The menswear machine can’t be stopped. What was once a sleepy, siloed-off section of Vogue Runway has become a seasonal behemoth to compete for eyeballs with our flagship women’s coverage in February and September. The data doesn’t lie: Over the past three weeks of shows in London, Florence, Milan, and Paris, our readers have spent more than 1.5 million minutes looking at the men’s collections. What did they see?
The easiest and most obvious takeaway is the return of suiting to menswear’s fore and the dissipation of streetwear from the catwalks. On the back of Virgil Abloh’s comments that streetwear is “gonna die,” a single-breasted suit at Off-White was practically a death knell for jeans-and-tees. Elsewhere, Kim Jones perfected his couture-ish tailoring at Dior Men, and Clare Waight Keller cut fabulous slim suits at Givenchy. So yes, suiting is back, and it arrives with a newfound swagger.
But the in-your-face energy that streetwear brought to the runways—and to retailers, where graphic tees and buzzy sneakers still sell—is not gone, it has simply evolved into new trends with the same high-impact bravado. Consider this season’s ’70s-tinged glamourpusses, all rust-color flares and undone-to-there silk shirts at Dries Van Noten and Tom Ford. In a similarly sexy vein is the rise of the full leather kit. Seen at both Alyx and Vetements, head-to-toe skins blend the utmost of luxury with a subversive kink. Shorts and high boots—see Rick Owens’s opening look (and then try to forget it, we dare you)—should keep menswear’s look-at-me streak going way into the 2020s.
The louche loverboys of spring 2020 are hanging around for fall, replacing their silky shorts and pearl necklaces with killer flare jeans and fur stoles. Dries Van Noten and Tom Ford represent the poles of the trend best: a little Mick, a little Bianca, and mostly attitude. The most important accessory here is the assured strut to make those heeled boots really work.
A rejection of all things oversized occurred at Prada, Raf Simons, Givenchy, and more of the season’s most tenor-setting shows. It’s a look that was popular 20 years ago, when Hedi Slimane and Simons were engaged in a war of who could cut the skinniest suits. No surprise that two decades on, this trend is being resurrected just as shoppers with aughts nostalgia gain spending power.
Leather is Back
Leather jumpsuits appeared on Vogue Runway’s menswear trend report three seasons ago. Back then, we wondered if guys would opt for such a total—and totally constricting—look. Consider the devotion to calfskin pants, jackets, and shirts on the fall runways the proof that men are into leather, big time. For those new to the trend, try out one of the lower impact leather looks, like Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s one-shoulder top or Alyx’s coveralls.
The tender feeling of menswear’s spring season has morphed into a series of serene, all-white ensembles for fall. They come as suits, as sweaters, and as conceptual menswear, a palette cleanser for all the hype that has dominated menswear for the past several years. Off-the-runway, this trend is probably best paired with a stain-removing pen—or better yet, worn indoors to really capture the hygge-influenced mood.