Les Hommes are back, and not in black. After several seasons showing by appointment, Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch returned their line to the runway. And while these designers usually favor the kind of dark hues that have made Karl Lagerfeld a fan, today brought a sudden shock of color. "It's really a moment for us to explore color. We need some fun," the duo explained. Never mind that Milan, at least so far, has gone out of its way to embrace a more somber palette, led by Raf Simons and his fantasia of black leather. These two hommes were bent on teal and cranberry.
They'd been thinking of Peruvian dressing, "high in the mountains," they said, trekkers bundled up above the waist and spindly below. It made for a kind of Montana moment: Models swaddled in layers of chunky, multicolored knits veined with loose cables resembling double helixes, topped off with scarves and, as often as not, more sweaters. The knits piled on top of suit pants sometimes, but the whole thing made more sense when they came atop python jeans, or Milan's umpteenth leather pant of the day. This isn't a look to go halfway with. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say—which almost, in a funny way, explained the vaguely revolutionary berets the models wore, and the pirouette spins a few executed mid-catwalk.
The line's new stylist, Jodie Barnes, lent a bonkers coherence to the lot. And left-field as the collection may have felt—both for Les Hommes and for Fall '12 so far—it had its feet securely on the ground. "It's the ultimate shopping experience," Vandebosch said. "It's all about garments."