Quick highlights and keywords to know when shopping the big stories of the season from the major brands.
As I finish the men's FW directional I've been simultaneously work on the womenswear I've noticing quite a few trends are overlapping in key categories this season in knitwear and oversize silhouettes as well as the use of velvet, checks and stripes. Take a look below at how the male take on the trends evolve before crossing over into their female equivalent in the coming post.
Seen on the majority of catwalks with many showing retro checked coats and grunge plaid. Ranging broadly from traditional blackwatch/tartan heritage, lumberjack and buffalo checks.
Chunky knits are always important come winter and this year is no different. The focus is more on the oversize longer, more voluminous and slouchy.
Stripes are fused with relaxed lounge appeal, appearing in contemporary comfort-inspired pieces.
An evolving trend the past few seasons now being shown more modern and less obtrusive retro way.
Big in all directions. Trousers getting a longer rise and are worn just above the waist for a retro quality. Coats and tops with dropped shoulders and elongated sleeves and boxy cuts lending them a grown-up feel.
Shearling is moving away from collars and lining and onto the face of the boxier, wider, roomier pieces featured on several shapes including the iconic aviator and trucker jackets.
While it has always been a staple fabric the past few seasons are reinventing denim by going back to the basics of simple, clean high and low washes.
Velvet is most understandable in winter months as a sharp looks for parties but as seen this year the looks are more paired down as casual either as a loose fitting trouser or a bomber..
Among the multitude of technical fabric offerings, a military reference updates this functional category.
Taking the 90's references and track suit styling and remixing it for the ski slopes this coming winter.
Helps to convey looser, more voluminous statements on trend in the oversize category but also seen in a classic retro modern take on sharp tailoring .
Yes, the runway shows were July of 2016 and yes I already did a report or 2 on my favorite shows... ok 4 posts... but this one is not about what is coming but what has hit the shop floors now so by April or July you don't look like a loser. And since it's 60 degrees out today (ok, tomorrow we have a winter storm warning of 8 in. of snow...) I want to embrace Spring!
Top 4 menswear themes:
This season, it's all about the stripes! Floral made his entrance in men's wardrobe and good old basics as denim and sport are still very effective.
Thin stripes, Brenton stripes, pinstripes. Get 'em all!
Athleisure takes a turn in a more slick retro direction -aka- get a zip-up and a windbreaker.
I know big shocker! But unlike the denim you already own the new direction is patchwork and acid wash driven.
Top 4 menswear pieces:
Trench coats, raincoats, wide leg trousers and bombers are the top four menswear piece trends this season. Showcased in a huge amount of the shows, menswear becomes casual, elegant and sporty.
This menswear staple is still going strong. I mean everyone always looks cool in one.
This could go real wrong real fast proceed with caution. A silky or suit fabric in a tailored look but no JNCO style!
Not just for flashers and Inspector Gadget! make sure you get one that hits you correctly at the knee.
Don't get caught in the springtime rain without one.
In NY the winters are similar in temp to Brussels (until it decided to snow 6 in. last week) however I was home over the holidays in Detroit where it's fucking freezing at -15 most nights. Needless to say, I was very happy to be reunited with my winter coats! Of which I have plenty... I am kind of a outerwear whore. My fave styles I brought back to the city with me are a vintage 60's field jacket and two Kooples styles: a duffle coat and a down jacket with raccoon fur lined hood.
Being in NYC I am in the shopping Mecca, however I haven't been in the shopping mood... which is shocking coming from me. The guy who literally has a monthly budget for clothes. It could be because I am schlepping them all over the city every day for work. Hello, 12 mile Thursday Fitbit calculation!
However, I do love a deal and a sample sale. Luck would have it there is a company called 260 that really get some great brands daily through their doors. Be it Wang, J.Crew, Scotch & Soda, Sandro... It's impressive and always a nice surprise. Sign up for the listserv and get ready for the next amazing find.
Also check out my NYC map for lots of other great places to shop that I've found!
