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Thom Browne goes for spectacle at Paris Fashion Week

A model wears a creation for the Balmain men's Fall/Winter 2019/20 fashion collection presented in Paris, Friday Jan.18, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — Thom Browne provided the biggest spectacle on a relatively quiet day at Paris Fashion Week as some fashion houses decided to switch presentation dates or showing times to avoid Saturday’s yellow vest protesters who took to the streets in the French capital and beyond.

Here are some highlights of the day’s fall-winter menswear shows in Paris.

A QUIET SATURDAY

Dior Men quietly moved their Saturday-listed show to Friday after the Paris Fashion Federation held top level meetings with police over the threat posed by yellow vest protesters.

It was the movement’s 10th consecutive week of demonstrations but the first Paris Fashion Week date to coincide with them since they began Nov. 17. In previous weeks, yellow vest protesters had brought parts of France to a standstill and smashed luxury Parisian boutiques.

The protesters — known for the neon safety top they don — began demonstrating against President Macron’s fuel tax hike but shifted to encompass broader complaints against the French political system and the country’s elite.

Thom Browne moved its Saturday afternoon show to the morning, as did Rochas.

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THOM BROWNE’S BUBBLES

An off-kilter universe awaited guests at Thom Browne’s ever-inventive show that was covered in bubble wrap.

A highly-styled model with a giant white quiff, a sort of bubble version of Edward Scissor Hands, stepped out in an all-white, tight layered sartorial look consisting of a suit and tie, turned up pants and brogues.

He marched slowly past a long line of bubble wrapped dolls on sticks to an eccentric soundtrack that included the lyrics: “We wish we were a bubble man.”

What ensued in the 38-piece show was a motely array of designs.

Figure-hugging woolen dresses with fur cuffs bore trompe l’oeil images of a suit, shirt and tie. Deconstructed checks from several different-colored suits were sewn together, unraveling over the shoulder.

Cricket whites morphed into a skirt-and-pinstriped suit.

Little seemed to make sense in the gender-defying display but the sheer eccentricity of the proceedings somehow made it work.

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ROCHAS’ ATELIER

Federico Curradi, the creative director of Rochas menswear, was in an arty, literary mood this season.

On Saturday, the Italian designer led guests around an atelier space in Paris’ Left Bank for an immersive presentation of the fall-winter collection.

Editors walked past models who stood on books atop a table and saw objects such as wrapped-up sculptures, an old-fashioned print or a vintage candelabra that had melted wax to evoke writing into the wee hours.

The layered clothing styles had a softness and a dandy-like vibe. Literary quotes were written inside garments and Parisian scarves hung limply below a beret and above dark leather boots.

A long gray velvet jacket was ruffled nonchalantly at the sleeves, which caressed a pair of paint-flecked workers’ pants. A pocket hung down, as if slightly torn.

Curradi said he was inspired by the Paris-based artists Modigliani and Brancusi who worked and created masterpieces in settings just like this.

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HERMES’ LUXURY

Hermes has become a byword for simple, unpretentious luxury. Veteran menswear designer Veronique Nichanian proved this again Saturday in a classy, color-rich and masculine showing for fall.

There was no far-flung muse or gimmick, unlike in many Paris shows, simply because none was needed.

Nichanian has been at the helm of this family run business since, incredibly, 1988, and is an expert at letting the clothes do the talking.

A loose coat in midnight blue was paired tastefully with shimmering blue leather pants. Elsewhere, yellow leather pants in a carrot shape looked soft against a marl knit sweater.

Geometric motifs on leather bomber jackets, sexy sheeny shirts and sweaters were this season’s added ingredient. This geometry recurred in large, square utilitarian pockets on outerwear, oversize zippers or as motifs on bags.

It was on-trend, but never heavy handed.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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