Ten trends from the Fall/Winter 2019-20 menswear catwalks
The menswear collections for Fall/Winter 2019-20 presented in London, Florence, Milan and Paris this January spotlighted ten big trends, reflecting a return to a certain classic elegance, which was nonetheless ultra contemporary, while streetwear loosened its grip and became more sophisticated.
1) The classic suit
The suit was once again centre stage in all its glory. The Celine collection, for example, closed the men's fashion marathon with multiple versions of the menswear classic. Although it never really vanished from the catwalks completely, this staple of the menswear wardrobe cropped it in almost all of this season's collections, as though designers were looking to cut a more confident figure and distance themselves from the overdose of street and sportswear that characterised past seasons.
Revisited, reinterpreted and reinvented, the suit was explored from a wide range of different angles, transforming into an ultra-cool super-adaptable ensemble. Thom Browne even turned it into a dress at his show! But it was the more traditional model with double-breasted blazer and creased trousers, as well as the baggy XXL version, which inspired most designers: from the three-piece suits seen at Daks and Dolce& Gabbana to the pinstriped banker's suits which seemed to appear everywhere, not to mention the countless outfits tailored in traditional menswear fabrics, such as Prince of Wales check, chevrons and houndstooth, along with wools in grey or other dark shades.
2) Extra-long trousers
Just like jackets, which continued to lengthen and broaden this season, resulting in a sometimes exaggerated silhouette, trousers also seemed to be growing. Among the countless models seen on the catwalk, it was the loose, vaguely vintage, 1940s-style trouser which dominated the menswear wardrobe for next winter. As well as looking very comfortable, this version was also lengthened endlessly, rolling down models' legs in successive waves of fabric and creating an accordion-like effect around their ankles. Everyone from big-name labels like Dior and Louis Vuitton to the freshest up-and-comers adopted the style, which was often given a baggy, oversized twist.
3) Topsy-turvy fashion
The return to a more classic and discreet elegance was undercut by a naturally nonchalant attitude, which turned imperfection into the true sign of style. Designers had clearly been busy reimagining and recomposing the menswear silhouette with a touch of zest and whimsy. Sweaters were pulled over blazers and puffer jackets at Prada, Marni, Dsquared2, Y/Project, CMMN and SWDN; jackets were worn over coats or under shirts (OAMC,Beyond Closet, Wooyoungmi, among others), while jackets, shirts and cardigans were doubled up and buttoned absent-mindedly into each other, a style seen at Marni, Bed J.W. Ford and Acne Studios.
4) Alpine chic
Models took to the catwalks in maxi-scarfs and woollen hats, thick roll-neck sweaters, jacquard pullovers with typical alpine or Nordic patterns, lumberjack plaid shirts, ski over-trousers and oversized puffer jackets fit for facing the harshest of weather conditions, not forgetting the hiking boots with red laces and thick lugged soles which put in an appearance just about everywhere.
The mountaineering look will be the epitome of chic next winter, as demonstrated by Japanese brand White Mountaineering, long-time adept of the style. The theme proved to be easy to mix up, from Dsquared2 and Walter Van Beirendonck's party-loving skiers in moon boots and tight multicoloured ski suits to the gentlemanly stylings of Armani, via the high-altitude climber (Juun. J, Takahiromiyashita The Soloist, Les Hommes) and the hiker (Philipp Plein, Undercover, Kenzo).
5) The warrior look
In an increasingly unstable and hostile environment, men need more than ever to protect themselves, fashioning armour in which to face the adversities of the outside world. The "outer shell" trend, already hinted at in previous seasons, is now well and truly confirmed. Models' heads, in particular, were masked or (over)protected by headgear which was, at turns, all-engulfing and threatening. At Jil Sander, for example, riding hats put one in mind of military helmets from the First World War.
Off-White, on the other hand, opted for American football helmets, while Juun. J settled on a series of padded headdresses. At Vetements and Andrea Crews, the models' faces disappeared behind balaclavas, while Sankuanz bet on biker gloves, as did Dior, which also added a bullet-proof vest to the ensemble. The warriors at the A Cold Wall show were literally entrenched behind a structure made of rigid transparent plastic and at Loewe the men wore gigantic chaps.
6) Plush effect
As a counterbalance to this hyper-masculine warrior vibe, a certain softness also shone through in this season's menswear collections. This manifested itself in the use of light and bright colours, with splashes of pale pink rubbing shoulders with the perennial black, navy blue and grey, or in the use of cosy materials that channelled a real cocooning spirit. Along the same lines, the plush trend has positively exploded, helped on its way by the growing popularity of eco-fur. It could be found on all kinds of outerwear pieces, such as blazers, gilets, jackets and coats in bouclée wool, but also on sweaters and fleeces.
7) Two-tone elegance
It's not exactly a revolution, but as the fashion scene continues to be increasingly interested in hybridisation, the "two-in-one" look is stepping back into the spotlight. Jackets and trousers featuring one material on one side and a different material on the other were sent out by a number of designers, including Fendi, Off-White, Balmain, Juun. J, Angus Chiang, Rick Owens and Henrik Vibskov, among others.
8) Leather blazers
Just like the puffer jacket, the parka and the shearling jacket in the last few seasons, the black leather blazer has made its way onto the list of fashion essentials that every man should have in his Fall/Winter 2019-20 wardrobe. This vintage-style piece reminiscent of black and white films is once more a menswear classic. Elsewhere, leather proved to be a particularly popular material for pants, which were available in a wide range of colours.
Men's maxi-dresses put in a surreptitious appearance in a surprisingly large number of collections, taking on the most unexpected forms – a long smock at Facetasm, a pleated silk dress at Louis Vuitton, a fringed maxi-poncho at Acne Studios. Not to mention the monastic tunics, which popped up in black cotton at Pronounce, in a chequed version at Craig Green, as knitted pieces at Sean Suen and Boris Bidjan Saberi, and as a jumper-dress or djellaba at Loewe. The prize for the most sophisticated interpretation of this trend, however, goes to Thom Browne for his patchwork dresses put together from traditional menswear pieces.
10) Red and black
Next winter the men will be wearing red and black, whether going out for the evening in a sumptuous red cashmere coat with a black fur collar by Dolce & Gabbana, strolling around town in a poppy-coloured jumper and scarf combo and black jeans by Ami or battling the cold in an oversized fire-red puffer jacket and black nylon sports pants from Juun. J. This classic colour combination inspired a number of brands presenting in the world's fashion capitals this January, following in the footsteps of red and black British tartan which also seemed to have taken over the runways this season.
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