HTSI editor’s letter: men’s autumn style special
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
What will men be wearing this season? Chances are, increasingly, it won’t be a formal suit. We’ve been tracking the demise of traditional tailoring for some time now in HTSI, and while the conventional two-piece and tie are still seen in strict corners of the City, there has been a considerable shift away from the codes of yesteryear. The professional wardrobe of 2023 most likely involves some knitwear, a pair of tailored trousers, certainly a blazer and perhaps a hybrid sneaker-shoe. The look is smart but soft, lacking any stiffness, and although the suit is still a staple, the jacket and trousers are as likely to be worn as separates as they are at the same time.
At Zegna, artistic director Alessandro Sartori has been quick to note the mood in fashion, detecting early the trend for unshowy, luxurious, casual garments that has since been dubbed “stealth wealth”. At the brand’s headquarters in Milan, Jessica Beresford finds out how Sartori and his team have reconsidered the Zegna offering to deliver a more contemporary wardrobe. The group’s profits say it’s working. The suit may not be dying but it’s evolving into something that works for a younger consumer (raised in trainers), as well as those generations who still want to look appropriate for work.
It was arguably Martine Rose who brought sportswear into high fashion – via her namesake London label as well as through Balenciaga where, as a consultant for menswear, she helped usher in the era of huge, baggy, sports-inflected clothes. Having been the focus of much media speculation in the past year (she was tipped to take the menswear job at Louis Vuitton), she met Louis Wise as she launches a third Nike collaboration and takes on a creative role for Clarks. After 16 years at the helm of her own label, and having taken on investment, she’s not interested in moving, and is beginning to enjoy the kind of recognition that has found her becoming – dare we say it – a little more mainstream. Rose tries not to strategise or plan too acutely, but her sense of the zeitgeist makes her a great barometer for predicting what’s to come.
Have you met Gstaad Guy? The Instagram influencer who lampoons the lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy, Gstaad Guy combines the personalities of Constance, a Loro Piana-wearing Euro smoothie, and the younger, roguish Colton, a flash start-up type who loves big logos and wears head-to-toe LV. The brainchild of an anonymous creator who lives in London, Gstaad Guy will either send you into gales of laughter or make your fingers itch with irritation. Love him or hate him, the satirical account has been quite the money spinner, as brands have rushed to put the comic alter egos in their wares. In the world of luxury influencing, it’s a case of poacher-turned-gamekeeper, or something like it – except the poacher is wearing a £250,000 watch by Audemars Piguet.
On the subject of fancy timepieces, I’m right behind the brown watch trend. Once an anomaly in new collections, chocolates, tans and beiges have proliferated this year. Nick Foulkes explains the spike as being part of the boom in watch collecting: faces often take on a sepia-type patina when the watch is more “mature”. Whatever it is, I love them. Brown is, after all, my favourite colour – not least, as one expert correctly notes here, because it looks extremely good with gold.
Lastly, to Paris, and a cover story shot with friends (and models) Lucas El Bali and Takfarines Bengana, pictured gallivanting through the city in true Jean-Luc Godard style. Photographed by Nathaniel Goldberg and styled by Anastasia Barbieri, it’s totally transporting, capturing this season’s nostalgic années folles glamour in the most romantic destination, at the most magical of hours.
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