LC:M may be a fading memory and evidence of more recent menswear showcases in Florence, Paris and Milan is being rapidly swept aside in the tide of womenswear heading our way, but, if anything, now is the ideal time to evaluate what themes have stayed with us from the menswear shows, as designers and buyers sign the paperwork on what we’ll be able to buy next autumn/winter.
Here are 5 enduring themes from the menswear shows for AW15 that we’re looking forward to seeing more of.
1. Gender neutrality
London, ever the champion of gender experiments, definitely started it but across the European shows (from Westwood and J.W. Anderson to ACNE studios and Gucci) there was evidence that what’s between your legs is less important than the clothes on your back, at least in the world of high-end fashion. Designers explored this in different ways – by showing menswear and womenswear side by side (often with minimal differences between the garments themselves) and through the use of shapes, often oversized, which are deliberately androgynous and designed to obscure differences in body shape. London has been playing with this idea for some time (often to derision) but it has surprisingly come to the fore if not (yet) the mainstream.
2. The overcoat as canvas
As the single biggest item of clothing in a man’s wardrobe, it’s perhaps not so surprising that the overcoat has become a canvas for designers to stamp their artistic mark on, leaving the wearer as a literal walking work of art. From Agi & Sam’s Basquiat-like naïve primary colour play, to Raf Simon’s adolescent doodles, Kim Jones’ illustrative Nemeth print and Juun.J’s surreal pop art, designers made use of the scale and flat plane of the overcoat this season to express their vision beyond form, cut and colour.
3. Extreme layering
Even the most basic of fashion guides extolls the virtues of layering to cope with the changeability of climate in our times. But certain designers this season played up the whole notion of layering by exaggerating the volume created by wearing successive garments, or by creating surprise with the choice of layers themselves. Craig Green’s silhouettes increasingly evoke the padding and complex layering of samurai wear. Similarly Juun.J’s work scaled up the human form by playing with proportion and oversized layers. Aside from the overly discussed dick flashing at Rick Owens, his collection too was about layering up unexpected combinations.
4. The ‘70s/retro
From the crass to the elegantly understated, there was a definite backwards glance in many of the menswear AW15 collections to one of the less celebrated decades in fashion history. Italy in particular has a fondness for a vintage take on fashion as the narrow silk scarves at Bottega Veneta and Costume National Homme evidenced but even Margiela this season had soupçon of disco strut. On a more conceptual level, Raf Simons and J.W. Anderson continue to forge newness from apparent retro ingredients with length, cut and fit referencing past and future seemingly at once. Christopher Bailey’s take on the ‘70s was perhaps the most wistful of all, with his paean to global travelers sporting the spoils of their hippy trail adventures.
5. Wider, baggier trousers
Skinny trousers seem to have been with us for decades, and at least in terms of streetstyle are likely to be around for some time yet, but menswear designers this season explored the proportion of men’s trousers with a reconfigured generosity of cut and fabric. From Raf Simon’s slouchy tailored trousers designed to bunch perfectly atop a training shoe, to E.Tautz perfectly proportioned flannel bags, whatever references to the past there may be in these generous shapes the shape feels refreshingly different and introduces a pleasing swish to the walk.