The collections that caught our eye this season were the usual suspects; a few beautifully cut suits, some exciting uses of color, some new silhouettes and lots of pattern (especially plaid). The theme running through all of these is style.
Impeccable. Timeless. Classic. The proportions are spot on, the cuts are flawless. Probably the closest you can get to Bespoke off the rack. These clothes would look amazing on any man.
When it comes to menswear my theory is that you have to walk a thin line. Clothing can look cheezy, silly, thrashy, goofy, etc if it’s not styled properly or if it’s not on the right man. Same as women’s, but lets face it women have a bit more leeway. Therefore for most men it’s best to stick to clean lines and shapes, good tailoring and leave the “personal expression” to the accessories. The hair, watch, shoes and so on. Neil Barrett has provided some perfect pieces here for just this man. Not terribly exciting, but solid – giving the man the chance to be the most exciting part of the outfit, without fussy distractions or trendy bullshit.
So in contrast to the last designer we have Daks. These are the clothes for the next guy, the one whose got a little twinkle in his eye, whose a little on the fringe, a bit of an artistic /creative type. He doesn’t mind the sideways looks and is confident enough in his personal style that he can mix plaid and mohair. Not for everyone, but thankfully we have a few of these clever fellows wandering about and if you’re lucky you might spot one in the wild like a colorful rare bird. The pants here are especially wonderful and come in a variety of cuts all beautifully crafted and fitted handsomely. The coats are also great – not too boxy not to narrow – accommodating and likely quite comfortable. Dandy.
Etro has always been one of my favorites because they are known for their use of color and they expertly mix textures and patterns. There is a youthful cheekynesss that is irresistible.
Smith has always been the man to dress the quintessential quirky English fellow. That has not changed. His favorite is the classic suit; trim and tailored, wide leg or stovepipe he always runs the gamut. Here we get another vast offering of suits for the gents in his infamous broad color spectrum albeit here more subdued than usual. No complaints. A solid group with plenty to choose from. The streets of London will continue to vibrate with color and swing.
In the Spring collection I thought there was a lean toward a swashbuckling pirate vibe and indeed it continues here in the fall. Demeulemeester always embodies the poetic soul and this collection adds in a bit of the rogue bandit as well. There is a feeling of romance in the styling here where the men always seem to be coming undone…Passon? Desire? These are expressed quite beautifully and the clothes themselves are fitting costumes to wear in that state. And they are costumes but amongst them lurk wearable items – tanks, jackets, shirts…though I’d say most of the button cuffed pants are going to look a bit out-of-place in a world that doesn’t exist on the stage. Still ever lovely and inspiring.
Mrs Sara Burton brings a fine mix of beauty and edge once again at McQueen. She has been an excellent designer for keeping with the McQueen aesthetic.
The collection felt a bit different from the usual Ackermann sensibility, the clothes got a bit rumpled here at times looking a little messy. Ackermann usually does a slouchy shape that’s more deliberate, more controlled, here it gets a little bit away. Aside from those instances there are great looks and certainly great pieces where the cherry blossom items are my favorites. Ackermann often does asymmetric pattern placement like a painter and it’s lovely – it feels special. His eye for styling is key and it carries into his sense of proportion and overall design. There is always balance. He has yet to let me down.
You can always count on Van Noten to bring something unusual, creative and inspired to the runway. There is always a unique color scheme and clever mixing of patterns and textures. I love this about him. Here there are pieces that are 100% wearable and totally unique. What is especially nice about this for his customer is that every season he brings something new, a new favorite pair of pants or a new sweater, jacket, shoe. All totally aligned with his aesthetic, never straying from his point of view yet always realistic for the customer to incorporate into an existing wardrobe. This season he focused on abstract paint motifs as a base likely a point of departure for the color story which was blues, yellows and greens with ivory to bounce off of. It works in the collection despite the prints themselves being a bit garish. All in all the numerous offerings here are great. Fashion yet function.