Nine Men’s Designer Brands That Are Having A Moment This Spring
From AMIRI to Needles, a roundup of the labels to add to your Wish List right now
There’s a lot happening in menswear right now. New brands are emerging at breakneck speed. Storied luxury houses, once the bastions of tradition and heritage, are reinventing their established codes and installing forward-looking designers at the creative helm to shake things up. Even the streetwear set has begun to infiltrate the once hallowed halls of the tailoring world. Is it exciting? Certainly. Exhausting? A little. Because once you’ve factored in the working, eating and sleeping portions of your life, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to stay on top of every single style development. Luckily for you time-poor lot, then, that task falls to us. And, while we’re not usually one for playing favourites, we’ve put our heads together to narrow these goings-on down into a digest of the labels and collections we think you should have on your radar. Read on for nine brands to watch (and add to your Wish List) this season.
New to MR PORTER this season is the first menswear collection from Mr Simon Porte Jacquemus, a Frenchman who put forward a summery offering last June on the beaches of Marseille, his hometown. Titled “Le Gadjo” – a boyish nickname for the swaggering Bohemian types spotted about town – the collection is a sandy, sun-soaked affair with lots of loose tailoring, oversized camp-collared shirts and, believe it or not, Speedos. The return of skimpy swimwear aside, perhaps the most important takeaway from the show was what Mr Jacquemus proposed in the bag department: the mini bag, a smaller, sleeker and, to our mind, smarter way to carry your accoutrements. An evolution of the latterly dominant belt-bag trend, these diminutive accessories are designed to be worn around the neck or, for a smarter interpretation, over the shoulder. Anticipate packing lighter than usual this summer.
If you find yourself in Shibuya, Tokyo, and stumble upon an ancient felled tree, you haven’t been spirited away to the Studio Ghibli universe; instead you’ve likely found the door, marked by an uprooted trunk, to the city’s streetwear mecca: Nepenthes. Founded by Mr Keizo Shimizu in 1988, the store’s in-house label, Needles – one of the latest brands to join MR PORTER’s ever-expanding coterie of hard-to-find Japanese labels – followed in 1997, during the city’s streetwear renaissance. The line broadly mirrors the country’s clothing culture. It’s a miscellany of classic Americana, East Coast prep, thrift-store finds, skate-meets-surf gear, 1990s sportswear and traditional Japanese textiles, too. From the latest collection, the bleached denim, wide-leg sweatpants and printed bombers all deserve a prominent position in your spring wardrobe.
Versace is back bigger and better for SS19 and doing so by delving into its archives. The brand’s signature 1980s patterns – the baroque, Greca and Medusa-head prints – pepper the collection, as does a new paisley-inspired floral arrangement. This time around, though, these patterns appear together, all on the same piece. Has the brand created a monster? If so, it’s a very stylish one. As a foil to the kaleidoscopic colour palette, there’s also a stock of more subdued pieces: pinstriped tailoring reminiscent of 1980s power-dressing (see the short shorts above), regimental-striped shirting and lightweight jackets.
Isabel Marant Eggy Floral Printed Silk-Blend Camp-Collar Shirt Coming soon
Some brands develop their signature look over time under the stewardship of a succession of creative directors; others have a singular vision from the start. Ms Isabel Marant’s namesake brand falls into the latter camp. The French designer’s long-standing womenswear line has been lauded for its easy Bohemian attitude and that’s precisely what she brings to the boys, too. For her sophomore men’s collection, she presented an unfussy and eminently wearable line of Western jackets, printed shirts and Navajo-inspired cord jewellery. And though all of this was extremely enticing (and prompted us to immediately add them to our holiday packing Wish List), it was the embroidered denim that really caught our eye. Trust us, white jeans are back – and here to stay – thanks, at least in part, to Ms Marant’s valiant efforts.
A pioneering voice in the work-cum-streetwear movement, Carhartt WIP (Work in Progress) started life three decades ago in 1989 when Mr Edwin Faeh and Ms Salomée Faeh were first licensed to import the iconic Detroit brand famous for outfitting railroad workers in hardy overalls. A few years down the line, the duo began work on an urban line with more progressive, directional ambitions and the WIP offshoot was born. The SS19 collection is bursting with all the usual suspects: cargo trousers, camouflage and jumpsuits, but there are also surprises in store, including a few outliers such as graphic floral prints and preppy striped rugby shirts.
If ever there was proof that the sportwear mood that’s been around the last few years or so still runs deep, it’s Helmut Lang’s most recent collection. A brand of this pedigree (it was founded in 1986) has experience enough to remember the last time fashion’s runways collectively embraced this attitude: the 1990s. The stark minimalism for which the label became known during this period resumes in the SS19 line. There are logos and slogans, of course, which vary in scale from small and discreet to loud and proud, while the almost-exclusively monochrome theme is interrupted with bold flashes of orange and crimson, and – to satisfy this season’s seemingly compulsory pastel requirement – baby blue and ecru.
POLO RALPH LAUREN
Polo Ralph Lauren has always had a chameleon-like quality. Uniquely, it’s a brand with the ability to entice the smart-casual set, streetwear fanatics and everyone in between. SS19 comes on the heels of an outdoorsy Polo Hi Sport capsule and a sell-out commemorative collection which revived key styles from the iconic Polo Sport line worn by the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and the self-styled Lo-Life Crew, in their heyday. And it’s these recent projects that have paved the way for a more graphic, more colourful and, frankly, more fun spring collection. We’ll race you to that souvenir backpack.
To those outside the style bubble, the term “bootlegging” probably has some extra-legal connotations. To us, however, it’s now an industry norm. The practice of pastiche, copy-catting and faking logos became something of a fashion phenomenon a few of years ago, spearheaded by Vetements and Gucci. Today, Valentino’s Mr Pierpaolo Piccioli has adopted a more astute approach: “ripping off’ the house’s logo-heavy scarf patterns from the 1970s and 1980s and reworking them onto head-to-toe matching (and sometimes clashing) looks of classic menswear pieces: trench coats, jeans and even bucket hats. If the all-or-nothing runway approach was too bold for your liking, start small with the matching polo shirt and bomber jacket, above.
LA-based Amiri is a brand like no other. It is, after all, the brainchild of Mr Mike Amiri, a guy who grew up idolising the Mötley Crüe and likes to blast holes through cashmere with a shotgun. Is it for everyone? No. But it’s this novel, some might say, antagonistic approach to the luxury arena that catapulted the label to success in several short years. Following last season’s glittering homage to The Lost Boys, this spring’s collection casts a wider net in celebrating California’s cultural melting pot. Built around the core of skinny jeans and frontman-friendly leather jackets, the collection features straight-out-of-Dogtown hoodies and slip-on sneakers as well as Venice Beach-inspired surf gear, including tie-dye pieces and the palm-tree patterned cardigan above.