Via London to Paris with Pitti Uomo in between, the menswear AW15 collections showcased the latest trends of the season on the biggest stages.
By Christopher Prince
London Collections: Men
British fashion has long served an experimental phase. London has grown up over the past few seasons, and the wave of young talent that usually descends on the capital felt less forceful than ever during London Collections: Men AW15. It was deliberate that big brand American designers pigeonholed the show schedule. With no official menswear fashion week planned in New York, designers simply usurped their brands for international soil. Take Moschino, a brand synonymous with Italian subculture, present on the schedule for just the second time. Jeremy Scott’s grasp at the helm of Moschino combines the creative with the kitsch, and this season had no disparity. He threw London a cold breeze with a catwalk reimagined as a snow-lined forest, dressing his models in all manner of ski paraphernalia. Also taking heed of the winter season was New York based leather connoisseurs Coach with a collection devised for outerwear pursuits. Closer to the warmth of his much loved Los Angeles was Tom Ford’s private studio presentation in London. For his clientele he produced a graphic collection that hinted ever so slightly on the all American sixties zeitgeist. Maintaining patriotic fervor however was Sarah Burton’s menswear outing at Alexander McQueen inspired by Regency England. An army of boys clad in poppy embroidered tailoring was Burton’s homage to the centenary of the First World War.
Trend to Watch
Shearling made an impact on collections that relied heavily on an outwear vibe. Coach introduced it as a lining in shades of onyx, beige and moss, whilst Tom Ford sent us swinging into the sixties with parka and cropped jacket silhouettes lined in frothy sheepskin.
Collection of the Season
Lee Roach’s familiar minimalist aesthetic progressed this season from barely there body pelmets to fully realised winter clothes. The collection featured languid silhouettes defined at the waist, with Roach emphasising sheen with textured gabardine and waxed denim in shades of silver.
Pitti Uomo, Florence
The biannual Pitti Uomo trade fair returned this month, showcasing over 400 luxury menswear brands from across the globe. Since 1972 Pitti Uomo has housed some of the industry’s most sartorially inclined gentlemen – this season we documented it all, from the style on the stalls to the Florence fashion.
Is there no new blood in Milan? The old guard quietly chugs on season after season under the shadow of its older and cooler brothers in London and Paris. Italian fashion resists trends for commercial viability, which in the grand scheme of things is incredibly smart. As exotic as the rare leathers and furs that appear on the Milanese runways are, there’s a universal acknowledgment of heritage that bypasses seasonal fashion fads. In retaliation the young upstarts are kept at bay. AW15 was a perfect case in point, with collections toned down in favour of pristine tailoring, luxe fabrications and waves of monochrome shades. At Ermenegildo Zegna the concept of preservation and nature overawed a collection full of safari undertones and outdoor silhouettes. Heritage was the calling for Dolce & Gabbana, who displayed portraiture prints on knitwear in homage to la famiglia. There was a certain familiarity via Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta, with looks purposely disheveled thanks to crumpled denim and roomy proportions. If there was a show to encapsulate Milan’s somber attitude towards AW15 it was Prada. The complexity of both Prada and Mrs. Miuccia Prada herself is impossible to define in a single sentence. This season recalled uniformity via modernity, with a collection in ode of Prada’s masterful ways working with nylon. Reiterating the paired back sensibility of the week, the collection was crafted almost entirely in black. Capping off moody Milan saw Gucci’s menswear debut in the absence of creative director, Frida Giannini. After a decade at the helm of one of Italy’s most iconic brands, the luxury group Kering decided to replace the legend with the brand’s head accessories designer, Alessandro Michele. Gone were Giannini’s archetypal pristine super male models – replaced with androgynous clothes on androgynous backs.
Trend to Watch
The necktie was a dominant accessory this season in Milan. Styled with a retro aesthetic, the skinny necktie replaces the bulk of a winter scarf. Seen at Bottega Veneta in silk formations and slightly disheveled at Costume National with fringed finishes, it’s a definite item to covet next season.
Collection of the Season
Neil Barrett turned up the sophistication barometer this season with a standout seasonal collection via double-breasted tailoring and military undertones. Experimenting with sharp graphic looks pieced from leather, shearling and nylon, Barrett gave new life to mundane Milan in a thoroughly modern way.
Like their Italian counterpart, Paris looked to familiarity heading into the AW15 season. Rather than braving new and profound trends, designers looked to the evolution of their brands from past collections. There was a sense of romanticism that harked back to the womenswear shows in the capital, with designs purposely styled to champion subtlety. Proving Paris’s worth as the best city for menswear however, were the select few designers who took shock factor and translated it for everyday. See the Rick Owens collection, unashamedly sporting full front nudity. And the avant-garde Thom Browne who served up his gothic gang outfitted in lace, leather and mesh. The signature collection this season via Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent expanded on the Frenchman’s obsession for rock ‘n’ roll. The skinniest of black jeans, the casual ease of the models, and of course the incredible LED lit show space defined the cool spirituality of Paris. Over at Maison Margiela – now absent of the ‘Martin’ – rave culture was on the agenda thanks to glitzy lurex knits and iridescent coated leather, all honed within a disco ball setting. Riccardo Tisci also looked to glitz for his Givenchy show. It was space filled with all manner of knick-knacks – religious jewellery, star light pendants, even a skull – Tisci called on dark magic, conjuring witches and angels inspired by Peruvian myths. The location for Kenzo’s collection recalled a sense of retro realism, with Humberto Leon staging his show in the futuristic interior of the Philharmonie de Paris. Clothes that read ‘love’ and ‘respect’ honed in on the designer’s passion for Paris, presenting an optimistic outlook for his zeitgeist through intarsia tie-dye and hand painted shearling. ‘Paris je t’aime’ was also on the lips of Véronique Nichanian. The Hermès show was staged inside La Maison de la Radio within the Eiffel Tower. With muted colour tones, Nichanian’s take on luxe street wear envisioned the season’s nod towards discreet, yet utterly luxurious fashion.
Trend to Watch
The ulster coat served up some winter weather defiance this season on the runways of Paris. If last year was all about the single-breasted overcoat, AW15 suggested a new take with long and lean silhouettes via the ulster coat. Raf Simons championed the look, perfectly minimal and free from detail, whilst Dries Van Noten took on a utilitarian approach with strict and sharp cuts.
Collection of the Season
Dior Homme exemplified house codes this season with designer Kris Van Assche asserting his tailored oeuvre for the label. If the show space, lined with an orchestra formation dressed in tuxedos and white sneakers, wasn’t spectacular enough, then Van Assche’s ‘techno-sartorial’ take for AW15 bound with floral abstract prints and Prince of Wales check suits was cause for a seasonal celebration.