PARIS -- Raf Simons gave the dandy a colourful, 21st century makeover in his accomplished menswear show in Paris, replete with flappy collars, cravates, long cuffs and sumptuous satin.
Opening the show, a model in satin pants clutched a black and white striped hat at his side. He marched past in a coat that harked back to the Napoleonic era -- through its A-line shape, and long cravate-like collar tied in a knot.
With subtlety, 45-year-old Simons thus took the codes of the early 19th century and served them up with a bright and youthful feel for his fall-winter 2013-2014 offering.
The Belgian designer emphasized necks through large pointed pink, blue and yellow collars -- shirts often on top of turtlenecks which ruffled in a dandy style. This mixed imaginatively with strong and wide open collars -- that again added the feeling of exuberant layering.
Shoulders, too, were given emphasis.
Long coloured horizontal bars on the front, which joined the shoulders, worked brilliantly -- and resembled the straps that held a cape in place.
But Simons is a master of subversion.
There were no capes here, and though many of the looks harked back to yesteryear, they remained contemporary and in the spirit of his intellectual style.
A recurrent motif was a knitted face on a geeky-looking sweater; instead of hair, it sported a question mark.
It was an appropriate symbol for the indefatigable designer and current creative director of Christian Dior, who always surprises and never seems to stop questioning fashion.
-- The Associated Press