Paris Denim Runway Highlights

This week we highlight the key denim looks to emerge from the Paris F/W 12 runway shows.

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten combined some of the season’s key trends in his F/W 12 collection with an indigo palette enlivened with tightly controlled brights. The designer once again turned to denim, albeit tackled as only Dries can, splashing a fresh selection of psychedelic graffiti laundries onto jackets, shirts and pants. Trucker jackets had a familiar feel reminiscent of his S/S 11 collection – but with cleanly dip-dyed sleeves and in a monochromatic palette. The more basic looks were given his utilitarian spin with slick coated pants teamed with officer jackets, creating a seamless fusion of slightly offbeat and certainly sophisticated.

Issey Miyake

Amidst the moody Edwardian themes this season, Issey Miyake presented an uplifting take on 90s grunge. The men’s design team at Miyake created the illusion of layering via a variety of techniques, assembling crisp denim fabrics against slouchy, boxy separates in the house’s signature pleated fabrics and updating denim assortments with painterly brushstrokes using a traditional Japanese technique. Tailored denim blazers and roomy cropped pants grounded the collection, while deconstructed outerwear jackets and flight suits (tied at the waist) provided a more contemporary feel.


Julius remained its same dark self, but offered a pared down, on-the-go collection, composed of ergonomic pants, deconstructed jackets and screen-printed pants. With this collection, designer Tatsuro Horikawa worked subtly, with long and flowing, but asymmetrical and oversized silhouettes. The use of matte coatings in almost all of the denim pieces paired simultaneously with the distressed leather jackets and tough industrial boots. The color palette used for this collection began with black and dark grays used in blocks, with off-white and splashes of greys highlighting the otherwise monochrome palette.

Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe certainly didn’t shock attendees at his F/W 12 runway show. The designer’s appetite for durable workwear seems unabated, yet each season he seems to drive the detailing forward and inject newness into key heritage items. Raw indigo denim featured more heavily this season and stark white topstitching – a nod to 30s deadstock railroad attire – adorned both jackets and jeans. Contrast reinforcements, details and pocket play took archival pieces into 2012 and dockyard styling gently pushed the hunting theme he loves so much into a slightly different arena.


Japanese brand Kolor is gaining increased recognition in the European market for its mix of casual elegance and eclectic, tactile fabrications. For F/W 12, the brand focussed on subtle flashes of laundered and sun-faded indigo to inject a quirky yet rustic quality to smarter velvets, pinstipes and wools. Sleek single-breasted blazers were updated with frayed chambray collars and a dapper outdoors vest was given a cinched denim back. Plackets, cuffs and clean patch-and-repair details gave this non-denim collection real indigo appeal.

Kris Van Assche

News emerged of Kris Van Assche’s collaborative capsule with Lee just days before his Paris runway show; blogs were buzzing with anticipation to see what the Belgian designer and head of Dior Homme would create for the jeanswear giant after Lee’s previous collaborations with Vivienne Westwood and PPQ. Van Assche stayed true to his sleek and contemporary attitude with a tight color palette and clean lines. However, clear archival workwear references were noted with the clinical chore shirt/jacket silhouette and vibrant Chinese blue as a key highlight color. The designer drew inspiration from uniforms, merging the attire of the working classes with that of the executives as a comment of the polarization of the classes.

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