The Style Lexicon: Spring 2019
The fashion terms you need to know for the coming season.
There are some things we can already guarantee about the new season: the world will continue to turn and there will still be parties. People will get together and face off about all types of things, some of them style related. Lest you be left out in the cold at such occasions, please revise the terms below. These are the words that will be on every fashion person’s lips this spring.
A portmanteau, invented by Mr Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, that describes the transformation of an accessory into a garment, as seen in the latest offerings from the Parisian brand and others, including Junya Watanabe. Presumably an evolutionary process akin to the way in which our prehistoric, slug-like ancestors gradually grew legs and wandered out of the sea millions of years ago, before they invented shopping.
Try it: Junya Watanabe’s multi-pocketed flak jacket is the perfect solution for maximising on-body storage space for your everyday ephemera. Wear it with a pair of cargo pants and a plain T-shirt and you’ll be on the right side of the military line. Challenging for the average guy? Perhaps, but you can’t deny it looks dynamic.
Dystopian, guerrilla warfare-style clothing. A more aggressive take on the utilitarian trend that’s been doing the rounds; thick, anti-stab fabric waistcoats in the style of bulletproof vests, buckled belts and sportswear layered over more sportswear. Not recommended for active duty, more the sort of thing you would sport on the fashion-world frontline, for a fragrance launch, for example.
Try it: not brave enough to wear Junya Watanabe’s flak jacket, above? Try something a little more discreet, such as Heron Preston’s zip-pocketed utility vest. It’s light enough to go under a coat or jacket or could be worn over a shirt when the mercury creeps up. Plus, it’ll be useful for carrying all of your essentials when the revolution inevitably comes.
An antidote to the mass-produced, heavily branded streetwear aesthetic in the form of clothing with lots of extra hand-done bells and whistles – embroidery, artisanal distressing, customisation, that kind of thing. Also used in connection with the arrival of some especially spectacular suiting at designers across the board – and thank goodness for that.
Try it: the trench coat wouldn’t have been around for more than 150 years if it hadn’t demonstrated an endless capacity for reinvention. This dual-coloured version, by British label Alexander McQueen, has been treated with couture-level craft and exquisitely tailored from wool twill. It’s guaranteed to make a sharp impression when you’re heading to and from the office.
A celebration of the purity, the craft and the romanticism of the countryside comes courtesy of Loewe and Jacquemus. It is most evident in these designers’ Provençal straw hats and loose, flowing garments in pastoral whites and creams. This of-the-land, back-to-nature trend is an aesthetic and philosophical counterweight to fashion’s current obsession with speed, hype and urgency. And we’re all for a bit of that.
Try it: Jacquemus’s boxy foliage-print shirt will inspire you to unplug and get off the grid, even if it’s just for an evening. Wear it with a pair of wide-leg trousers or jeans and some low-top sneakers. Then wear with shorts and espadrilles when the warm weather (finally) arrives.
Another term coined by Mr Abloh, following his debut show as men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. It describes a garment or accessory that reflects the fashion religion of a reverent generation of young designers. The ubiquitous belt bag, resurrected, is a prime example of Margielaism, worn, as it is, like rosary beads by loyal devotees.
Try it: the streetwear staple formerly known as the bum bag is the pre-eminently stylish choice for getting around town hands free. Gone are the neon colours and bold patterns of decades past. In 2019, we’re seeing smarter iterations in black nylon and leather. Our favourite? This compact version by Los Angeles-based brand 1017 Alyx 9SM.
Psychedelia: originally a term for art created with chemical or narcotic assistance and often evocative of the late 1960s, it now describes the elation and euphoria observed in trippy colour formations and kaleidoscopic motifs that informed the dizzyingly vibrant SS19 collections of Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga and Craig Green. Tie-dye is a homespun take on psychedelia.
Try it: Dries Van Noten’s multi-coloured raincoat is a dazzling mix of bright red, Day-Glo orange and electric turquoise and blue. Be careful not to go overboard. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Let an item as bold as this do the talking, and wear with a pair of understated chinos or dark jeans.