Buy a bum bag — and other lessons from the SS19 menswear shows
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Suits v Sports: call a truce
Too often, menswear is seen as a pitched battle between the threatened establishment and the clothing of the rabble. But SS19 showed it’s OK to want a suit and a pair of sneakers. In his excellent debut at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh presented the perfect compromise. His opening white double-breasted suit was sharp yet roomy, and looked just as comfortable as a hoodie.
Bring out the bum bag
Still putting all your stuff in your trouser pockets? Bum bags, utility slings and holsters are now the only place to keep your keys/phone/wallet. Hermès and Off-White showed bum bags worn cross-body; Junya Watanabe offered utility bags, clipped on the front like a parachute pack (pictured, above), and the Louis Vuitton body bag looked like a holster.
Believe in colour
Continuing the mood of the London and Milan shows, Paris was saturated with colour. Thom Browne had gingham tailoring in rainbow shades; Kim Jones’s debut at Dior had a cashmere suit in acid yellow; Dries Van Noten looked to the primary graphics of Verner Panton, and the short shorts at Hermès (above) were vivid yellow.
Save the independent spirit
Brand independence is becoming ever rarer (earlier this month, Dries Van Noten sold a majority stake to Puig). Rick Owens and Comme des Garçons are two of the last bastions of self-reliance. Both sent out shows that show the benefits of marching to your own beat. Rick Owens investigated the angular lines of Russian Constructivism and ended with a wearable tent; Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons sent out a stream of “crazy suits” (below) — ruched, sliced or embellished, they were all excellently conceived.
Is it time for men’s couture?
Raf Simons used couture fabrics for his show inspired by post-punk new wave (above). Young British designer John Skelton showed small-scale unironed jackets and shirts that were hand-dyed to order. Meanwhile at Maison Margiela, John Galliano showed his first ever men’s couture show for the brand’s Artisanal line. Menswear is booming: so is it time to expand the market?
Who needs a show?
Some of the finest designers decided to sit out the season, and may never again show in the traditional way. Gosha Rubchinskiy is yet to reveal how he will next produce and distribute his garments. And after a run of great shows in London, Grace Wales Bonner presented her collection in the calmness of her Paris showroom.
It’s not over yet
In September, Riccardo Tisci will unveil his first collection for Burberry, presenting menswear alongside womenswear at London Fashion Week. Gucci and Balenciaga will have co-ed shows. Then comes the most tantalising reveal yet: what will Hedi Slimane do for men at Céline? Slimane is one of the few designers with the power and audacity to push menswear in unexpected directions. Where will he take us next?