the most exciting area of growth, to me, is menswear. this show season, that growth continues to thrive. visible in concept, and defense of the classics- these ten selections are in no particular order and present a range of style. whether minimal or maximal, i love the idea of balance. weighing drama with the subdued, in a way that is progressive and challenges the ways that we perceived style for the modern day male. there seems to be more creativity that is poured into the collections, allowing the menswear sector more competitive edge than ever before. women dominate high fashion, but these collections have proven that they playing field is currently being evened. these are my absolute favorite men’s collections for spring.
ACNE STUDIOS there is something so essentially cool about acne studios. there is a mainstream relevance that is executed in this super cool, indie sort of way. this spring, exaggerated knits were my favorite element of this collection. the color story, a routine aspect of dope for the label, were spot on. i’m always a fan of the ways that acne does outerwear, and loved all the brown and green tones presented in the pieces from this collection. while some of the fits were much more wide, different then my normal taste of well tailored-ness, i appreciated the deviation from what has become the norm in menswear design. desirable in ways that are classically undeniable. the almost hybrid sneaker-dress shoe, velcro inspired design was also another high note from this collection. there was something almost vintage about this collection, the soft yellows were too dull for my liking, but overall, the collection presented well and struck a cord in me, stylistically. it’s always interesting to see the ways that fashion brands play with silhouette; but even more intriguing when done so in the realm of menswear. there is a certain code of etiquette in menswear, and that code is seemingly being re-configured more and more with each season. acne is still closely guarded to their minimalistic aesthetic, which i love, but this show season in particular it seems as though they are breaking away in a subtle manner to create a greater sense of variation in design. simple and striking, just as i prefer- love this collection and absolutely had to include it in my spring selections; it’s functional and wearable, which are two of the most important elements for menswear and style all together.
BALENCIAGA the house of balenciaga is deeply rooted in the legacy of womenswear, and always will be. clean lines and wider shapes were also seen from the house of balenciaga as their menswear collections seem to also further develop. with alexander wang’s installation as creative director, the house has been afforded a greater opportunity to appeal to a clientele base that is significantly more street. the house of balenciaga is reputably one of the most sophisticated, but in a way of progression. the use of shapes and remixing of the ways that women look has long been the history of the house. as a spring collection, the menswear set had its share of shorts, but was also paired with more transitional season style wardrobe pieces like trench coats, and outerwear. black, white, grey and blue in palette- the collection also continued to incorporate aspects of suit and sport. aspects of sport were more clearly pronounced in the collection’s footwear. the presence of men’s bags was interesting, though not powerful enough in my opinion. interesting as well was the continued use of leather for the spring season, which seems to haunt these high fashion collections and poke fun at any real aspects of function and/or seasonal appropriateness. all in all, the collection presented a number of strong points, but has long been presented through look book images, off runway. it’s interesting to see that a house as influential as balenciaga, in the world of womenswear, is somehow unable or reluctant to garner some of the same influence in aspects of menswear. progressive, and valuable, i like this collection and admire the greater alignment of design from men’s to womenswear design at the house.
DRIES VAN NOTEN intellectuality by way of dress is the dries van noten way. taking a more serious fashion approach to the often lighthearted direction of spring, dries van noten was reportedly inspired by sensuality of masculinity, which you feel in the clothes. there is a relaxed air to the collection, an ease and effortlessness- which i often look for in fashion collections. style should not feel forced, and the van noten approach to design mirrors that methodology perfectly. dries mentioned in runway reports that he was tired of the “rock aesthetic” and this collection seems to raise the bar on what that flavor feels like. as oppose to hard, or edgy we got soft and graceful. exposed chests, loose necklines and relaxed blazers danced throughout the collection in rich, deep tones of navy, bold shots of red and partial use of print. delicate use of off-white and beige were also seen which drove the feel of romance even further. footwear in the collection communicated the feel of sensuality as well, as each pair of shoes looked like ballerina flats- which allowed masculinity to be accentuated to a greater level of sensuality through reference of femininity. i may have stated this once before, but oh, well- this collection calls for a re-referencing of such; there is always something poetic about dries van noten. with a more concentrated sense of awareness to menswear, as a man who also has an appreciation for womenswear, i appreciate that delicate nature in the menswear side of things. since so much of being a man is tied to aspects of strength or structure, it’s beautiful to see such fragility or sensitivity in clothes. that ease is what being a man is all about, that’s the allure of masculinity.
VALENTINO the house of valentino has made great strides in allowing their menswear collections to be seen as individualized entities apart from their iconic womenswear line. as the label that brought use of camouflage into the trend stratosphere, this season, that trend seems to be in use with greater intention to also fade it out. the collection was surprisingly decorated with use of print, while patch worked butterflies reminded me of boy scout patches. the palette was more fall, while the sandals reminded us of the spring direction. i loved the brown tones that warmed this collection and thought it was a nice graduation from what we seen last season from the italian fashion house. in the spirit of bespoke, or male couture, the true quality of the work in the valentino menswear collections are seen in the details. details that cannot possibly be described or rivaled through any piece of writing. some use of print was a bit ambitious, which i respect, but didn’t favor as much as i did with the solid toned designs. the solid tones make a stronger impact to my eye, personally. from what we seen at dries van noten, to also givenchy- print is often a design addition that is expected during the spring/summer show season. all in all, i have liked other collections more than what was presented by valentino this spring, but i appreciate their differentiation and extended efforts at individualization in menswear. menswear can often times be dull, but the house of valentino, through simple concepts and remixing of sport luxury have been able to successfully transcend upward.
OFF-WHITE C/O VIRGIL ABLOH the most culture enriched collection selection of my spring round up, is the work of virgil abloh. as the creative director for kanye west, i was only made aware of virgil last year. through friends and industry chatter, i had inquired about work at DONDA and virgil’s name came up as creative gatekeeper. surprisingly, and like a stroke of fate, his name began to appear. in the form of off-white. the interesting thing about fashion and the true artists that exist within that sub-set is the fact that so much visibility is between these limitations and borders that encase culture, style and publicity. fashion labels these days need to master the art of balancing all three and many do, quite beautifully. in garnering a greater public sense of visibility, virgil had major traction as the mind behind pyrex vision; which was a smaller scale urban clothing brand that was and still is gaining more and more visibility on digital platforms like instagram and tumblr. consisting of sportswear elements like basketball shorts and long sleeve t-shirts, off-white is almost the high end counterpart to what virgil started with pyrex vision. quickly becoming an outfitted element of the hip-hop/rap star sub-culture, off-white borrows simple graphic elements and welds them together in cool ways that appeal to hard hitting fashion kids. what i will say of off-white though, is that is borrows a bit from what we’ve seen from saint laurent. the whole alternative or rock star element is incredibly similar, but off-white lends a greater independent feel which is surely a reason why consumers will feel encouraged to buy. there is a rapid sense of development through the vision of abloh, and what we see here is just the beginning. one to watch, most definitely, virgil is a bold talent that has not only the creative genius, but the cultural context to really catapult himself into the style stratosphere far beyond then what we see here.
visit style.com other collections from the SS15 men’s show season
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