We are in the middle of Menswear FW17 at the moment so get ready for even more mens fashion posts to follow!
I recently went to a brunch at a speakeasy in Chelsea called Bathtub Gin. It's hidden behind a small to-go coffee shop and honestly if I hadn't asked I wouldn't have known it was there! But once the trap door opens there is a huge yet intimate dimly-lit restaurant with an amazing bar and what was to be a great brunch menu. I had wonderful cornflake and coconut crusted French toasted brioche with fresh berries. Naturally, accompanied by a gin cocktail!
This past month there have been so many amazing speeches made in defiance of suppression. After this weekends Women's March I was thrilled to hear all the inspiring words from Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Madonna, Scarlet Johansson... however those that stuck out to me most were Ashley Judd & America Ferrera:
By now everyone has seen the great Meryl Streep Golden Globes acceptance speech and her point rings true. "Take your broke heart, make it into art."
Trumpcast. Every week like clockwork. It's the best podcast to make sense of the ludicrousness that is Trump and sadly our Twilight Zone of a future.
The Fall & Winter months edition. Why is this coming out in January you may ask yourself?
It's sale time so everything listed below will be easy and cheap to find especially important since men, in general, don't shop.
Also, thanks to global warming this is when winter finally hits. Albeit stores turning to Spring/Summer already nobody will be wearing that until July sales come around... leading us back to reason 1 and completing the circle of the maybe 2x a man goes into a store a year.
Now take some notes gentleman (or gf/bf/mom of said guy).
This is the first and most important hurdle for many men. The key to looking good is to not be a sloppy ass mess. That starts and ends with how the clothes fit your body. This will impact your mood, your posture and in turn, your confidence.
The right fit means the right proportions= the right look. Don't fuck it up.
Talking to a friend who designs outerwear, shout out to you Isabell, explained to me if you put enough pockets on it they will come.
Basically, men like to think that they can do things and every pocket/zip/button/hook... is a technical element creating interest and versatility to a garment.
I get it. The functionality adds newness to the styling and adds value in eye of the consumer. I'm looking at you G.Star... so many details.
From a design standpoint this is a place where creativity can work it's magic!
As a merchandiser I automatically think how can I remove items because how the fuck am I going to cost this out with each extra little detail.
Personally as a minimalist I prefer clothing that is free of any accoutrement. However that doesn't mean the functionality is lost. You'll be a lot happier in a pair of Hunter boots & a Rains jacket during a Lake District hike whereas a thin, overpriced, yet immaculate #likebutter Rick Owens turtleneck will function perfectly in an art gallery setting.
This is key to achieve a multitude of looks. Once you've got the form and function under your belt you can literally tuck it in or hide it with a blazer! To get a good idea of what this means look at basically any J.Crew catalog.
4. Mix It Up
Have fun! Really part 2 or #3, this is key to dressing down an overly formal look and perfect for the modern office. Swap the classic shirt for an easy plaid or chambray option. To tie the look together put a sporty sweatshirt under a smart blazer and cuffed denim. Unexpected styling adds to the modern heritage trend that every guy wants to embody at some point.
5. The Chambray Shirt
Easy to wear and adaptable aka you wont look whack as fuck with this oldie but goodie. Just trust me.
6. Knitwear Hybrid
It's cold but not that cold... remember the functionality of point 2, here is where a sweater does the job but the trend factor comes in. 2-become-1 as knitwear becomes outerwear aka a chunky cardigan.
Look for chunky ribs and twisted yarns to create the right texture and weight for this jack of all trades. Thank me later or instead just go and buy a light down jacket at Uniqlo and call it a day. You'll be happy either way.
7. The Sweatshirt
The star of this new era of laid back dressing is the humble loop-back sweatshirt. Worn with smart chinos and sneakers, this is a key piece in the topic for wardrobe building. Works with separates and perfect for layering. Comfy enough for a lazy Sunday but nice enough to layer up on Monday at the office.
