A suit is a set of outerwear garments made of the same fabric. These are the boundaries of a suit. It is within these limits that designers have stretched their imagination. They have experimented with fabric and cut, form and colour, function and customer; what will a man’s first suit look like next autumn?
Acne answered with sharp lines and ankle length trousers, dominating streaks of colour with beige, black and battleship grey. Kris Van Assche replaced buttons with zips, encasing the wearer in a dark armour to brave the city in. A grey sweatsuit opened the show at Viktor and Rolf – a playful take on the gentlemen’s staple. Acting as a canvas for the season’s other big trends, shoulder to shoe red was seen at Viktor and Rolf and Dior Homme, whilst plaid patterned two-pieces across a number of shows; Vivienne Westwood, Z Zegna and Kenzo contributed to the popularity of perpendicular lines in copious colours.
If you fancy your lines without an intersection, look to the stripes of the season. From blocks of colour at Marni and Walter Van Beirendonck to the wide bands at Iceberg and the slim bars at Emporio Armani, there is a thickness of line for all. Wear beneath triangular prints as seen at Kenzo or make like the models at Dolce & Gabbana and pair with turn-ups in a corresponding hue.
Sleek sportswear collided with tailoring to create urban, engineered looks across multiple collections. Interest was added to pared-down looks via structured cuts, padded gilets and hints of colour amongst the muted tones. At Yves Saint Laurent, slim fitting silhouettes were emphasised by the exaggerated proportions of the coats sloping over them, whilst at Lanvin, close-cut jackets were juxtaposed by the baggy trousers beneath them. Amish undertones surfaced at Jil Sander, where quilting brought another dimension to the understated shapes. With skinny trousers perhaps unable to meet the needs of the modern man, large pockets sat below the hems of jackets at Giuliano Fujiwara.
Schoolyard attire influenced many a catwalk look. Cable knit blazers and Fair Isle duffel coats updated the uniform of casualwear at Junya Watanabe. Fair Isle prints were also seen at Topman Design, Henrik Vibskov and Raf Simons. The latter played with maximal shapes and simple detailing, cropping a duffel coat and using colourful toggles to draw the eye. Jonny Johansson took a postmodern approach to crew neck sweatshirts at Acne – ‘Paris’ overlaid a graphic of the Statue of Liberty whilst ‘New York’ was signified by an image of the Eiffel Tower. Dolce & Gabbana embraced this playful attitude to the extreme with their colour-fuelled D&G line, where bright hi-tops were nonchalantly paired with tweed blazers. They nailed coolness to a polo-neck tee. Vivienne Westwood had a more art student playing public schoolboy feel to her show – tuck a patterned jumper into a pair of tartan trousers, add a bowtie and brown leather belt and style with slick hair and dark lips.
The seventies were the go-to decade for the inspiration behind countless shows. Think paisley prints, a touch of glamour and authentic fabrics, such as suede and shearling. Polo necks made an appearance in numerous guises: they were cosy as cable knits at Z Zegna, subtle beneath colour-matching coordinates at Acne and rock’n’roll under big shaggy coats at Gucci. Roberto Cavalli gave the most literal take on the time with his ultra-fitted jackets, shimmery suits and safari shirts. For a more modern translation, look to Prada’s lurex layers or hint at the era with peaked lapels, belted knitwear and double breasted suits.
For eco-credentials and pieces ‘proudly remade in London’, look to NEWGEN recipient Christopher Raeburn; his new British line sees him reworking dead stock from Melton wool into desirable street style creations. London’s other young designers aesthetically followed suit with pieces that were either recycled or had a pieced together feel to them. Martine Rose’s menswear collection featured recycled wool mulch fashioned into cropped jumpers and coats. Textured knitwear reigned at James Long, where grey and pink threads hung loose from big cable knits.
So many of the choices we make in our everyday lives are tough or dull. It is therefore all the more important to enjoy the ones that are fun and frivolous; how do you want to look as you celebrate the first fallen leaves of a new decade? Would you like to appear sharp or street? Do you care to indulge with shearling and suede or is the austerity of the Amish more your thing? Are you one for upcycling the old or starting afresh with modern fabrics? All these questions and more lie ahead of you – take comfort in the ample time you have to decide.
Words by Julia O’Doherty
Tagsacne, Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani, gucci, Henrik Vibskov, kenzo, Kris Van Assche, Viktor and Rolf, vivienne westwood,