At Kenzo, feminine elements get a manly twist
Sat Jan 24, 2:00 PM EST

PARIS – Veteran women's wear designer Antonio Marras made his menswear debut at Kenzo on Saturday with a solid collection that gave feminine elements like flowers and embroidery a masculine twist.

Russia was the show's inspiration, and much of the line evoked Soviet soldiers' uniforms, from overcoats with subtle metalwork to leggings that recalled army-issue thermal underwear. Models marched the runway in shearling hats with ear flaps.

Like other designers who have shown in Paris over previous days, Marras created heavily layered looks that played with texture, volume and especially length. Often, the sleeves of dress shirts peeked several inches (centimeters) out from beneath wooly layers of sweaters and coats.

Pants, on the other hand, were cut short, to above the ankle.

Marras softened the military silhouette with subtle finishing usually associated with ladies' wear like beading and embroidery — without compromising the collection's masculinity. Bold, graphic embroidery dressed up a toggle overcoat, while a sprinkle of white beads along the shoulders and lapel of a blazer evoked the start of a Russian snowstorm.

Oversized flowers — one of Kenzo's signature prints — were emblazoned a chunky sweater. But because the blossoms were in the collection's subdued, smoky palette and not the women's line usual eye-popping colors, they managed to look quite manly.

"I tried to add this special touch that embroidery gives, but in a really masculine way," the Italian designer said through an interpreter. He said he was careful to "avoid the precious, vulgar side of embroidery."

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