arms, here's a piece of good news for them: No actual camel was harmed in the process.
The Lost Boys
The boys of Gucci strutted down the runway like decadent vampires looking for prey, oozing sexy masculinity. The collection is luxurious, with jacquard weaves on jackets and trousers as well as baroque velvet evening jackets with opulent tapestries woven on man bags. The signet rings they flashed bonded the midnight fraternity like a clan of midnight hunters. Creative director Frida Giannini sums up the collection as "Bohemian grunge".
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are seasoned show veterans who paint vivid scenarios with each collection they do, and they didn't disappoint this time, either, when they chose to tell the tale of an emperor and his new clothes. Except, of course, the distinguished one didn't walk around naked. Instead, the honourable peacock paraded himself in the most resplendent of coats that came embroidered with ornate brocade details.
So Long & Good Bye
We can't help but wonder if Raf Simons knew his time was up at the house of Jil Sander. Perhaps the designer was already planning his exit when he presented leather trench coats and suits, swathed in severe, mourning black? We'll never know what transpired behind those closed doors; regardless, Simons' final menswear showing for Jil will remain poignant in light of his shocking departure months later.