Henrik Vibskov’s Shrink Wrap Spectacular

Cavemen-like models set a tone of modernity at the Danish designer's Paris show

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Against a backdrop lined with machine gears reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times bleached white, a parade of slipper-clad, bearded cavemen sleepwalk to the sound of a percussion march. This is how we are introduced to the Henrik Vibskov Autumn/Winter 2012 collection.

Vibskov’s models appear in sharp contrast to typical menswear models’ standards, hunched over with heads down. They wear some kind of futurist, helmet-like nightcap and carry bright, girlish handbags, their clothing maintaining a comfortable fluidity, from fabrics to cut to color.

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Wool dominates the collection from top to bottom, perhaps a nod to the designer’s Nordic heritage. Knit sweaters and jackets have the look of garments home-made and hand-knotted by the fireplace, while Vibskov brings back the marled and heathered effects on other pieces. Pants comprise mostly leggings, plus trousers with a Turkish-style dropped inseam. Huge overcoats sport pocket-like hoods and draped backs with zipper accents.

We came away from the collection thinking about the colors of Fauvism painting—mustard yellow, a range of browns, rusty reds and greenish blue. Vibskov seems to channeling a man out of the 1950s, but in a futuristic way. His is a modern man, daring enough to blend vaguely feminine accents—leggings, shoulder pads, handbags—into his wardrobe, and take risks with bouffant cuts and cosmonaut ensembles.

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Titled “The Shrink Wrap Spectacular,” the free-spirited collection seems to focus on contrasts—the combination of skinny cuts with extra-large pieces, the range from dark solids to zebra prints, clothes that go from day to night—as Vibskov blends styles and silhouettes from a wild variety of worlds.

With his cavemen models trudging through a mechanized set, the designer seems to present more of a raw archetype than yet another stereotype of modernity.