Ah, 2012: I really hope the world won’t end before we get a chance to appreciate next year’s fashion in the flesh. Yes, it’s that time of year again – Samuel and I delved into all things belle France and dusted off our (shockingly bad) French so I can now sit behind my computer and dribble over all the menswear. Hurrah! Take my hand readers, and let’s look at crowns, tattoos and lots of men’s legs…

Because the menswear collections at Paris are so early, it’s almost in line with the actual season; it’s hot outside, and we’re looking at models wearing shorts, which is something of a rare occurrence in the topsy-turvy world of fashion seasons. That’s right, summer clothes in summer!

I think it’s also worth noting that it’s quite easy for me to be totally objective about fashion – even if I can’t see myself wearing a particular item, it doesn’t change the joy I get from seeing it. Case in point is high-end couture and menswear – my wardrobe (after last weekend’s huge and painful spring clean) is pretty much all black with a few notable exceptions, but that doesn’t stop me falling in love with pink shorts from Comme des Garcons, patterns from Tsumori Chisato or an all-white dress from Yohji Yamamoto. I do feel that objectivity is needed to certain extent when discussing fashion, but it shouldn’t outweigh passion – I know that here at Tokyo Telephone we sit on the line between website and blog, and I honestly wouldn’t be anywhere else.

So, on with the shows…

Issey Miyake Men

Looking very much the couture traveller in linen, Miyake’s spring summer collection built on the pattern repetition of the previous season, and by using larger forms created less claustrophobic prints that are perfect for long lazy summer days. Charcoal grey contrasted beautifully with white, and that shade of blue (cerulean?)  that’s been all over the male catwalk for a few seasons made an appearance again. One of my highlights was the artful dying of the shirt (far right) with just the right amount of colour bleed at the edges. Amazing. Trousers were looser here, and notably lacking were the shorts that featured in almost every other menswear collection – instead at Miyake Men we were treated to cropped wide trousers. Niiice.

John Lawrence Sullivan

Also known as the Japanese brand with the very English name! I don’t think I’ve featured JLS (geddit?) here before and more’s the pity – check out the stunning perforated arms in the leather biker jacket in the centre. Phwoar! This was a collection with mixed infleunces – the English prep that John Lawrence Sullivan does so well, but also punk and 1990s-esque street fashion. Although the colours were kept to a semi-limited palette, I loved the pairing of mustard and blue (far left), and the brightness of the trousers with the softer sheer camouflage bomber jacket (far right).

Junya Watanabe

Now, I very much doubt that this is what Watanabe had in mind with the collection, but I just can’t look at it without seeing mori boy plastered all over it. A sure-fire hit for more than a few of our favourite Tokyo fashionmisters. There’s something quite industrial about much of the clothing here: denim, dungarees and rainboots. It’s clothing that works hard, and it damn well looks good too. The garden setting was utterly perfect for a such a down-to-earth look, and I’m pretty sure I have some baby photos of little Rebecca rocking the dungarees around somewhere…

Comme des Garcons Homme Plus

Saving my favourite until last, of course! At CDG we had items seen making their way down many of the menswear catwalks; shorts, ankle socks, short trousers… but we also had crowns and fantastic hybrid blazer-biker jackets. Allegedly, the crowns were a reference the the royal wedding but if I judge Ms Kawakubo correctly, the concept will have been something more like “the feeling of watching clouds move in the sky” (actually, it was ‘tailoring for punks’, but you get the idea), or something. I feel I also have to mention the models’ hair – the harsh centre parting and a curl either side made me think of the Anna Sui perfume bottles and smile to myself a little.

The eagle-eyed among my have noticed I left out one of my favourite designers – fear not, fans of saint Yohji; I’ll be giving the great man the honour he deserves with a special post of wall-to-wall Yamamoto very soon.

(Images courtesy of the wonderful HommeModel)

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