Spring Summer 2013 Menswear Highlights from Paris by Style.com

“There is a time to be very serious and very sombre and embrace sobriety,” remarked Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. “And there is also a time to be fun and happy and exciting. That is what I wanted to try and do with this collection,” explained the designer, as he sent ‘eye-popping metallics’ and ‘fuchsia-shaded foil’ down Burberry Prorsum’s Spring Summer 2013 runway, in a collection entitled Come Rain or Shine.

It turns out Mr. Bailey was not alone in his thinking. Infectious optimism underwrote an array of SS13 Men’s collections, from the launch of London’s first dedicated Menswear schedule with Prince Charles, until the metallic Slinky’s fell on Thom Browne’s much discussed presentation in Paris.

Menswear has earned itself much commercial validity in recent times and it almost felt as if designers were celebrating. Collections moved brazenly forward with silhouette, colour and print, accentuated by the exuberant smiles of buyers and critics alike.


 Menswear has earned itself much commercial validity in recent times and it almost felt as if designers were celebrating 


“Men are ready for colour, they are buying colour right now” revealed Eric Jennings, VP and Men’s Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Colour continues to perform very well for Mr Porter,” echoed editor-in-chief Jeremy Langmead to Business of Fashion editor Imran Amed. Gucci creative director Frida Giannini let her collection do the talking, sending suiting down the runway in a ‘chromatic rush’ of leaf green, burnt yellow, dashing crimson and eventually, electric shades of blue.

Donatella Versace clearly believed it was time for some glamour, sending her man of the season – “part Rocky, part Elvis, part Mr. T.” – down the catwalk in little more than mesh underwear and gladiator sandals. Whilst admittedly, the presentation was intended to re-launch the brand’s underwear & swimwear offering, the avant garde styling made a particularly strong case for the bold new direction men’s fashion is taking.



(L-R) Versace, Gucci (Style.com)


On his collection for Lanvin – which, amongst many dichotomies, explored the relationship between Python & Nylon – Lucas Ossendrijver made the comment: “It’s less linear, it’s less about a dictate, it’s more versatile. I think men today want different things, they don’t want just one uniform. This season it’s not just about influences,” he continued, “it’s about a wardrobe. And within that wardrobe we tried to respond to needs, because it’s all about reality in the end.”

Though speaking specifically of the Lanvin approach, Mr. Ossendrijver nailed what was to become almost a mantra for the season: the needs of men have never been so diverse. Interest in men’s fashion is reaching crescendo, and in turn, it has never been more necessary for men to differentiate themselves in the way that they dress. The possibilities are endless.

At Louis Vuitton, the possibilities manifested themselves in a technical marriage of neoprene and cashmere. Alongside neon windbreakers destined for the Vuitton cup, Kim Jones sent out a basic black jacket fashioned entirely of Crocodile. The men’s style director let slip to Cathy Horyn that Vuitton sold 10 crocodile coats last season at roughly $100,000 each, testament to both the strength of the men’s market and the enduring relevance of hyper-luxury.


 It’s less about a dictate, it’s more versatile. Men today want different things, they don’t want just one uniform. This season it’s about a wardrobe 


Speaking of hyper-luxury, LVMH’s Berluti made noise for all the right reasons. Alessandro Sartori’s second ready-to-wear season drew heavily on the hand: prints drawn by hand, hand-blocked on fabrics woven by hand, luxury so rarefied and demanding that it can only be produced in frighteningly small amounts (Style.com).

The presentation took place in the gardens of the Palais Royal, where guests were invited to discover leathers, suede’s, and denim pieces among the shrubbery. The event came just weeks after LVMH confirmed its acquisition of family-owned French made-to-measure tailor Arnys, which will give the Berluti brand a couture-level suiting service and flagship on rue de Sevres, Paris.



(L-R) Lanvin, Louis Vuitton (Style.com)


Visual interpretations of the men’s Spring Summer 2013 collections proved relatively simple. Shine prevailed, in the form of overt metallics, shimmery silks and lashings of decorative gold at Versace. The use of colour reached fever pitch, whether it was preppy checks at Tom Browne, muted retro hues at Prada or the all-out-assault that was Gucci.

Print could be found in the least likely of places – Rick Owens comes to mind – just as more restrained collections by Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein championed innovative approaches to tailoring and technological wizardry in textiles and construction. At the former, Armani used a hybrid of paper, metal and silk in the place of linen. At the latter, Italo Zuchelli re-imagined iconic denim jackets in butter-soft suede and re-fashioned slight tuxedos with mesh lapels.

Of the Armani collection, Stefano Tonchi made the quip: “It’s very difficult to do wearable, normal clothes that look different from the ones you already have in your closet. So in men’s, it’s very much about proportion and details like the texture of a fabric.” Whilst perhaps a statement for the ages when it comes to menswear, it surmised a bold, daring and utterly uplifting Spring Summer 2013 schedule, where innovating the ordinary reined supreme.



To further investigate Menswear on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- How to Reach the Digital Affluent Male
- Men: The New Luxury Big Spenders?
- Menswear AW12: Extreme Luxury in Climatic Austerity


About the author

Sophie Doran

Creative Strategist, Digital

Sophie Doran is currently Senior Creative Strategist, Digital at Karla Otto. Prior to this role, she was the Paris-based editor-in-chief of Luxury Society.

Prior to joining Luxury Society, Sophie completed her MBA in Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on luxury brand dynamics and leadership, whilst simultaneously working in management roles for several luxury retailers.