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Fall's Finest: Trend Report

I love peaking into the future. That’s why I enjoy trend reports so much and, based on the number of visits here, so do you! The following is a very informative report from VMAN entitled Fall’s Finest, written by Josh Peskowitz.

The Strongest Looks from Next Season’s Collections

It’s been a wild year, and the Fall collections demand to be put into some kind of context. The worldwide recession that shook us all seems to be coming, finally, to an end. And the shows this past January and February—some of the strongest in recent memory — reflected that improving sales situation. It was refreshing to see so many designers feel free to do their own thing; either literally, as in the case of Mr. Armani sticking to his black-velvet guns, or figuratively, as in the case of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana returning to the fertile ground of a dusty Sicilian piazza for their mainline collection’s 20th anniversary. Individualism was the rule, but certain trends stick out. Here they are.

Gentleman’s Club

An undercurrent of aristocratic sophistication ran through Milan and Paris, and why not? So many houses were returning to their roots, and those roots, in most cases, rest deep within the upper classes. At Dunhill, creative director Kim Jones married his penchant for all things young and street to the brand’s deep affection for well-bred thrill seekers. Beautifully constructed suits sported seams at the waist, and extra panels were tucked into hiking boots made of green crocodile. At YSL, cashmere glenn plaid suits were belted with sashes, and dropped crotch trousers were matched with waistcoats and the occasional fez for an imperial North African feel. Salvatore Ferragamo outfitted the traveler (think old-world horse-drawn carriage) with riding boots, toggle coats in black-watch plaid, huge scarves, and lots of layers. At Louis Vuitton, men’s design director Paul Helbers focused on “Bleisure,” the mix of business and leisure attire. This translated to leather-accented suiting layered with puffy vests or techno parka/overcoat hybrids. Hand tacked wooden-soled boots and sumptuous leather bags rounded out the collection.

Outsize, Out-There, Outerwear

Coats and jackets ruled many a runway this season—we are talking Fall/Winter collections after all. There were shearling coats in all shapes and sizes: from big to really, really big; from shaggy to refined; from authentic to continental. At Burberry Prorsum, Christopher Bailey showed the skin and the wool on his high-neck transatlantic pilot’s coat. Gucci’s take was better suited for the back of a Gulfstream than the cockpit of a propeller plane, and everyone from Rick Owens to Salvatore Ferragamo to Hope showed a variation of the sheepskin staple.

Then came the varsity jackets. Thom Browne showed an oversized version worn over the shoulder. Danish designer Soulland (in collaboration with Kopenhagen Studio) showed one with sheared mink sleeves. Junya Watanabe applied the leather sleeve technique to overcoats, and Riccardo Tisci used a suit shoulder on his sleek, all-black version at Givenchy.

Thom Browne’s varsity jacket wasn’t his only oversized piece. In fact, the majority of his overcoats, stadium coats, and cardigans were of floor-sweeping proportions. Not what you’d expect from the master of shrunken suits, but it reflected a larger trend. Kris Van Assche’s flowing, belted overcoats for Dior Homme reached to the cuffs of his cropped trousers. At certain points all you saw were boots and coat. Stefano Pilati explored volume at Yves Saint Laurent with oversized sleeves and convex back seams. Italian sportswear giant C.P. Company cinched its big coats at the waist, and at Calvin Klein, Italo Zucchelli’s ankle dusters covered the techno-inflected (and razor sharp) tailoring underneath.

Alpine Adventure

Mountains will loom large over the fashion conscious man this Fall. From the fur-lined parkas at Michael Kors to the hiking boots at Rag & Bone and Miharayasuhiro, alpine slopes seemed to be on every designer’s mind. Some focused on the downhill aspect: D&G took it all the way ski with nowboard/moon boot hybrids, shearling jeans, and layers of outerwear masquerading as knits. Others went for apr├Ęs ski: Victor Glemaud did cashmere knits in fireside-ready graphics and textures. At Moncler Gamme Bleu, Thom Browne designed quilted ski shorts, chord puffer bombers, and plaid union suits, all of it wearable both on and off the mountain. It also bears mentioning how many in the audience were wearing head to toe Gamme Bleu. Fashion types don’t usually wear the T-shirt to the concert, but a devoted following of snow-ready mountaineers proves the long-term viability of this look.

Soldier On

The lion’s share of menswear staples began life as military issue, including trench coats, blucher shoes, epaulets, cargo pants, field jackets, plaids, oiled cotton, motorcycle jackets—the list goes on and on. Dries Van Noten’s collection took prep and military boarding schools as a starting point. Army-grade Melton wool was used for peacoats and M-65 inspired field coats. Burberry Prorsum’s entire collection was dedicated to the company’s archives of military jackets. It was actually commissioned by the British War Office to create the very first trench coat in the early 20th century. And every one of the coats in the show had actually been sold by Burberry at some point in its history. The canvas army parka was seen on several runways, including Wood Wood in Copenhagen and Michael Bastian in New York. Hope showed a white Swedish winter anorak, and Bottega Veneta had an M-65 army field jacket in several hues. Even Lanvin showed its twist on army with cargo pants and army boots. Actually pretty much every show this season had a version of a combat or a cavalry riding boot.

Courtesy of Austin Smedstad, Starworks Group.

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