The Menswear Moments We Will Remember From 2018
From the rise of the scumbro to the royal wedding, here’s our take on the sartorial highs (and lows) of the year
Paris Fashion Week, SS19. Photograph by Mr Adam Katz Sinding/Blaublut-Edition.com
In 20 years’ time, what will you remember about 2018? Will it be President Trump and Brexit? Or Beyoncé and Mr Ed Sheeran? Or perhaps that thing which sounds like “Yanni” to some people and “Laurel” to others? Don’t worry, you’ve got a couple of weeks left to consider just exactly which of these precious morsels will be stored in your internal HD for future contemplation. But before you do, we’d like to politely ask you to consider some of the highlights and developments in the (OK, not exactly lightning-paced) world of contemporary menswear in 2018. Scroll down for MR PORTER’s picks, and our (entirely spurious) thoughts upon them.
01. Make-up for men
Seoul. Photograph by Mr Adam Katz Sinding
Yes, everyone does it in South Korea, where brands such as Dr Jart, CNP Laboratories, Face Shop and more have long been providing foundation-like BB (beauty balm) creams, eyebrow pencils and lip-stains for men. But… Chanel? The cosmetics arm of the Parisian megabrand launched Boy de Chanel, its first men-only make-up range, in August. Is this the start of a revolution? As if we needed something else to worry about…
02. K-Pop hits the mainstream
BTS at the American Music Awards, Los Angeles. Photograph by Mr Dave Bedrosian/Press Association Images
Guess who was the most tweeted about celebrity, globally, in 2018? No, it wasn’t Mr Kanye West (number three) despite his odd foray into (and subsequent retreat from) political activism. And no, it wasn’t Drake (number four) or Ms Ariana Grande (number six). It was in fact, as The Sunday Times’ Style put it “The Biggest Pop Band in the World… And you’ve never heard of them!” – also known as K-Pop act BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys. K-Pop, of course, has been extremely popular worldwide for may years now, but the rise and rise of BTS has had the effect of well and truly propelling it into mainstream consciousness. And this time, it’s not “Gangnam Style” we’re being treated to, but a full-on, pink-haired, made-up boy band extravaganza, which of course, comes with its own particular kind of designer-heavy fashion: loud, colourful, exuberant and ever-changing. It’s an aesthetic that, coincidentally or not-so-coincidentally, is particularly well-served by the dominant trends in European fashion at the moment: Gucci’s wild, romantic eclecticism; Balenciaga’s oversized silhouettes; Off-White’s elevation of streetwear into aspirational fashion items. Inevitably then, we can only imagine we’re going to see more and more of our South Korean friends. (NB. EXO, another K-Pop boy band, was at number five in the Twitter list. BTS member Jimin was at number eight.)
03. The absolute unit
Paris Fashion Week, SS19. Photograph by Mr Adam Katz Sinding/Blaublut Edition
It’s not often that something people say on Twitter coincides with a trend that can be seen replicated across the runways of Paris, Milan and London. But in 2018, various social media users picked up a late December 2017 tweet by @mrreptoid about British hotelier Mr David Morgan-Hewitt (“in awe at the size of this lad. Absolute unit”) and applied it to fashion, which, to put it lightly, is having an oversized moment. Twitter was ablaze as people started using the meme to refer to looks by Y/Project, Vetements and Balenciaga. The Cut wrote an explainer piece about it. When it came to ranking the top “ugly” sneakers, Dazed Digital introduced a scale of “1 to Absolute Unit.” We were, in short, all in awe at the size of everything.
05. Everyone Has Changed Their Logo (To the Same Logo)
Burberry taxi outside the Burberry store in London. Photograph by Mr Steve Ross/Capital Pictures
OK, we are exaggerating a little bit here. But it seems that there is some mystic business case that has come to light in 2018 for the sans serif font. Burberry, under Mr Riccardo Tisci, ditched its old logo in favour of something bold and geometric. Balmain, under Mr Olivier Rousteing, has done the same thing. Mr Hedi Slimane, taking the helm at Céline, decided to revert to a 1960s logotype, losing the acute accent over the “e” – that, it seems, was all a bit too fussy. We’re a little intrigued to see whose logo will fall next – Versace, maybe? Valentino? And where will all those poor serifs go, now they’re no longer needed?
06. Hair Goes Wild
Mr Timothée Chalamet at the Oscars, Los Angeles, February 2018. Photograph by Mr Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Just last month, The Cut’s Ms Erica Smith made an observant point in her article “Now Is The Time For Teen Hearthrob Hair”. By which we mean to agree with her and say that it seems, as a new, slimmer class of male star – Messrs Timothée Chalamet, Zayn Malik, Troye Sivan and their like – emerges from under the beefy wings of the early 2010s superhero types, we’re also seeing a reversion to the tousled, overlong locks that defined teen TV in the 1990s. This, also, is not unrelated to the runway – in fact, across the shows for this winter and next spring, there was an awful lot of tousled, cowlick-y, long styles. Clearly, the trend for the barber cut (and those crispy, gelled, Love Island-y quiffs) is on the wane in favour of something a little more natural and messy.
07. The “scumbro”
Left: Mr Pete Davidson, New York, September 2018. Photograph by Backgrid. Centre: Mr Jonah Hill in New York, September 2018. Photograph by Mr Robert Kamau/Getty Images. Right: Mr Justin Bieber in New York, August 2018. Photograph by Mr James Devaney/Getty Images
We’ve previously covered this in depth on The Daily, so all those looking for the full lowdown should head there now. But here’s the short version: in 2018, male celebrities started dressing in very expensive, very sloppy clothes, with a laissez-faire attitude to whether they went together and, yes, seemingly, whether they’d washed.
08. Mr Virgil Abloh
Mr Virgil Abloh at Paris Fashion Week, SS19. Photograph by The Urban Spotter/Blaublut Edition
This was the year in which Mr Virgil Abloh went from “The guy who does that very cool brand Off-White” to “The guy who does the menswear for the world’s biggest luxury house, and also runs the ridiculously successful hype-label Off-White”. It’s a fine distinction, but one that has made Mr Abloh’s presence utterly ubiquitous this year. And deservedly so. Though not everyone’s going to be able to get their hands on his debut collection for Louis Vuitton – we’re guessing numbers will be limited, and sell-outs almost instant – we wouldn’t be surprised if the ideas presented in it – accessories as garments, fluoro, quilting and statement hardware – resonate far and wide in the coming months.
09. The royal wedding
Mr David and Ms Victoria Beckham, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, 19 May 2018. Photograph by Mr Toby Melville/Press Association Images
There aren’t many occasions at which you get to wear a three-piece morning suit. Imagine the glee of various famous owners of said garment across the globe when they were invited to the royal wedding. “Ooh,” they must have thought, “I’ve got just the thing!” Seeing so many of these garments, all at once, in the sunshine in Windsor in May, felt like happening upon a pack of snow leopards just casually prowling around. We particularly liked those worn by Messrs David Beckham and Alexi Lubomirski (who took some really nice pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex). Oh, and we suppose Prince William’s get-up wasn’t bad, either.
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