Menswear: ten trends from the winter 2022-23 runway shows
While there seems to be no end in sight for the pandemic, fashion designers have put all their efforts into creating versatile menswear collections for the Fall/Winter 2022-23 that are both sophisticated and laid-back, and above all deeply rejuvenated, as illustrated by the menswear show marathon in Milan and Paris that ended on Sunday January 23. Lockdown-inspired cocooning is a thing of the past, replaced by the discernible return of a genuine yearning for fashion. An evolution that is taking place softly, via well-balanced collections ushering in a cosy new urban elegance, whose silhouettes are redefined by means of innovative proportions, cuts and textures, while great emphasis is placed on outerwear, the new flagship items in men’s wardrobes.
1- The suit, revisited
Tracksuits and pyjamas are out! For next winter, suits have pride of place again. They are precision-engineered and come in all sorts of materials, from silk to velvet, denim, tweed, flannel, wool and even, as at Bianca Saunders, in biker-style leather. Double-breasted blazers are back in a variety of styles.
Jackets and sleeves have lengthened, and burgeon with new volumes, especially at the shoulders. The lines are cinched at the waist and often padded to create imposing shoulders, or else entirely destructured, while some jackets sport innovative rounded shapes. Trousers too feature inventive solutions in terms of fastenings, creases and darts, as well as in their cuts, for example with arched legs.
2- Skirt suits
Tunic dresses and maxi skirts have ben making frequent appearances in menswear collections for a number of seasons, and are no longer taboo. The same goes for jewellery, which has become a must-have accessory for any man’s everyday look. A lengthy journey towards a complete absence of gender differentiation, whose only missing steps were the wedding dress and the skirt suit. This season, the journey has been completed.
A wedding dress cropped up in the last collection designed by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton, while skirt suits have been showcased by a few daring labels. Dolce & Gabbana did it with a classic houndstooth suit, Moschino with a blazer matched with a pleated turquoise mini-skirt, JordanLuca with a suit in golden yellow wool, consisting of a long double-breasted blazer and a kilt. While EgonLab and Miguel Vieira provided their own variation on the theme by adding to a traditional suit a pleated skirt made in the same fabric, layered over the trousers.
3- Joggers breakthrough
Joggers are the new gold standard in trousers. They have jettisoned the strictly snug, slouching-in-the-lounge register of old, to morph into an uber-chic, essential menswear item, worn in suits with matching jackets. Often with a practical drawstring fastening, they acquire new status especially with a straight-leg cut and a crease at the front. Whether stretching down to the ground, tapered or cinched at the ankle, joggers lend themselves to countless variations. They are slashed at Sankuanz, corkscrew-cut at Y/Project, ultra-classy in ochre-coloured knit at Rhude or made of sublime cashmere at Brioni.
4- Yeti looks
Fur, which is gradually being banned by most labels, has never appeared so frequently on the runways as this season, made with new types of material. It featured notably in ample fur collars and lapels, and even in muffs worn mid-arm. Fur coats, and especially shaggy jackets, often in pop hues like sky blue as at Dries Van Noten, have carved a space for themselves in next winter’s wardrobes. Of course, with matching furry boots, for a proper yeti look.
5- Shearling jackets
Outerwear is very much centre stage next season. Alongside fur jackets, a number of traditional outdoor garments were the genuine highlights of post-pandemic menswear collections. Like aviator jackets, a classic that comes in all shapes and sizes, like colourful extra-large down jackets and three-quarter length parkas. Above all, shearling and bouclé wool jackets were ubiquitous, sometimes reinterpreted and destructured as at Y/Project, or entirely transformed as at Jonathan Anderson, both for Loewe and for his own label's collection, while Hermès showcased jackets with blue fur lining.
6- The throw
Protection is an enduring theme. It is apparent chiefly in the layering of multi-collar clothes and jackets, in the hybridisation of fabrics, and notably in the number of throws and stoles latched on to garments. Blankets are leaving the bedroom and going out into the fresh air.
Whether striped or in signature tartan checks, they are worn like a longline tunic at Rick Owens, and turn into multi-layer capes/ponchos at Dsquared2 and White Mountaineering. Tasselled plaids become hooded coats at Kenzo, while Bluemarble uses traditional satin-trimmed bedspreads to stitch together its coats.
7- Quilted down garments
Quilted down garments are still going strong and are to be found in most of next winter's collections, beyond the classic down jackets and overcoats. They feature as hoods/head coverings and gigantic blanket-like scarves, almost like sleeping bags enveloping the body, neck and head (at Justin Gall, Hed Mayner, Y/Project, Rains and Dsquared2).
In many instances, they are worn as life-jacket-style gilets or bullet-proof vests, looking very much like futuristic armour (at Rick Owens and A-Cold-Wall). Not to mention the bulky Michelin Man-style skiing trousers by Dolce & Gabbana, EgonLab and Spyder, some of the labels pandering to the winter sport trend.
Face masks for Covid protection have made an impact, and will feature in people's minds for some time. On the runways, this translated into a systematic covering of faces, notably with hoods, which are becoming next winter's signature accessory. Paul Smith presented them in its traditional thin stripes, Sulvam in houndstooth fabric. They were heart-shaped at Loewe, and at Louis Vuitton they were matched with suits, decorated with the maison’s renowned monogram. In the guise of Lycra balaclavas or vintage pilot helmets, they assumed an almost criminal allure, zipped and with only two slits for the eyes, as at Sankuanz, Rick Owens and Walter Van Beirendonck.
In general, hats and head coverings have become key items for defining the new men's looks. They are omni-present, from berets to Peruvian-style bonnets to felt and ten-gallon hats.
9- Thigh-high boots
This season, men are appropriating another symbol of femininity, an accessory that in the distant past used to be a menswear staple: thigh-high boots. GmbH presented various models in different types of leather. At Rick Owens, they were platform-soled. Sean Suen featured them as black fairy-tale boots. Acne Studios and Louis Vuitton both presented thigh-high boots, while at Moschino they took the form of colourful, detachable leather gaiters rising up to mid-thigh.
10- Strapped shoes
This season, designers put a great deal of effort into creating original shoes, like Dior’s grey embroidered felt clogs made in collaboration with Birkenstock, which are set to become a best-seller. Also, they explored the possibilities of strapped shoes, inspired by traditional Mary Jane women's shoes, which may well earn themselves a slot in men’s wardrobes. Fendi presented a luxe version with watch-equipped straps. Grace Wales Bonner opted for a sportier model with a broad strap, and Hed Mayner featured them as flat ballerinas.
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