This January, the promise of a new season feels even more tantalising than usual. Coinciding with the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, the first glimpses of fall/winter 2021 are a hopeful indication of what life — and our wardrobes — might look like by then.
From first-time menswear collaborators Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons presenting a knit-heavy collection (including geometric-print long johns), to Etro’s refined take on pyjamas, the lifestyle shifts of recent months have clearly resonated. Tactile, sumptuous and practical clothing – with essential dashes of playfulness – was the over-arching message, with a particular focus on a technical approach to winter outerwear. Famous optimist Jeremy Scott unveiled an artistic take on tuxedos, while Balenciaga’s suiting comes so oversized it could easily be subbed in for loungewear. Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, delivered a show that suggests he, like the rest of us, is longing for the return of air travel.
Discover the key style notes from the fall/winter 2021 menswear shows below.
If anyone was going to convince the world of the onesie’s catwalk potential, it was freshly minted creative partnership Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. Their first joint menswear outing was packed with knitwear, from wearable oversized cardigans to the return of long johns, delivered in Prada’s signature geometric prints. Elsewhere, influencers will likely fall quickly for the Prada emblem micro-pouches that came strapped to gloves and sleeves.
The Tod’s gentleman has his sights set on a Balmoral invite next winter. Blame it on The Crown perhaps, but the Windsor family influence was undeniable. A deer-stalking palette of moss green and heritage tweed was omnipresent, with wellington boots and backwards flat caps the standout accessories. Padded jackets interspersed with blazers and wax jackets offered a contemporary take on off-duty royal style. Netflix also contributed the talent, with creative director Walter Chiapponi casting Lorenzo Zurzolo of the streaming service’s Baby to front the lookbook and accompanying film.
Entitled “Ebonics,” Virgil Abloh’s sixth Louis Vuitton collection was an ode to Black visibility, as well as a new professional wardrobe that was less WFH, more a nod to the next phase in work culture. A polished video presentation by Josh Johnson was as movie-esque in one shot as it was music video-like in another, and gave Abloh an excuse to tap collaborators like Mos Def, who performed, and young trans poet Kai Isaiah Jamal, who lent their words to the soundtrack. “When I grew up, my father wore Kente cloth, with nothing beneath it, to family weddings, funerals, graduations,” Abloh told Vogue. “When he went to an American wedding, he wore a suit. I merged those two together, celebrating my Ghanaian culture.” As ever, there were also buzzy buys to get hypebeasts salivating. Aeroplanes were an ever-present motif, emblazoned on cross-body straps and used to buckle up sharp suiting, and best of all, fashioned into a plane-shaped carry-on in the LV monogram.
Good news for loungewear enthusiasts: pyjamas are no longer just for bed. Sharpen up silk pyjama sets — as seen at Etro — for the outdoors by layering with collegiate knits, then bring it all together with a wraparound belt. Choose a chunky pair of boots over bed socks and slippers, though.
At Dior, Kim Jones is making a habit of spotlighting artists in his menswear collections. For fall/winter 2021, the designer looked to the work of Scottish painter Peter Doig, who set up camp at the Dior atelier and “became part of the studio for the collection, and started making things, painting hats, and designing the set, which is based on the speaker stacks he’s collected,” Jones told Vogue. As much as his work spoke to Jones, it was also his associations with the likes of Leigh Bowery and the ’80s club kid scene Jones is “obsessed” with that piqued the designer’s interest. Doig’s work was brushed over sleek car coats and pull-over anoraks, while additional nods to France’s national dress allowed the craftsmanship of Dior’s petite mains to really sing.
Demna Gvasalia has made oversized suiting his beat at both Vetements and Balenciaga. Voluminous suits duly featured heavily in this collection, and came paired with square-toe, armour-inspired boots and gamer glasses. The collection might have been overwhelmingly dark in colour, but Gvasalia’s outlook is the opposite. “We have been through dark times, but I don’t feel this darkness anymore. I feel hope. More positivity than despair,” he told Vogue. “People want to get to the other side of this.” Indeed, and preferably wearing his oversized tailoring.
Allow yourself to get a little arty next season, says Moschino’s Jeremy Scott, who illustrated sportswear and tuxedos with painterly trompe l’oeil strokes. “I’ve always had the volume a little more turned up, but I hope it’s something more people will have a hunger for,” Scott told Vogue of his hopes for next season. “That there’s an explosion of creativity of expression when people feel the freedom of being together again.”
Some much-needed lightness arrived in JW Anderson’s fall/winter 2021 collection, with Jonathan Anderson transposing fruit and veg onto intarsia knits, oversized hoodies and stiff white jeans. “I like this idea of humour in clothing,” he told Vogue. “Something that makes you grin. Because fashion is meant to make you think, or dream.” This collection, for Anderson, was also about the enduring nature of creativity in these times, and illustrating how he and his team are “still here, working incredibly hard under difficult circumstances — and the result can be just as good.” And so it was.
Over at Loewe, Anderson reiterated the Spanish house’s conscious focus by addressing supply-chain and manufacturing conundrums, admitting to Vogue he remains impatient to implement further changes, and fast. “[I] have to realise it takes time.” The clothes themselves, photographed on models on a sunlit mid-century teak stairwell, were a sumptuous display of colorful knits with artworks inspired by the work of queer American artist Joe Brainard to brighten winter layering.
Véronique Nichanian’s latest Hermès collection was a smörgåsbord of collars and coats, worn with plaid and oversized sweater vests. Colour-pop sneakers — in off-kilter shades of saccharine pink and luminous yellow — underscored the relaxed approach. As ever, Hermès’s notable finishes and constructions came into play, with techniques usually reserved for leather goods employed to offer a contemporary menswear configuration interlaced with the house’s heritage practices.
You’d be hard pressed to find anything more luxurious than a white cashmere hoodie. For fall/winter 2021, Brunello Cucinelli proposes styling with white corduroy trousers and sumptuous ribbed knits. Hiking gear has never been so alluring – nor so ill-suited to snacking.
At MSGM, the brand’s renewed focus on outerwear came courtesy of Massimo Giorgetti’s own new appreciation of the great outdoors – notably mountains and inland settings. “I must confess I’ve fallen in love with Alpine landscapes and high altitudes — and with the lives of famous mountaineers,” he told Vogue of his recent inspirations. Though heavily influenced by such pursuits, the collection was delivered with Giorgetti’s signature explosion of rave-ready colours and the sort of gear you might have seen at a ’90s festival. If Sir Ranulph Fiennes was at Knebworth 1996, perhaps.
Who would have thought that the year in fashion would begin with a Bake Off presenter lending their artwork to a Fendi collection? Not I, dear reader. And yet, here we have it: Silvia Venturini Fendi called on Noel Fielding to breathe some of his off-kilter cool into the fall/winter 2021 collection. Fielding’s contribution manifested in colourful scrawls across wrap-up coats and illustrations stitched into shrunken knitted tanks. Fendi told Vogue she hopes the collection will be “enjoyed for its bright colors and tactile feel”.
Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten has returned to form for fall/winter 2021. The Belgian designer set about working with a focus on silhouette, reimagining menswear classics in new voluminous proportions — think capacious school-boy shorts worn with chunky knits, or blue cotton shirts worn past the knee — and forgoing his beloved painterly prints for a muted palette. “It was really nice to be able to work on construction, on shapes, on volumes, rather than really bold colours and wild prints,” Van Noten told Vogue. “It was about going to the menswear wardrobe staples, and trying not to leave them because I wanted them to be recognisable, but to look at their function, and the way you feel about some things that you think you know but which maybe you don’t.”
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk