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The Report

What We Learnt At The Men’s AW19 Fashion Weeks

Our 11 takeaway trends from this season’s runway shows

  • Dries Van Noten runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by WWD/Shutterstock

While the world got itself into a lather over a razor-blade brand taking a pop at toxic masculinity, the runways of LondonMilan and Paris were undergoing an identity crisis of their own.

Some designers stretched for reinvention, some reproduced the tried and tested, and some took menswear to new, challenging, far-out places. The result was a grand bazaar of men’s style that shot out in all directions like a star-streaming firework. Spectacular? Certainly. But it also proved rather a lot to take in. Here, then, by way of a reader’s digest, are the 11 points of interest drawn from the AW19 shows that we think you should know about.

01. ACCESSOMORPHOSIS IS CATCHING ON

  • From left: A-Cold-Wall* runway, London, 7 January. Photograph by WWD/Shutterstock; Dries Van Noten runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by IMAXTree; Louis Vuitton runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by IMAXTree

Fashion loves a new word almost as much as it loves a new trend, and the one to know this season is “accessomorphosis”. Coined by Mr Virgil Abloh last year, it describes an accessory that morphs into a garment. It took hold in a big way at the Paris shows in the form of bag-sized leather pockets at Rick Owens and harnesses at 1017 ALYX 9SM, as well as popping up at Dior. Despite the broad proliferation, it was Mr Abloh who did it most and did it best. At his sophomore collection as the artistic director for Louis Vuitton men’s, there was a leather blouson that appeared to be a lovechild of a field jacket and a piece of the brand’s monogrammed luggage. Both the most useful trend we’ve seen in years and a nightmare at customs.

02. LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF MACARONS

  • AMI runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by Mr Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

“Ladurée macarons!” exclaimed Ami’s Mr Alexandre Mattiussi backstage when asked about the inspiration for the colours in his latest collection. Pushing a sense of romance through the brand, its offering of creamy wool, rose and coffee-coloured coats and pistachio-hued sweaters felt like a box of the famous treat-purveyor’s gourmandises. After visiting the Eiffel Tower for the first time last year, Mr Mattiussi decided to pay tribute to Paris and its reputation for understated sophistication for AW19. “I wanted to show beauty and elegance, and this sense of bourgeoisie,” he said. “Bourgeoisie may be a bad word today in France, but I wanted to keep alive that idea of being well educated and wearing beautiful clothes.”

03. BIG SCARF ENERGY IS A THING

  • From left: A-Cold-Wall* runway, London, 7 January. Photograph by Mr Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Dries Van Noten runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by IMAXTree; Sunnei runway, Milan, 13 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Acne Studios runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by WWD/Shutterstock; AMI runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by IMAXTree

You know what they say about big scarves? They keep you warmer than a small scarf, duh. Good for those who feel a chill then, because this season was all about who had the biggest scarf in the room. It was a toss-up between Ami, Acne Studios and Dries Van Noten, but the resounding message on the runway was that (scarf) size matters.

04. VETEMENTS DEVISED A NEW WAY TO LOOK AT YOUR PHONE

  • Vetements runway, Paris, 17 January. All photographs by Ms Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

“It’s my birthday and all I got was this overpriced hoodie from Vetements”, read a printed hoodie from the brand this season. Trust Mr Demna Gvasalia to give the fashion industry a royal trolling. Amid a collection inspired by teenage dirtbags (think greasy curtain hairstyles and wide-leg skater pants), there were also veil-like hoodies that entirely covered the models’ faces and pushed out in front of them as they held their iPhones. It was a design Mr Gvasalia said he devised on the train between Paris and Zurich – where he splits his time as the artistic director of Balenciaga and Vetements, respectively – after he wondered how he could look at his phone without worrying about the prying eyes of fellow passengers. It read like a tongue-in-cheek joke for the internet age – perhaps also teasing those show-goers who love to watch an entire fashion show with their phone rather than their eyes.

05. TAILORING GOT MORE TECHNICAL

  • From left: Prada runway, Milan, 13 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Dior runway, Paris, 18 January. Photograph by Backgrid; Sacai runway, Paris, 19 January. Photograph by Splash News; Ermenegildo Zegna runway, Milan, 11 January. Photograph by Photoshot; A-Cold-Wall* runway, London, 7 January. Photograph by IMAXTree

Unless your daily commute is particularly treacherous, you probably do not need a Gore-Tex suit or a utility belt to get to work in the mornings. “Bah!” say the menswear designers this season. Blue-collar cargo trousers with blazersBriefcases that look like gun cases! Hiking sneakers with suits! From Sacai to Prada, smart clothes fraternised with outdoor gear to create some kind of utilitarian offspring, and at Ermenegildo Zegna, the clothes were completed with straps and cuffs, showing a tailoring expertise that had toughened up. In other words, if you get to the office and don’t look like you’re about to fast-rope out of a helicopter, Swat-team style, you’re not trying hard enough.