Salt & Pepper surfaces, space dyed yarns, mossy textures create the feeling of the season... Have I lost you already?
Just remember adding textured surfaces to plain crew necks add interest and a level of casual cool.
9. Shearling Jacket
Attention to detail with shearling trims. A cosiness is created with the teddy bear optic. A simple and effective way to elevate outerwear styles.
Started as a trend item the past few seasons and has grown to be a wardrobe staple.
Don't be scared, embrace something other than black and navy... unless your a Dutch man reading this. One look in a Scotch & Soda store tells me you guys got color and pattern down.
Key color statements most men can easily wear, especially in winter months, are jewel tones. Everyone looks good in them!
While we have to wait until Nov. 3rd to line up for the newest collaboration at least half the wait is over. The lookbook for the forthcoming Kenzo x H&M line came out today!
Keeping with Kenzo tradition the collection is full of color and print featuring several reincarnations of past highlights such as F16 zebra stripe & geo/flower trims. However a Kenzo staple, the tiger, has been altered for the line. The below slideshow are feature some of my must have items from the 40+ looks presented.
The images features several performers and social activist and could not be more different from the last H&M collab with Balmain. Unlike Balmain with the in your face Kardashian factor I don't think Kenzo will sell out within hours. Instead I foresee it will go more the direction of Margiela or Marni collections. Of course the line will be out the door and there will be some items gone in minutes. Don't get me wrong I am in LOVE and need several pieces ASAP but commercially it is a much more difficult for the average consumer to understand. Which means... easier for me to get ahold of!
I also find it an interesting collaboration from a selling stand point. Obviously, Kenzo has been a hyped brand ever since Humberto Leon & Carol Lim took the reigns. This will open the brand to a larger customer base. However similar to the A.Wang line, but unlike other past design collaborations, Kenzo is more of a contemporary level brand, tiered higher than "fast fashion" but lower than traditional high-end & fellow past collaborators such as Versace, Lanvin or Stella McCartney. For ex: Kenzo embroidered tiger sweater retails for $195, Balmain mohair with naval buttons is $990.
Only 6 months after the former MyTheresa womenswear buyer, with no design experience but 102k Instagram followers, was made creative director. Within that time he re-branded the house including new logo and advertisements juxtapositioning high-end cashmere with Metallica as models.
Re-branding is never an easy task. Sometimes it works i.e- Gucci, but trying to move forward and not loose your super rich traditional customer (Bironi suits start at 5K) before the new customer base has picked up is very tricky.
It's hard to say what exactly caused the rift but it's safe to assume that holding company Kering didn't like the direction the house was going despite the clothing itself getting general good reviews... but reviews are one thing turning a profit is another and the conservative CEO-type might not like seeing their traditional brand with a new font and a heavy metal band, who (safe bet) probably doesn't speak to the customer, fronting the campaign.
H&M really shows what it takes to be a clothing company in 2016. Celebrating diversity & equality.
As ADweek put it: "H&M has created a feminist anthem soundtracked by a classically misogynist song, for a spot meant to redefine how you think women should look, act and think, where they stand in society..."
Another remarkable H&M campaign launched last year with the same ad agency, Forsman & Bodenfors, featuring the voice-over of Iggy Pop shows how being yourself can be stylish however you see fit. But above all what really is cool is recycling items you no longer need.
Palette cleanser, much more clean, modern, airy draped over jewel tones in deep teal blue, jade and a royal purple. Active wear mixed with casual, soft and loose blazer and shorts. Socks & sandals. Technical fabrics with silk. A subtle mixture of luxury and masculinity without the jarring use of in your face logos Versace is known for.
The prints were serving up more intricate Tiger of Sweden, the camo however was ok but not wow. It was either too small or the colors were not my thing. I did like that the traditional Japanese silhouettes were included and made new. The criss-cross espadrilles need to be on me now! However what really sold the collection was the Adidas collaboration. Move over Y-3 there is a new Japanese brand to bring it! The black/white was a stark contrast to the first half of the collection but works well for the collaboration and the retro-sport Adidas looks are also perfect.
