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Fall 2012 Menswear: Highlights From Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks

Music, military, and individualist themes fueled the European collections

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A model walks the runway during the Kris Van Assche Menswear Autumn/Winter 2012 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Les Beaux-Arts de Paris on January 20th, 2012.

"Geek chic gets punk rock," one reviewer praised Kris Van Assche's Menswear collection – but actually, "Kraftwerkian" might be the operative term for this sterile yet eminently wearable collection. Known for his bleeding-edge tailoring skills, Van Assche accrued a regiment of immaculately manicured men to parade his latest inspiration: work uniforms of different walks of life, presented in contrasting volumes. For all the tweaks to fit and silhouette, bursts of color like the cobalt blue sweater wrap (fitted with a belt) provided the most intriguing and androgynous highlights.

Gallery by Colleen Nika

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Louis Vuitton

A model walks the runway at the Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2012 fashion show during Paris Menswear Fashion Week on January 19th, 2012.

Marc Jacobs' Fall 2012 collection for Louis Vuitton was literally all over the map, but its most interesting moments were born of Far East ideals. The zig-zag kimonos, sensibly done in slate gray and navy, were the perfect eccentric outlier for an otherwise level-headed collection. Grammy red carpet dreams are made of statement pieces like this.

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3.1 Phillip Lim

A model walks the runway during the 3.1 Phillip Lim Menswear Autumn/Winter 2012 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Passage du Desir – BETC on January 19th, 2012.

Exploring the psyche of Sixties' cultural rebels Rude Boys, proto-punks, and their ilk Phillip Lim turned out a tricky collection of unusually proportioned duffle coats and sweaters, some worn as shawls. More adventurous dressers might pull off a few of these unconventional head-to-toe-looks, but anyone can incorporate the long leather sash belts into their wardrobe for a subtle twist on normalcy.

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Gucci

A model walks the runway at the Gucci Autumn/Winter 2012 fashion show during Milan Menswear Fashion Week on January 16th, 2012.

Traditionally, Gucci's womenswear collections specialize in sex. Their men's? Swagger. But with Frida Giannini piloting the Italian luxury empire for another season, Fall 2012 was also dangerously romantic, with velvet touches, a glam masculine palette and deep paisley patterns accenting smoking jackets. Drake, Kanye and their modern noir-crazed peers craving dark decadence will surely come calling.

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Givenchy

A model walks the runway during the Givenchy Menswear Autumn/Winter 2012 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 20th, 2012.

Givenchy Fall 2012 was a gothic but athletic tour de force. If  Trent Reznor became a ninja, he might turn to Riccardo Tisci to design his uniform. Much of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe conveyed here translated spectacularly to the women's Spring 2012 Couture collection, presented a week later. Case in point? The omnipresent nose rings, which triggered excited discussion about a body piercing revival.

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