06. BRACE YOURSELF FOR MORE ANIMAL PRINTS THAN A SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BOX SET

  • From left: Celine runway, Paris, 20 January. Photograph by Mr Peter White/Getty Images; Dior runway, Paris, 18 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Raf Simons runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by Splash News; Marni runway, Milan, 12 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Versace runway, Milan, 12 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Sacai runway, Paris, 19 January. Photograph by Splash News

Lions, tigers, leopards and zebras – animal print has been nipping at the ankles of menswear for a couple of seasons now, but this time it really roared. From the zebra-print grey sleeves on leather jackets at Dior to psychedelic wildlife prints at Marni and even leopard-style dye on the buzz-cut head of one Versace model, the man to emulate this season was part glam-rock icon, part Fred Flinstone. If you want to try this out, do so without trepidation; it appeared with so much variation that there aren’t any rules we could discern. Just, er, go wild.

07. GOOD CLOTHES HAVE NO AGE LIMIT

  • Junya Watanabe runway, Paris, 18 January. Photograph by Getty Images

Although the clothes that come down runways and end up in wardrobes will be bought by men of all ages, they are usually modelled by tweens. What a refreshing sight, then, when Junya Watanabe sent his collection down the catwalk on a brigade of older men dressed in textured blazers, checked shirts and tough, cool-dad jeans. We approve.

08. FRANKENSTEIN TAILORING

  • From left: Fendi runway, Milan, 14 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Junya Watanabe runway, Paris, 18 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Off-White runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by IMAXTree

Wearing two jackets at once seemed to be the thing this season. Tailoring was spliced together to schizophrenic effect, so that suits appeared in a multitude of textures and fabrics. Not sure whether you want to wear something smart or street, louche or refined? Look to the likes of Fendi and Off-White, and simply do it all at once.

09. YOU SHOULD CARRY A BAG OR THREE

  • From left: Fendi runway, Milan, 14 January. Photograph by Mr Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Sunnei runway, Milan, 13 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Christian Dior runway, Paris, 18 January. Photograph by Backgrid

If you’re not strapped up with a belt bag, a backpack and some kind of tote this season, you’re not paying attention. With the age of the sneaker coming to its close, the male handbag is establishing itself as the key product to own. Fendi, Dior and Italian label Sunnei showed such a wealth of bags in numerous iterations that models appeared as though they had packed their belongings and were making a run for it.

10. THE MALE WAIST

  • From left: Craig Green runway, London, 8 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Thom Browne runway, Paris, 19 January. Photograph by Splash News; Givenchy presentation, Paris, 16 January. Photograph by IMAXTree; Dries Van Noten runway, Paris, 17 January. Photograph by Photoshot; Prada runway, Milan, 13 January. Photograph by Mr Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A new silhouette is emerging in menswear, and it’s a surprising one: with cinched-in waists on suiting at Givenchy and a plethora of tightly strapped belts across midriffs at Prada, the shape menswear is moving in is rather hourglass. Do say: “Ah, this Thom Browne men’s dress has me feeling some type of way!” Don’t say: “Have you dressed up as Theresa May?”

11. STICKING TO WHAT YOU KNOW PROVED EFFECTIVE

  • Officine Generale runway, Paris, 20 January. Photograph by Getty Images

In a climate where much of menswear is in flux, and the intense popularity of streetwear has frightened seasoned designers into creating something out of their comfort zones, the designers who stood out were the ones who were stoic about their aesthetic. Mr Hedi Slimane may not be the most popular man in fashion, but his debut menswear for Celine showed that, if nothing else, he is committed. At Officine Generale, too, artistic director Mr Pierre Mahéo spoke backstage about evolving his brand while staying true to his values: “I look to the street to see what people are wearing. It’s not in my DNA to force these trends, it will never look effortless if you do this.” With a finely curated collection of straightforward but nonetheless beautiful pieces, Mr Mahéo’s approach proved to be a triumph.

  • Acne Studios Chad Oversized Wool and Cashmere-Blend Coat

  • Carhartt WIP Chase Mélange Fleece-Back Cotton-Blend Jersey Hoodie

  • RtA Oversized Printed Cotton-Blend Jersey T-Shirt

  • Maison Margiela Wide-Leg Cotton-Twill Chinos

  • Veja V-10 Leather and Rubber-Trimmed Suede and B-Mesh Sneakers

  • Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Leather Belt Bag

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