Kilts made a comeback at the Paris menswear shows on Thursday courtesy of Japan’s Yohji Yamamoto while Louis Vuitton looked east to another national costume for inspiration.
To the wail of bagpipes, models sporting beards and every conceivable style of whiskers from Dali and fu manchu to handlebar and walrus teamed Yamamoto’s 21st century take on the kilt with ties, hats and long flowing woollens.
Double-breasted jackets combined with the facial hair conjured up an Edwardian gents look with red and black tartan and mauve adding a splash of colour for winter. Trousers — where they did feature — were cut short.
For his fourth collection for Louis Vuitton, Briton Kim Jones, working with artistic director Marc Jacobs, said he had travelled to the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan for inspiration.
“A collection is often an actual journey for us. It comprises what you take with you and what you bring back both physically and mentally from the experience,” he said.
Unspoilt by mass tourism due to restricted access, Bhutan “still had that mystery surrounding it… almost a fantasy idea as well as a real place... the only place where snow leopards and tigers cross paths,” he added.
Silk robes in a print by British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman resembled the gho, the heavy, knee-length garment worn by Bhutanese men, and its traditional checks and stripes featured in much of the collection’s suiting.
A snow leopard pattern and motif recurred throughout the collection.
In other looks, “the figure of the gentleman climber is compared and contrasted with Bhutanese traditions and symbols,” the house said, with soft structured jackets and coats in Bhutanese Yak felt and Himalayan stone buttons.
The travel theme found fresh expression at Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf’s collection inspired by Jules Verne’s ‘A Journey to the Centre of the Earth’.
In the suitably hushed environs of a Natural History Museum gallery, earnest, bespectacled models strode past stone columns and high glass-fronted cabinets.
Here was the “house’s eccentric gentleman on his style journey, a curious monsieur who is playful while serious, adventurous while cautious,” the duo said.
Super slim silhouette suits dominated in shades of black “interwoven with dark earthy tones in browns, graphites, greens and midnights,” with fabrics such as boiled wool and satin quilting.
Footwear featured the Chelsea boot with gunmetal toe embellishment, described as Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting’s “unique take on the mountaineering boot.” The pair mark their 20th anniversary this year.
Elsewhere on Thursday, American Rick Owens continued his focus on light and dark in a typically restrained palette of black, white and ecru with mixed materials such as leather sleeves on wool coats.
Owens said that designing the collection had been one of the few occasions he had actively thought about masculinity.
“I was thinking about almost a joyous masculinity,” he said, adding that wearing a military coat “automatically gives you a certain swagger.”
Around 80 shows are being held during the five-day Paris menswear shows which wind up on Sunday.