With the same feelings I have for Marni I also have always been a huge fan of the Korean brand and that hasn't changed this season! Their take on Sol LeWitt wall art works perfectly with the garments creating new ginghams and oversize checks. The fabric bases also made sense. Laxer cut trench coats, silk pajama style shorts and shirts, oversize bottoms where the draping allows the pattern to move, dense knit sweaters allowing for structured looks. Basically put it all on me!
Special shout out to:
MSGM- Made me like actually argyle for the first time in my life.
N.Hollywood- I'm a sucker for neoprene, I can't help myself.
Rag & Bone- Very American silhouettes, workwear meets minimalist streetwear, clean vibrant primary colors.
Rick Owens- Giving us some color and a new way of draping to his ever so billowy styles.
The Kooples- New more laid back casual direction, boxier fits. more color and Japanese indigo heavy with a take on America approach.
As not to overwhelm here is a continuation from my last post featuring another set of reviews to my fave Menswear designers this season.
Every season I am astounded. His collections bring sophistication to the masses. Always bringing fans on a journey to another time and place. Normally I am not a print kinda guy but when it comes out of het Modepaleis I know it will be something I need in my closet. This season is no different the collection moves effortlessly from cream, soft whites and punches of metallic silver intermixing with macrame and patch work reminiscent of the arts & crafts movement of the 70's intermixing. Then medieval tapestry prints and camouflage. Ending in loose draped indigo fabric looks. Wow. Basically, Scotch & Soda will be knocking this off in...
I found the Ziggy platforms to be a bit distracting but I know the Caden twins always have something tongue-and-cheek to offset their designs but also show that gender-fuck can be mainstream! DSquared2 always love a good theme and I am right there with them! They can make anything be over the top yet still masculine enough that a fashionable guy would want in their closet regardless, ok maybe the sequined camo parka is pushing it... This SS the theme was skinhead which has been done by numerous designers over the season and I've always been a fan of the outcome. This time around Dean & Dan added a bit of an overtly homo-dandy twist to make it their own.
The imagination of Alessandro Michele is unique in that he can take so many different ideas jumble them up and create something new out of it. Always exciting and intriguing this season is no different. There are so many elements at play you don't know where to look first! Now to say fishermen, Dynasty China & Donald Duck don't mix hasn't seen the Edwardian preppy dandy boys of Gucci under Alessandro!
Quintessential imperfectly perfect Margiela delivered as always. Why do something dramatic when you have a wining combo every time? Paper fabrics mix with fluid fabrics, unfinished garments and tailors tacking galore left me feeling happy.
Sports references were still heavily referenced, and do well for the brand. Instead of the army green, black & white palette we have become used to has now branched out into more 70's brown tones with red-orange and yellow highlights used in diagonal inserts and modern graphics. Also something we haven't seen much in past seasons is his use of denim. I've always been a fan of his work but I like this toned down grown-up direction more than the use of broken-up statues artworks of past seasons. I especially love some of the leather pieces with symmetrical inserts on the sleeves and breasts.
Nylon. The fabric that started Prada. Season after season reinventing the label only this time using the founding fabric to create yet another utilitarian look. This Prada man is ready to wander. Weather it be trekking across countries or from work to the gym the look is apparent. Athleisure is king and peoples attitudes towards relaxed dressing has long been the norm. So why not pair breathable nylon with a suit coat, leggings, socks & sandals. Bright colors, weather maps and some cute conversational prints added for good measure.
In collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation images adorn each outfit with the over all look of each model sent out as an homage to the great photographer. Whether a still life, Patti Smith or a semi-hard dick with a cock ring the pictures framed, printed, cut & sewn to the items brought to life the works of a great photographer and melded perfectly with the oversize garments and added another layer to the thinking man's wardrobe.