Julius Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

In the minute white-box proportions of Galerie Aboucaya, designer Tatsuko Horikawa unleashed his trademark dark, brooding silhouettes with side-slicked hair and whitened foreheads as he presented his spring-summer 2014 collection.

From the start, it was clear that there would be no seismic shift in these dark aesthetics: dark, monastic, stern plays on proportions within each look echoed to the Julius syllabus. Horikawa's only concession to the warmer months seemed to be the shortened coverage on arms and legs, a tank top here, a short there, a cowl neck jacket with mercifully short sleeves.
 
Despite its inherent charm and obvious meticulous attention, the collection felt a little too familiar, a road all too often traveled to really pack a visual punch. It's not that cunning details didn't abound in this lineup if one paid attention to them. Oh no, there was indeed plenty to look at: a strap across a leg here, zips down the side opening organic looking vents, an unexpectedly novel open-toe variation of a military boot. Buttery leathers were tortured within an inch of their lives to become second skins. A Rorschach print on a jacket was meticulously placed so as to create symmetries, and fascinated as it embodied the inspiration revealed by Horikawa backstage, "techno music and its imagery". Stacked bracelets further evoked electronic music visualized, while transparent mirror lenses on sunglasses made for the perfect neo-rave shades. 

Yet the ensembles felt formulaic, designed to cater to a particular undercurrent in menswear, one that feels more and more like an echo of its erstwhile powerful notes.

- Lily Templeton