It's a confusing time for fashion. Indeed, it's a confusing time for the world as a whole. That's been reflected in lots of the collections we've seen the season - the mood seems to lean towards mishmashing, towards mixing and clashing, towards deliberate waywardness and haphazardness. As if aware that there are no clear answers, designers have embraced that the way forward is to embrace disorder. J.W. Anderson did it in London by clashing together different time periods and treating signatures of different decades with lightness and irreverence. In Paris, Hermes and Dior Homme did it by combining ultra formality with ultra relaxation. What do men want? To look modern and futuristic? Or nostalgic and traditional? To be masculine and strong, or delicate and romantic? No one seems sure. So, and as an apt closing note on a season that has been all about uncertainty (given the climate how could it be about anything else?) Alber Elbaz and Luca Oseendrijver offered a collection that loosely covered all bases, and toyed with the many contradictory elements that are making up menswear at the moment.
So just as there were plays on tradition with uniform-inspired pieces and military coats, there were nods to the now (the styling in particular riffed on the un-obsequious way men today wear clothes, see the shirts layered over zip-through tops or, the strongest look, a leather and snakeskin bomber worn over a checked tailored jacket). Furthermore, there were glances to the future in the minimal, clean cuts on later looks, the slick skins and the flashes of metallic. All in all, the collection was both opulent and basic, dandyish and utilitarian, luxurious and irreverent. That's not to say it was confused, more that it revelled in confusion. A beautiful mess.