A mass of calm had been damping much of men's fashion week for quite some time now and Paul Helber's breath of fresh energy came in one of this season's best-looking, cohesive collections ever.
At Louis Vuitton, a man never should subject himself to selfish idleness or rest. Don't frown, for the Louis Vuitton man is well-traveled and has drank much more culture and world savvy than most of his contemporaries who lounge and dine. If hammocks seem inviting to the disciples of D&G, a jet plane is just as welcoming to the explorers of Louis Vuitton.
With a round-up of basic spring influences such as Asian prints and tailoring, sporty outerwear and safari-ready button downs and footwear, it's a dizzying invitation to adventure. Heavy duty nylon vests with sky-high collars go for dual functionality as protection from altering weathers and winning style points. Loose, silk trousers that don't fly too far from the legs provide enough room for movement and elegance. Long, fluid scarves double as sartorial and functional necessities. Translucent, discreetly monogrammed (courtesy of such magnificent prints) silk button downs paired with solid colored above-the-knee shorts and dual strapped sandals looked game for just about anything: from momentary relaxations to casual business meetings somewhere down humid Asian islands. Round-neck sweaters, rolled up and fastened with strips of belts, thick military-inspired belts and dark colored loose trousers may have been the simplest of looks but one of the most rugged this season. Parachute jackets with drooping shoulders provided a break from all the sharp tailoring by way of vests and smart suit jackets. But the best looks from the collection were the ones with chunky, collared parkas in glossy finishes. A personal favorite was the look worn by AJ Abualrub, sporting an almost liquid cyan parka over a gauzy black sweater, blue green shirt, well worn-in slim black trousers tucked in high-cut black sneakers: it's tough, chic and probably Spring 2011's most handsome look so far.
If Raf Simons' treatment of color made others feel like rubbing their eyes, Paul Helber's mastery of hues was a great pick me up after a tiring look at creams, navy blues and whites. Mustard yellow to shots of cyan to lilacs tinted with enough grey then to neutrals like off-white, white, black, chocolate browns and dove grey gave just about enough energy to feel hopeful about distant travails to varying destinations.
It's a modern nomads' dream to fit into these genius creations and if fashion was to be taken as education, students ought to learn that Louis Vuitton's Paul Helber is a professor of world geography, physical education and the finest of arts.