In my early years at fashion school, menswear was never a significant part of my studies. You could even say I detested it, because well, I thought it was boring. In my eyes, menswear always stayed to the same structure — it was simple, it was plain, and it never really blew anyone’s mind, as far as I could tell. I could never see past the jeans/t-shirt, pants/shirt/jacket combo. It was not until the trend of incorporating menswear into women’s looks came about that I suddenly realised that my idea of menswear was not all it was cut out to be. Menswear fashion has come a long way from just being plain and “boring”, and it’s proven in the Spring/Summer 2013 collections. A lot of the garments I saw were outrageous, and eye-catching in a way that triggered me to start wondering how each individual piece was constructed, and what went into the whole design process for something so inspired to come about. Here are some of my favourites from the Menswear Spring/Summer 2013 collections, and I’m pretty sure if you’ve had the same view on this subject as I did in the past, when you’re done looking at these fine pieces, your thoughts would change too!
Apparently, Véronique Nichanian used canvas as the foundation fabric for most of her garments, but incorporated technical treatments to make it look smooth and synthetic like the fabric in a coat, or light and crumpled like linen that’s used in a jacket. How amazing does that sound? Her use of colour for the season also caught my attention, with flashy shades such as “acidic absinthe green”, citron, harrison red, and toned down cool shades of blue and indigo. This collection is perfect for the urban male — modern, comfortable, and stylist without being too flamboyant. You really can’t go wrong here.
Riccardo Tisci took a different approach to the colour palette of his garments, with black, white and a little ice-pink duchesse satin thrown in. The collection is said to be based on the two contrasting characteristics: sanctity and sin. You could definitely feel the vibe with little white collars that peeped from under black coats, and the face of Virgin Mary printed in layers over chiffon, giving her an eerie almost three-dimensional feel. Tisci’s use of overlapping panels and his punk priests have got a definite two thumbs up from me.
Looking for cicada wing patterns on a trench coat, or maybe a patch worked gold jacquard suit? No? How about art deco dragonflies scattered across a tuxedo? What other designer could pull off embroidered men’s suits in satin as well as Sarah Burton, of Alexander McQueen? I have yet to find an equal here. Her men’s Spring/Summer collection is full of motifs that have been used in her previous Resort, but I’m pretty sure you’re as shock as I am to see how she’s translated that into her men’s garments. The designer stated that she used Dorian Gray and Visconti’s Death in Venice as inspiration, giving the feeling of an olden Europe with a fabrics and prints that were drawn from bathroom tiles, etchings on glass, and patterns on a tablecloth in an old hotel!
It seems that Nicolas Ghesquiere has had his eye on Asia for awhile now, with some of his collections over the past years incorporating several Asian-themed elements. The kimono has now made its way to the top of his list, showing in this latest men’s collection — a kimono with none of its usual rigor, but full of it at the same time. They call it “couture”, which seems to be on everyone’s lips nowadays, especially pertaining to the men’s fashion. The collection has a voluminous “egg-shaped” structure, and some of it even came with a floral print, which I didn’t like much. I did, however, enjoy the extra-long, single button suits jackets that are pretty hard to pull off. Ghesquiere did a wonderful job of that.
Ralph Lauren has it all in this collection with looks ranging from a three-piece tailored option with a tailcoat, to something a lot more casual, like shorts paired with a shirt and layered with a sweater — all with a little preppy twist of course. The sportswear portion of the brand now offers more florals to neon orange slickers, and the collection looks a little more snug than usual, due to the slimming down of the overall silhouette. If you’re a fan of the tv-series ‘Suits’, I’m pretty sure you’d agree when I say that Harvey Spector would definitely approve of some of the suits in this collection!
Lines and stripes are all of what Marni’s new collection is about, which include its overall straight silhouettes that are elongated by button up jackets. I also love how Consuelo Castiglioni combined the stripes with graphic prints that make you look twice. Apparently, Castiglioni had fallen in love with Dutch artist Rop van Mierlo’s picture book, ‘Wild Animals’, which she borrowed a handful of images from for tees. Too cute!
When I first heard of Christopher Kane, it was for his beautiful Resort collection of galaxy print dresses back in 2011. Still holding on to his style of beautiful prints; his sleek men’s collection is full of them — brush strokes, enlarged roses, and even brush strokes on enlarged roses. There are also plain looks in one complete colour. He even managed to reverse the tracksuit! It wouldn’t be hard to guess why we’re drawn into his work.
Choosing Vivienne’s collection would probably be going a little out of my comfort zone, for no other reason than the fact that I am not used to such low cowl necklines on men’s clothing, or even head garlands and floral pants (on men) for that matter. Call me old fashioned, if you must, but I did have to give it a second look. Once I had gotten past the overly feminine necklines and pants, I realised — It’s Vivienne Westwood! It’s bound to be slightly odd. And as Westwood goes, I’d say this would be pretty toned down on all accounts.
Image credits: style.com