From printed leggings to casual suits, we round up some highlights from the autumn/winter 2018 men’s fashion weeks
Five highlights from the autumn/winter 2018 men’s fashion weeks
In January, while most of us were still reeling from our holidays, the men’s fashion circuit kicked into life, with shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York. Taking place a couple of months earlier than the women’s events, men’s fashion weeks are an important breeding ground for ideas on what the well-dressed man-about-town will be wearing when the cooler weather arrives later in the year. Admittedly, many of the ideas are far too outlandish to ever see the light of day on our shores; nonetheless, here are some bare-knuckle basics, potential trends and essential announcements that every man should know about.
(See main picture) With an increasingly young audience, it can hardly be a shock that fashion is now taking inspiration from club-goers. This season, plastic comes to the fore. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing – a famous party animal himself – opted for slick, short, plastic-belted trench coats splashed with colour, while at Maison Margiela, plastic appeared as patch pockets on boiler suits (another clubland stalwart) and as rain bonnets/pilot helmets. Over at Berluti, men wore double doses of shine with knee-length nylon anoraks over short-zipped jackets. A bold look if ever there was one.
Described by Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver as “the most unwanted and unloved garment that there is at the moment”, the suit is certainly having a hard time, with men increasingly opting for athleisure. The formality of the garment may be viewed by some as belonging to a bygone era but, thankfully, not everyone has given up on it yet. Ossendrijver made it the focus of his collection, and deliberately dressed it down, mixing a city trader checked two-button suit with a high-neck knit, polo shirt and high-top basketball boots. A clever twist was making an outdoorsy hunter’s jacket in the same suiting, worn over the top. Dior Homme went one better and carved high-waisted jackets sharply into the torso, with nifty doorstep buttons. At Maison Margiela, sheer technical skill met theatricality, as John Galliano crafted a cobalt blue suit cut entirely on the bias, which is so tricky to execute, it almost defies belief.
While women get to wear pieces designed to make a statement, menswear is usually a lot quieter, which is why it’s nice to see some attention-grabbing patterns for a change. Valentino stayed discreet with a tone on tone stitched tiger crawling down a coat, while Hermès, that bastion of quiet luxury, went for a jumper covered in an expansive mountain scene. One of fashion’s mavericks, Dries Van Noten, chose to make pattern the centrepiece of its collection, sending out an astonishing 60 looks, all with coats splashed with paint marbling in teals, yellows and even pinks.
With superhero films and anime seemingly taking over the world, it is no surprise to find menswear responding in kind. McQueen gave us shearling-collared belted outerwear, which just needs to be unbuckled from around the legs, and voila, it becomes a Batman cape. Comme des Garçons Homme Plus made a suit out of mismatched cartoon strips, which was then topped with a stitched fabric dinosaur head (as baffling as it was wonderful). However, it was Vetements that really nailed the urban anti-hero theme, with an oversized camo coat, headscarf worn over a baseball cap, and a T-shirt declaring: “Hi, I don’t care. Thanks.”
Kim Jones bows out from Louis Vuitton
When a designer delivers a last collection for a house, it always gets a bit emotional. This was the case at Kim Jones’s last show for Louis Vuitton. After his seven-year stint, it had all the makings of an end-of-an-era saga. Delivering a collection based on travel – which is fitting for a man heading out the door, as well as for a house that built its reputation on luggage – the show was an ode to the world’s best-dressed backpacker. Slick zip-throughs, windbreaker jackets and technical fabric trousers were over-layered with topographical imagery, shot by Jones himself. In colours echoing the natural world, ochres, fawns, stone greys and hints of mossy greens ran across raglan sleeve coats, snug shearling jackets and cosy sweaters. Even the satin-sheen tracksuit trousers felt like the perfect uniform for the urban jungle. Only Jones could present as entirely normal, printed leggings under shorts and hiking boots. After the show, he came out to a standing ovation, reiterating that these pieces will, no doubt, sell, if only as keepsakes.