Saint Laurent designer centre stage at Paris menswear shows

Men's fashion comes to the Paris catwalks from Wednesday with all eyes on the first Saint Laurent menswear collection by Hedi Slimane, famed for his super-tight, skinny tailoring, before the spotlight moves to haute couture.

Credited with revolutionising menswear during his stint at Dior from 2000 to 2007, Slimane teamed jackets cut short with narrow trousers in an androgynous, pencil-thin look copied by mass-market designers worldwide that also spread to the rock world.



Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme Spring-Summer 2007

Stars Mick Jagger and Pete Doherty went on stage in Dior Homme, and even legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld shed 45 kilos (99 pounds) to be able to slide into a Slimane suit.

As one recent tweet put it, "Now that Hedi Slimane is doing menswear again, does this mean 'manorexia' is back in?"

After Slimane made a first outing for Saint Laurent last October with a womenswear collection, the fashion world is eagerly awaiting his first men's collection.

But fashionistas will have to be patient, as Slimane's autumn-winter 2013/14 collection will be the last to be unveiled on Sunday.

In the meantime, over five days from Wednesday, some 50 shows will include Hermes (whose designer is Veronique Nichanian), Dior (Kris van Assche), Lanvin (Lucas Ossendrijver), Berluti (Alessandro Sartori) and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Fans of Louis Vuitton (Kim Jones) will be able to see the collection live on the label's website from their mobile or tablet.

Raf Simons, artistic director of Dior's womenswear collections, will also present his vision for men next winter under his own label.

Then, from Monday, haute couture will take over. Haute couture is a protected appellation in France, awarded on strict criteria including the amount of work carried out by hand and in-house, and the share of pieces made-to-measure.

Two new houses won the coveted status in December. Alexis Mabille and Maison Martin Margiela will present their women's spring-summer collections alongside Raf Simons for Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, as well as Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Versace and Elie Saab.

One notable absentee will be Givenchy and its artistic director Riccardo Tisci. The house, which belongs to the LVMH galaxy, has announced that there will be no catwalk or showroom and spoken of the need to "take a breath".

While major fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin have stopped couture in order to concentrate on luxury ready-to-wear, Givenchy says there is no question of it bowing out of couture or closing.

Eleven others including the emerging Bouchra Jarrar of France, Yiqing Yin of China and the French duo Lefranc.Ferrant, will take part as invitees, under an arrangement that allows other houses a share of the limelight.

Designer Herve L. Leroux, who shot to fame in the 1990s for his bandage dresses under his original name Herve Leger before losing the right to use his name, meanwhile, will present his collection on mannequins in his workshop, an economic option that also allows journalists and buyers to see the painstaking workmanship up close.

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