On our visit to the menswear portion of the Capsule show in Paris last week, we noticed several emerging themes—while vintage and customization hold a place of honor, along with knitwear, the most significant newsflash seems to be the return of prints (in color!), and a resurgence of short-hemmed pants for summer 2013.
Beyond basic customization are the silkscreen-processed pieces made by the audacious Sangue, our most thrilling discovery. Backed by a subversive artist based in southern Italy, Angelo, Sangue employs a unique technique to make chameleon-like T-shirts and shorts. Patterns range from traditionally painted ceramic tiling on houses and stone walls to natural scenery and plants, leaves and wood details. His clothes work like the pieces of a puzzle, constructed by putting a cut pattern on a surface, taking a picture of it and printing it on the T-shirt pulled taut over a hand-made canvas on which the screen process is applied.
The process as intriguing as the results, the effect is stunning and the shirts really look like they could seamlessly blend right back in with the background they were inspired by. Started only a couple of months ago, Sangue met a great success at Capsule, attracting distributors from all over the world.
Japan brought many young designers and interesting newcomers, most of them working with natural fibers. Among them, No No Yes, the "leather tailor laboratory" based in Tokyo, presented delightful printed, bleached and tie-dyed leathers, as well as artistic, half-erased patterns blending black letters, animals figures and exploding yellow sunflowers. Along with the leather jackets the line comprises unisex tunics treated and destroyed with an all-over wash for a semi-transparent finish (the women's version has a thin, knotted elastic belt). Spring/Summer 2013 will also include a sleeveless vest in ultra-smooth leather which can be used as a scarf or turned into a shoulder bag or whatever the wearer feels like.
Also washed and distorted was the natural, casually elegant monochromatic-gray line by the Kobe-based Ryu. Working only with natural fibers like linen and cotton, the designer processes them for an aged look. His line features towel-like cotton T-shirts and graceful, almost-threadbare cardigans as well as beautiful jacquards for hoodies. Each pieces showcases Ryu's impeccable attention to detail and finishing, from the cut of the lapels of the sport vests to the thumb holes on sweater sleeves.
The new line of crafted clothes by ALF in Kojima—the birthplace of Japanese jeans—is also made with natural material. In this case, however, the designer works them in order to obtain beautiful, shiny finishes, ultra-soft indigos or structured roughness for a series that evokes Asian work suits, all in blue.
Demonstrating a sense of French chic, Monsieur Lacenaire revisits the classic men's wardrobe with knitwear techniques and luxurious Egyptian cotton. The brand specializes in what they call "knot tricks," playing with matching its knit cardigans with the knotted wool belt of its chino pants. Upon closer inspection you realize that the belts aren't actually removable accessories, but are part of the waistband on the trousers. This season Monsieur Lacenaire is mostly focused on the revival of the old "k-way" set-up on hoodies, allowing them to be folded into a reversible pocket on the back so it can be carried as a purse, instead of the deigned drape over the shoulders.
Another example of French hipster chic is Tigersushi Furs which was launched with the success of the famous Tigersushi electro music record label with the purpose to dress that sound. In the concept store in the Parisian Marais, unisex tops, navy striped shirts and short-hemmed pants are displayed along with vinyl records.
At the shoe booth we fell for the lovely, original and colorful sneakers from Topman, which go well with the new eccentric line of garments comprising painted-like printed flowers bombers and long knotted sweaters. Also noteworthy were Mark McNairy's UK-made dress shoes with colored soles and animal-hair and leather uppers.