"It's not modernity that's important," said Alber Elbaz. "It's relevance." Think about that for a moment. It's a more inclusive idea than plain old wha's happenin'. So Lanvin's latest menswear show could open with a classical pianist playing live, then segue into techno, because it fit into a relevant scheme of things—a combination of the classic and the contemporary—devised by Elbaz and his men's designer, Lucas Ossendrijver.

Fall 2012 is all about the suit. That much we understand already. But Elbaz and Ossendrijver felt their guys weren't interested in suits as we know them, so they took them somewhere else. It was most obvious in a silhouette that pumped out the shoulders and drew in the waist, an almost cartoonish but utterly irresistible exaggeration of male power. But the designers wanted something that felt relevant to the urban environment of the guy they were attempting to attract, so they went to the world of sport. A lot of the high-top footwear looked like boxing boots. The models, with their oversize coats thrown across their shoulders and scarves draped round their necks, could easily have been ready to dance into the ring.

A potentially more influential proposition was the puffa jacket hybridized with formalwear. Forty years ago, the late Yves Saint Laurent, a touchstone for Elbaz, proposed parkas over evening dresses for the outdoor opera season at Glyndebourne in England. It blew people's minds at the time. This Lanvin collection updated the idea in a masculine way to great effect. Maybe not mind-blowing this time round, but the capper on a particularly convincing collection.