So, another series of Men’s Fashion Weeks has come and gone in the blink of an eye; three days of catwalks, street style snaps, and menswear designs ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.
While heritage menswear brands were thin on the ground this time around, London, Milan and Paris continue to be great platforms for independent and under-the-radar designers. This year also saw a marked increase in dual-gender catwalks, and in brands using female models to showcase male looks – a development that hints at the luxury industry’s increasing interest in gender-free fashion. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend in itself takes off over the next couple of seasons.
Gender politics aside, those brands showing put in strong showings, with collections that are as sophisticated, chic and inventive as ever. Here are some of our highlights, both of the brands and trends to look out for this autumn.
1. All oversized everything
The trend for oversized outerwear has been around for a couple of seasons now, but this January you could have be forgiven for thinking that you – and everyone else around you – had shrunk. There’s been hardly any conventionally proportioned clothing in sight. From Lou Dalton’s LFWM collaboration with John Smedley, with its huge woollen raglan coats and big baggy knits, to E Tautz’s ever-popular Field Trousers in crimson and terracotta gabardine, the catwalks were awash with men draped in voluminous clothes. Cerruti’s AW19 collection, designed by Jason Basmajian and unveiled at Paris Fashion Week, was perhaps the sleekest execution of the trend this season; with pin-sharp tailoring in soft fabrics mixed with louche sportswear, see above.
How to supersize next season
Off the catwalk, the key to this trend is to keep your look relaxed; embrace the generous proportions of a big raglan-sleeve overcoat, and don’t fuss with the rest of your clothes. A big checked jacket looks best if you’ve got a form-fitting merino rollneck, or slim-fit chambray button down underneath. And don’t be afraid to get into generously cut pleated trousers either – they work a treat for smart-casualwear.
2. Fair Isle knits
There’s been no shortage of folky-looking Fair Isle knits for the past few days. Alongside Lou Dalton’s aforementioned collaboration with John Smedley, which had Fair Isle V-neck knits a-plenty, Kent & Curwen AW19 went big on the stuff (above). In one of the brand’s strongest collections since creative director Daniel Kearns took the helm two years ago, rich camel and burgundy fair isles were given an unashamedly preppy treatment beneath huge faux-military greatcoats and college blazers. K&C also played with exploded diamond patterns on knits, for a throwback beatnik look, paired with cropped checked trousers and flannels.
Let your young fogey out
This ‘chic-ified young fogey’ trend is big news. In some ways its simply an extension of hipster fashion; with vintage menswear steals simply being replaced with modern ‘reimaginings’ (to quote Kent & Curwen) of retro fashions. If you’re tempted to experiment, an easy win is to swap out jeans or chinos for some tailored trousers in charcoal or navy, and to layer a fair isle knit over the top. It’ll add a vintage edge to your outfit and look suitably smart without nearing pastiche territory.
3. Bold block colour
Don’t panic, this isn’t as scary as it sounds, but bold colours are definitely back on the menu next winter. Following several winter seasons of earthy, understated and closely tonal colours prevailing, plenty of brands have just shown collections that have made confident use of block colours, primarily crimson, royal blue, forest green and sunny yellow. E Tautz is the obvious example (see above). Designer Patrick Grant broke his tailored pieces up and mixed oxblood jackets with navy Oxford bags, and blue gingham checked blazers with leaf green wide-leg chinos. Oliver Spencer and Craig Green all did something similar – playing with separates set against each other in rich, saturated tones.
How to pump up the colour this autumn
Colour can be an intimidating thing to work into your own wardrobe, so this trend might be something to work up to. Experimenting with a suede trucker jacket or bomber in a confident shade of red or blue is a good place to start. Try a simple design and let it pop against dark jeans or chinos and a laid back jersey T-shirt. If you like it, swap the jeans out for some royal blue trousers or wide-leg cords in a similarly confident colour. It’s a look that’s sure to turn heads – in the best possible way.
Come Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks, there were a wealth of designer brands debuting intriguing technical field jackets in luxe materials. Forget what the moniker ‘field jacket’ implies – we’re not talking outdoorsy, shapeless, thread-bare jackets here. Rather, we’re talking modern, fitted field jackets – some with hoods and architectural-looking pockets – almost like parkas or slimmed down duffle coats. Z Zegna had plenty of these on show in different gloss leathers (above), and Hermès and Ami Paris, too. The sloaney weekend staple has never looked so sharp.
In the field
If you’re looking for a weekend-worthy statement piece, a field jacket is just the thing. Suited to deepest, darkest winter, this is a coat to layer up with chunky cable-knit rollnecks, gilets and thick cords or jeans. Finish with commando-sole ankle boots for an appropriately rugged look.
Camel, biscuit and cream
Brown, dare we say it, is the new grey. Rich, warm brown tones have been an increasingly common sight in luxury menswear for a few seasons now, and their popularity is showing no sign of cooling off any time soon. Designer behemoths like Ralph Lauren and Brunello Cucinelli both showed AW19 collections at Milan Fashion Week Men’s that made sophisticated use of earthy colours – way more so than navies and greys. Brunello (above) has gone to town with tonal cords and butter-soft cashmere sportswear, while Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label collection is awash with velvet and flannel suiting.
Brown in town?
The way to make any tonal look work for you is texture. Avoid bold patterns and instead choose soft, mottled fabrics with melange finishes. The different yarns in melange fabrics help similar tones to harmonise, rather than jar. Think camel rollneck under biscuit or fawn suit, or chocolate suede bomber with tobacco brown cords and a cream knitted polo. You can apply this trend to formalwear or your casual wardrobe alike – see Mssrs Lauren and Cucinelli for masterclasses in both.
Leather, lots of leather
If last winter was the season of shearling coats, this winter is playing host to the long-line Matrix-style leather coat. Berluti’s are particularly swish (as you’d expect of a brand with roots in shoemaking) with everything from a big black leather duffle coat to a full cognac-coloured patinated leather suit (pictured above). Elsewhere, Hermès’ collection featured some stunning full-cut pleated leather trousers in bright mustard and indigo, and some unstructured ruby red calfskin topcoats too. Even Dunhill got in on the act, with a couple of gloss black leather overshirts and a classic leather car coat on the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week.
Get your coat
There’s not a lot to this trend; if (like me) you’ve always secretly wanted to be a super-villain now is the hour. Find a long leather coat you like and rock it. It might take a bit of experimentation to avoid a 1980s drug dealer vibe at first, but hey, that’s half the fun. Opt for a smart knee-length design in dark brown for a (relatively) classic option that shouldn’t date. You could layer this over everything from a suit to a sweatshirt when the mood takes you. Navy, black or rich ruby-reds would also be sharp choices.