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Paris Men's Fashion Week draws to a close, matching subtle elegance with bursts of color

PARIS (AP) — Paris Men’s Fashion Week, ending Sunday, has witnessed a striking dichotomy of styles. At one end of the spectrum, the trend of subtle, understated elegance was beautifully embodied by collections that focused on classic sophistication. These lines showcased the art of timeless fashion with a focus on quality materials and nuanced color palettes, redefining luxury in a muted yet impactful way. On the other end, extravagant designs burst on the scene. Bold, vivid colors and innovative reinterpretations of traditional menswear appeared at times, offering a flamboyant counterpoint to the more reserved styles. Designs marked by their vibrant energy and creative flair, pushing the boundaries of conventional fashion.

Here are some highlights of fall-winter 2024 men's shows:

SACAI’S BOLD WARRIOR CHIC

As the sun set on Paris Menswear Week, Sacai, Japan’s commercial juggernaut in the fashion world, delivered imaginatively. Designer Chitose Abe, known for her precision in pattern-making and innovative design, transformed the runway into a battlefield of style.

Sacai’s signature is a blend of the traditional and the avant-garde. Here, every piece resonated with a dark, aggressive utilitarian edge, reminiscent of ancient warriors stepping out of time into the modern world. The show’s standout feature was the giant round sleeves, evoking traditional Japanese warrior dress while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of contemporary fashion. This was a nod to historical silhouettes, reimagined through Abe’s innovative lens.

Extra-padded pocket details seemed to offer protection akin to a samurai’s armor.

One particular ensemble captured the essence of the collection: a pearl trapeze silhouette garment with cushion-like embellishments. These fanned out abstractly, reminiscent of buffer bags used on boats — a poetic juxtaposition of hardness and softness, aggression and protection. Complementing this were thigh-high black wading boots, a genial stroke of watery musing exemplifying the ethereal yet grounded designs.

Abe’s focused approach to pleats and her hybridized design techniques have continued to evolve, maintaining Sacai’s position at the forefront of Japan’s fashion vanguard. As the fashion crowd departed, they carried with them the undeniable impact of Sacai’s warrior-chic — bracing themselves valiantly for the onslaught of upcoming Couture Week, a mere few hours away.

WOOYOUNGMI’S PARISEOUL: A CROSS-CONTINENTAL SARTORIAL SYMPHONY

WooYoungmi's preppy, cross-continental collection was a melting pot of cultural contradictions and sartorial surprises.

The show featured a striking “Paris Seoul”-emblazoned striped rugby top, setting the tone for a collection that effortlessly married East-meets-West styles. Black abstract modernist hats crowned sparkling tracksuits that wouldn’t look out of place in a Kardashian wardrobe, offering a nod to contemporary pop culture and luxury.

Tweed jackets, fashioned in traditional Asian style, were daringly paired with classic Western business suits, showcasing WooYoungmi’s flair for unexpected layering and textural contrasts.

One of the standout moments was the all-out denim ensemble, worn like a work suit, complete with a whimsical, floppy “Jack and the Beanstalk” style hat — thus blending worlds, both sartorially and culturally.

PARIS MENSWEAR WEEK: A TALE OF TWO EXTREMES IN LUXURY

Celebrity sightings and collaborations added an extra layer of excitement to the week, underscoring the growing intersection of fashion, pop culture, and entertainment in defining modern style trends.

This season’s Paris Men’s Fashion Week traveled from the elegantly understated to the boldly expressive.

Leading the trend of understated luxury was Hermès, showcasing a collection rich in muted tones and classic sophistication. Their offerings, from long leather coats to sumptuous knitwear, spoke volumes about refined subtlety. Similarly, AMI stood out with its collection of impeccably tailored suits and trench coats in rich, earthy colors, embodying timeless elegance.

In contrast with this muted luxury, Balmain made a striking comeback to men’s fashion with a lineup that screamed opulence. The collection was a riot of bold colors and sparkling redesigns of traditional menswear, complete with extravagant accessories. It was a celebration of luxury that was anything but quiet, culminating with the iconic Naomi Campbell gracing the runway.

Rick Owens mixed gothic elements with a touch of the bizarre, featuring oversized rubber boots that Owens himself described as outlandishly proportioned.

Celebrity appearances added further glamour, with stars like Jamie Dornan and Zayn Malik gracing the front rows of Loewe and Louis Vuitton. Yohji Yamamoto’s show added a touch of cult celebrity allure, featuring names like Wim Wenders and Norman Reedus on the runway, with football legend Zinédine Zidane among the spectators.

Menswear week showcased the dual nature of men’s luxury fashion, oscillating between the quietly sophisticated and the unapologetically extravagant.