Spring/Summer 2011 Paris Menswear Trends

The Paris men’s shows have officially wrapped, and there were quite a number of surprises throughout the nearly week-long affair.

Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo gave us skull prints on paper shirts and flouncy man-skirts. John Galliano gave us Charlie Chaplin dead-ringers.

Timo Weiland is working to bring the backpack back to the wardrobes of dapper men, head-to-toe white looks (including a gas-like mask) were shown over at Givenchy; and fuchsia made it onto the runway at Raf Simmons.

In between, we saw styling and grooming that included everything from outlandish moustaches, long beards, and ponytails, to ascots, diminutive box hats, bundles of jewelry, and belts worn over suits.

A number of the trends that started in Milan spilled over into the Paris shows – namely a rise in more casual day looks and the use of lightweight fabrics. In some cases, such as in the Dior Homme, Raf Simmons, and Comme des Garcon collections, there seemed to be a women’s wear inspiration for many of the looks.

It will be interesting to see if some of the more daring looks make it into stores. A slew of floral separates and vibrant prints, along with long, printed scarves made it onto many a runway. Cropped tops (a la Alexander Wang for women), and lace-accented leather were also prominent. Overall, the boldness of a number of the major collections – including Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, and Dries Van Noten – points to an increased confidence in the fashion industry, which makes me all the more excited for the upcoming couture shows in July, and the ready-to-wear women’s shows in September.


There were a number of notable hits. Thom Browne strikes me as the most worthy of being singled out, given his ability to make looks that could easily be kitschy appear wearable and stylish.  Showing for the first time in Paris, Browne’s Spring/Summer 2011 line-up had a slew of his trademark business casual suits, complete with cropped pants and mid-wrist sleeved jackets.

While the same silhouette repeatedly emerged, the fabrics used ranged from the classic black to the bold, and included check and fish prints.  Not everyone can pull of a Thom Browne suit, but the American designer proved once again that even with a uniform-like collection, he can dress the avant-garde-prone just as stylishly as the conservative man looking for just a touch of spice, with breathable suits to wear to work in the summertime.