Until he was chased off the runway at the end of the show by a trio of parkour-vaulting ninjas, we never realized how perfect Jean Paul Gaultier would be as a Bond villain. (Sample dialogue: "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to sit in the last row of seats.")
The designer paid homage to the stylish spy — and added a dash of androgyny — with a "James Blond" collection. That meant riffing on the tuxedo, of course; the first look was a traditional, one-button, peak-lapel number accessorized with a bow tie and gun.
But it also meant gray pinstripe wetsuits, suit jackets paired with hot pants and fishnets, shiny black diamond-quilted puffer jackets with fur-lined hoods and double-breasted blazers in metallic gold neoprene with outsize fur collars.
And the chic sunglasses that accessorized many of the looks? They had less to do with channeling the super-suave secret agent and everything to do with a new eyewear collaboration between the brand and Alain Mikli.
Adam Kimmel was the second designer at Paris Fashion Week to explicitly reference the oeuvre of David Lynch, drawing on that peculiar "Twin Peaks" vibe of mystery and uneasiness, with the expectation that something unseemly was lurking behind the next redwood.
Some of the collection spoke to the sinister look of the well-dressed stranger: double-breasted blazers, necktie and shirt patterns from a bygone era (it looked like the '40s to us), with bolo ties, scarves and overcoats to complete the look.
But FBI agent Dale Cooper and company were just part of the equation. Another major inspiration behind Kimmel's Pacific Northwest collection was artist Dan Attoe, a painter and sculptor (and founder of the Paintallica art group) whose work taps into the gritty underbelly of the world where the highway curves through the giant redwood forests and motorcycle punk meets mysticism.
Attoe's influence was overt in some cases — his artwork of towering stands of trees and Bigfoot creatures appears on T-shirts, scarves and sweaters — and more subtle in pieces like one-piece coveralls, cashmere thermal waffle-pattern sweaters and trousers color-blocked to look like riding leathers.
The "things aren't as they seem" motif common to both "Twin Peaks" and Attoe's artwork was reflected in pieces like the hip-length hunting jacket that converts into a full-length trench coat (convertible outerwear pieces like this were a key trend in both Milan and Paris this season), washed speckle-wool blazers and leather motorcycle jackets with zip-off sleeves and zip-out quilted flannel liners.
Even accounting for Fashion Standard Time, the Givenchy runway show was late out of the gate; the first model didn't hit the runway until an hour and 22 minutes past the scheduled start time. At the one-hour mark, folks with clipboards started circulating through the room to explain to the increasingly impatient crowd that the delay had to do with the electricity supply to the building. After at least one false start and an additional 20 minutes of waiting, even the most patient of the fashion flock started feeling like an angry, caged animal.
One can only imagine that Riccardo Tisci must have been feeling something similar when he came up with the snarling, teeth-baring dogfight of a menswear collection he sent down the runway for fall and winter 2011. And I'm using those descriptors literally.
Snarling Rottweilers were the central visual motif; they appeared an angry pack at a time on baggy dress shirts and shorts, they were appliqued solo onto baggy sweatshirts (above the capital letters RTTWLR and between the words "est." and "1955") and were even employed as an all-over print across the yoke and down the arms of a shirt.
Outfits were accessorized with dog-collar and dog-leash belts or dog-harness backpack straps, but the most curious items were the hats — in brown or white, the round domed hats each sported a small visor in the front and a pair of dog ears up top.
There were some interesting pieces in the show — jackets with zip-in vests and a three-quarters-length fur vest layering piece, but the disconnect itself was the scene-stealer.