Diversity in fashion seems like one of the industry’s longest running battles; it feels like every season, we discuss how much progress has been made and how much more we need to see. For the spring 2017 shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, this season proved to be the most diverse yet. But let’s not get too excited just yet. There’s still quite a lot of progress to be made.
There’s so much out there in terms of fashion, and it’s up to today’s designers to provide women with choices, whether it’s a character she could become via a brand’s propositions or a message that a collection presents. Sure, sometimes the clothes are left to speak for themselves. But in that case, the pieces should carry the strength of re-presenting typical garb.
It feels like fashion never sleeps; right as the fall 2016 menswear shows came to a close, womenswear kicked off without missing a beat. And while there’s a lot of discussion around the somewhat “broken” cycle of Fashion Month, this was a season just like any other, with major collections, designer switchups, and all the usual elements that keep us coming back for more.
It seems as if the men’s fashion market is growing more and more each season, attracting increased attention to the world’s most noteworthy fashion capitals. For fall 2016, we saw the top menswear creators continue to expand the dialogue on traditional definitions of masculinity and male style, playing with various elements that redefine the formerly quiet niche.
Iceberg is easily one of the most underrated labels. For fall 2014, designer Alexis Martial showed a stunning space age collection during Milan Fashion Week, featuring unique styling and details on sharp silhouettes. Some standout looks included somewhat sporty sweatshirts garnished with brightly colored plastic squares, printed and pleated dresses and skirts, sleek suits created in futuristic neoprene-blended fabric and tops with subtle yet loud pops of color, concealed by sheer chiffon veils. Meanwhile, the brand’s signature knitwear was perfected, with chunky sweaters – many of which were enhanced with an astronautic silver foil – worn with geometrically pristine skirts. Still settling at the brand, Alexis Martial has a bright future at Iceberg.
See the full Iceberg fall 2014 ready-to-wear collection here!
After a flurry of streetwear, color, and other exciting innovations at some of Milan’s most renowned fashion houses, the Italian city’s week of menswear presentations has come to a close. Now, it’s Paris’ turn, as the spring 2014 menswear show season is set to culminate with even more noteworthy designs from some of the best in the business. One of the first collections to debut in Paris was Valentino, a company that’s been getting an abundance of attention since designers Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri reinvented the aesthetic of Valentino Garavani himself.
Elegance dictates the Valentino aesthetic, and Piccioli and Chiuri have redefined what the term means this season with a deconstructed, urban appeal. But instead of only pairing their sleek, tailored ensembles with sneakers and sports gear, the team presented a deeper analysis of individual urban elements. Somehow, denim suits were most definitely a thing, though adapted in the perfect washes to prevent looking like a 1990’s disaster. Another typically unappealing concept of camouflage pants manifested itself in a way that spoke more of sophistication than hunting attire; Piccioli and Chiuri joined the club of designers turning florals into camouflage with their variation of the styles. A variety of pieces appeared to be turned inside-out, like jackets with exposed seams and unexpected strips of fabric. Meanwhile, leather accents on shirts resembled duct tape, and details on trousers were reminiscent of safety gear.
There’s almost no semblance of the iconic Valentino brand established by Mr. Garavani decades ago, but Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s new take on an old framework has invented a modern, resourceful Valentino man for spring 2014.
Phrases like “high-end hipster” and “quirky cool” often come to mind regarding Marc Jacobs menswear, and those concepts were as noticeable as ever in the New York-based label’s spring 2014 collection. While many of the Milanese fashion houses are just jumping into the streetwear trend this season, this has long been a pivotal aspect of Marc Jacobs’ aesthetic, playing a role as one of the definitive designers in the New York fashion movement.
This season, Jacobs’ traditional themes were recreated in weather-appropriate linens and silks, while floral tops created an Elvis Presley meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas look. Presented in a showroom instead of on the more common runway, Marc Jacobs’ short and effective spring 2014 menswear collection conveyed a necessary balance of luxury and eccentricity.
Set atop a mass of sand, Fendi’s spring 2014 menswear collection illustrated an image of an urban desert. The looks were mostly simple silhouettes, comprising of trousers, jackets, shorts, and t-shirts all with a texturized appearance. As essentially every menswear collection so far has shown, leather is always in style, and Fendi reiterated that sentiment with sleek and shapely tops, jackets, and pants. Meanwhile, abstract prints and plaids looked as if they were melting in the implied heat of the spring and summer sun. Speaking of heat, the color palette of sands and stones was warmed up even more with shouting oranges, yellows, pinks, and other shades. Menswear is becoming increasingly more practical, which is evident as of spring 2014. Though leather pants may seem a little superfluous in a desert, the sneakers, briefcases, weekender bags, and iPad cases presented themselves as useful utilities for the modern man.
The Italian fashion house’s latest looks summarized the mood of warmer weather through strong colors and styles. Without much of the fuss associated with many of the high-concept designs we’ve seen this season, Fendi’s spring 2014 menswear collection was straight-up and effective.
Frida Giannini just had a baby, and the huge change in her life was reflected in her spring 2014 menswear collection for Gucci. Her routine archetype was represented in a younger, more active light, with new takes on fabrics and silhouettes.
Instead of the typical couture-like materials intricately woven together for Gucci menswear, there was an abundance of techy fabrics, another popular element of spring 2014 menswear. T-shirts and track pants styled a more athletic Gucci man, dressed up with structural outerwear for a club-friendly appeal. There was of course a streetwear inclination at Gucci, too, as practical parkas were shown beneath high-quality leather backpacks. Speaking of leather, Giannini also reminded us of her mastery of the material through some t-shirts and jackets. Seasonably appropriate colors added another great quality to the collection; pops of peach, yellow, and lilac added youthful energy to the presentation before pink and burgundy florals dominated the catwalk. However, the rest of Frida’s flowers were redone to look almost like camouflage.
Maybe it wasn’t just motherhood that changed Frida Giannini’s point of view at Gucci, but instead the increasing appeal of youth in the global menswear market. Whether or not Giannini intentionally designed her spring 2014 menswear collection to appeal to this trend, it will certainly fit right in.
Turkey is in a lot of people’s hearts these days, as political struggles in Istanbul have made global headlines. Just like Miuccia Prada, Umit Benan drew inspiration from real life events for his spring 2014 menswear collection. However, instead of the dark, pessimistic approach that Prada took, Benan paid homage to his homeland with an ode to the Ottoman Empire.
Ottoman sophistication and elegance was the foundation of Umit Benan’s aesthetic, reflected in masculine checks, luxurious silks, and a rich color palette. Each of his men was accessorized with a walking stick and an almost cartoonish mask, complete with a mustache and a fez. Though stereotypical, it was one of many elements used to delineate Benan’s appreciation for the Empire. The small details of the presentation furthered his intentions, including traditional music, regal Ottoman rugs, and even a model or two carrying a glass of rakı, a traditional Turkish drink.
Sure, if you took away the theatrics and the extra details that explicitly expressed Umit Benan’s Turkish love song, it would be just another impressive menswear collection. However, the intellect and emotion tied into both his and Miuccia Prada’s spring 2014 presentations provides a refreshing connection to the real world. When designs elicit feelings, we’re reminded why we love the artistic and inspirational fashion industry.