What an exciting time for men’s fashion. While womenswear has traditionally dominated the market, this is set to change, according to data from Euromonitor. Womenswear still accounted for the biggest share of the broader US$1.7 trillion (Dh3.672tn) apparel and footwear market in 2017, with menswear accounting for less than a quarter. But the market research firm forecasts that men’s lines will outperform women’s between 2017 and 2022, with sales expanding by a compound annual growth rate of two per cent. “This is due to men placing a greater emphasis on their appearance, fuelled by the rise of social media, and dress codes for men softening globally,” says Marguerite Le Rolland, a beauty and fashion consultant at Euromonitor.
With the spring/summer 2019 menswear shows having wrapped up at Florence’s Pitti Uomo, and in London, Paris and Milan (with only New York left to present), it feels like a bold new energy is rising. With the recent migration of Kim Jones from Louis Vuitton to Dior (now retitled Dior Men), the arrival at Louis Vuitton of Virgil Abloh, and the launch of menswear at Cavalli and Maison Margiela, it feels like the beginning of a new era. Other labels jumped city (Saint Laurent from Paris to New York and Craig Green from London to Florence) and even old names like Lucas Ossendrijver, creative director of menswear at Lanvin, spoke about a new lexicon of functionality.
With his debut for Vuitton, Abloh shut down his critics with an astonishing show bristling with new ideas, while Jones at Dior Men took a stroll through the house’s extensive archives. Prada took a step back from its usual highbrow concept and delivered one of its strongest shows of late (and quite possibly the season’s shortest shorts). Here are six trends that caught our eye.
This is one of the big looks for spring/summer 2019, and Brunello Cucinelli went for old-school style in double-breasted linen, while Hermès offered louche-fit trousers and T-shirts crafted from buttery leather ( see main picture). Tom Ford, meanwhile, presented tailored trousers in creamy dupioni silk, set under a loose buttermilk coat.
While hardly surprising for a summer presentation, the sheer variety of shorts on offer was slightly unexpected. Kenzo went for board-short lengths in a wallpaper-esque rose print, while Bermuda shorts appeared at Valentino (paired with floral zip-throughs and bucket hats fit for Liam Gallagher). At Loewe, they appeared as an oversized matching shorts-and-shirt combo in tie-dyed linen. Lanvin went for a preppy feel in summer pinstripes, while Dior Men sent out crisp, grey suit shorts, which were the same length as the matching blazer. At Prada, few blushes were spared with knitted micro-shorts in retro 1960s patterns (pictured).
Alexander McQueen offered unzipped, rolled-down boilersuits (pictured). Caught at the hips with thick leather belts and paired with heavy boots, this was workwear remade. Ready-to-wear newcomer MCM delivered jumpsuits in glossy parachute silk, while at Balmain, the boiler was in washed denim, hooded and worn under a distressed denim jacket. In its first foray into menswear, Maison Margiela offered lavish silk Japanese blossoms embroidered on to a red all-in-one.
For Dior, Jones elongated a lapel to create a side-fastening jacket, while Lanvin embedded half a waistcoat into an outer jacket. Alexander McQueen sliced a trench coat in half to create a sleeveless cape over a sharp suit, while for Vuitton, Abloh melded shirts and phone cases into one, and carved waistcoats out of quilted leather. Rick Owens went all out with light nylon tops, trousers and parkas built around tent poles (pictured).
Comme des Garçons delivered shrunken suits (think fabric ironed too hot) topped with shocking pink airtex tops, slashed open and worn as neck warmers, while Versace favoured oversized hooded sports jackets in fluorescent green. Vuitton, meanwhile, went for a more tailored approach, layering lime green body holsters over shirts and orange gloves (pictured).
Fashion weeks are always about the off-the-wall add-ons, and this season was no exception. We saw feather-trimmed trainers at Valentino, manbags at Versace (pictured) and Prada, and leather crash helmets at MCM. Even the normally sober Thom Browne revealed an obsession with lobsters, right down to the socks, and sent animal bags and platform shoes down the runway.