Newcomers revive men's fashion in Paris

A trio of newcomers breathed new life into Paris menswear recently, with displays that ran the gamut from sober minimalism to Gothic excess.

Riccardo Tisci, who has been heading the women's division at Givenchy since 2005, presented his first men's collection for the French label.

Spanish designer Rosemary Rodriguez made her entry into menswear at Thierry Mugler, while Cerruti gambled on Belgium's Jean-Paul Knott to revive its flagging fortunes.

Countless designers have tried — and failed — to resurrect Cerruti, which has struggled financially since its sale by Italian founder Nino Cerruti in 2000. The label now belongs to private equity firm MatlinPatterson, which intends to revitalize the brand.

Knott wisely stuck to what he does best: flawless tailoring. Stripping his palette to basic black, white and gray, he showed crisp suits with concealed buttons that were paired with slightly translucent raincoats and simple gray espadrilles.

It made for a pleasant palate cleanser amid the glut of exotica that has invaded the men's spring-summer collections.

Tisci took more risks with his Givenchy collection, sending out models in leather shorts worn with cropped leggings and zip-up boots festooned with gladiator-style straps.

Rodriguez kept it simple at Mugler with crisp suits, some featuring contrasting piping at the pockets and lapels, and white combat trousers with zippered pockets.

But an icy blue crocodile skin waistcoat with a kimono collar was a reminder of the flamboyance of the house's founder, who has retired from ready-to-wear to focus on his hugely successful line of perfumes, which include Angel and Alien.

Elsewhere, both Kenzo and John Galliano drew inspiration from India, tapping into the current trend for ethnic-flavored fashion, as luxury groups focus their growth plans on emerging markets to counteract a slump in Western economies.