06/28/2012 04:30 EDT | Updated 08/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Dries Van Noten dons the camouflage in a menswear show of contradictions

PARIS - Dries Van Noten is a man of contradictions.

No show demonstrates this better than his surprising menswear collection Thursday for spring-summer 2013.

Camouflage print featured on shorts, pants, shirts and jackets — sometimes even just on strips.

It made the models look like they should run off and hide.

Then fencing gear — such as quilted, white breastplates, and jackets with sword-proof velcro lapels — said "I'm ready for attack."

There was no middle ground: silhouettes were either unstructured and loose or tight and tailored.

Colours were either muted or in flashes of unapologetic electric blue, orange, ochre and canary.

One ensemble had it all: a see-through fencing shirt in blue and white branded with a horizontal strip of camouflage.

To add to the symphony of confusion, this sheer shirt was paired to clash with thick check plaid trousers.

There were some very salable looks: one trendy oversized black, blue and grey knit sweater — a nod back to the 1980s — is sure to be a hit.

Another extremely simple baggy grey sweater and assorted cardigan was pure elegance.

So with such a strong collection — and all its camouflage — what does the designer need to hide from?

"I'm not hiding from anything," said Van Noten backstage, confidently. "That's why I put it on a white catwalk."


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