The Gentleman Glows at Men’s Fashion Week FW19
Of course we jumped on LV’s glow-in-the-dark hype, but we’ve also singled out the best non-street style looks for the polished gentleman
It’s not an easy feat to curate a look that makes you look trendy and polished, yet distinct from the streetwear-influenced juvenile, especially when the latter seems at its cultural zenith. Sure, it’s now almost expected of one to throw on a pair of Triple S sneakers along with a suit. On-trend items seem relinquished to the seasonal bum bag and athleisure drops, and it doesn’t help when almost every top legacy fashion house has rebranded with the prosaic sans serif font logo.
But that is not to say that drawing inspiration from street culture signals poor taste. In fact, brands are slowly but actively moving away from the overdone style or even reinventing looks, with selective nods to hypebeasts here and there. If anything, collections are increasingly eclectic and diverse, as token, superficial, and hype-driven it might sometimes be, catering to a wide range of consumers
In dressing the modern gentleman who wants to look relevant while exuding a sophisticated finesse, here are five brands that stole the show.
We’re playing favourites, but one cannot deny that the poise and elegance exuded by Dior Men’s collections have been consistently impressive. This time, the Paris show was held in a rectangular black tent and at the foot of the Eiffel Tower no less, with models and looks showcased via a 250-feet long conveyor belt.
The highlight of the collection is marked by the collaborative work with US artist Raymond Pettibon, who is responsible for the hand-embroidered owl vest that opened the show. According to Dior Men Creative Director Kim Jones, the beauty of Pettibon’s work lies in how recognisable they are, despite his disproportionate fame as an artist.
The looks are polished and sleek, with references to an “armour” theme manifested in metallic sheens and broad sashes in velvet, technical satin, and zebra-printed mink looped through tailored jackets and coats. The contrast between draping and tailored cuts just works for Dior, and will work beautifully for the gentleman who’s going for a quiet debonair flair.
Men’s fashion seemed to adopt a far more sombre vibe this time, but it worked beautifully for Prada. The signature Italian attention to exquisite tailoring techniques is felt throughout the collection, which featured both single and double breasted suits that found the sweet spot in terms of fit. The resulting silhouettes were far more polished although the street-style influence still crept about.
Now, we’re not telling everyone to wrap two waist belts around your suits, but we definitely endorse the look with all its valiant attempt at trendsetting and crossing sartorial boundaries. It does not look careless or sloppy. In fact, the accessory accentuated the silhouettes of choice.
Wool cardigans were also brought back, and this time layered as outerwear over suits. The refined looks will be a great choice for men who look for some extra edge in their outfits.
One can always look to Berluti for the classics, and this fall collection was in great sense an appropriate fresh yet cautious take on one of Paris’ most respected purveyor of leather goods. All eyes were on the show as it was also designer Kris Van Assche’s debut collection with Berluti, and Van Assche rose to the occasion when he opened the show with a brown leather suit that was hand-dyed to emulate Berluti’s patinas – a thoughtful ode to the brand’s DNA.
The same hand-dyed leather was also showcased moderately in trenches and coats amongst classic plain suits and outerwear. In honouring the brand’s roots, the inclusive casting featured both young and mature models – a bold statement in light of a youth-dominated mainstream culture that’s in line with Berluti’s legacy as a bespoke tailor house.
Celine closed the fashion week with Hedi Slimane’s first dedicated menswear collection for the brand, which channelled the signature British flair shown by layering suits and trench coats and some pleated, baggy high-water pants. Since Slimane’s debut collection received endless flak for parroting his tenure at Saint Laurent, the world anticipated this collection to respond accordingly.
Indeed, the collection was a break from the signature Slimane-Saint Laurent aesthetic and featured far more relaxed silhouettes which were safe and kept rather low profiles. Just as the collection marks a new chapter at Celine, we think there definitely are staples that the modern gentleman can cop to refresh his wardrobe.
The world expected no less from one of the most controversial names in fashion, wrought out as a tribute to pop icon Michael Jackson. For Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton collection this time around, his choice of poison was befittingly a runway that recreated a Manhattan street corner at night, full of street character and grunge.
We witnessed this season’s penchant for layering in double jackets, and the late King of Pop’s military garb style, manifested in crest-shaped patches and padded sashes. With such a large collection, nobody was really left out, and the more daring of gentlemen may find a grey leather trench with embossed collar and cuff detailing, relaxed-fit suit jackets and trousers, and embroidered ensembles.
Surprisingly, the it-footwear for this collection was loafers in spite of Abloh’s sneaker-philia, and the result was more street-style chic. However, ironically, we weren’t really astounded when Virgil Abloh completely stole the spotlight on social media with his glow-in-the-dark bag and shoes, and gave a necessary shine to Mens Fashion Week FW19.