Fashion weeks are the thermometers that show us what is going to be worn the next season. No novelty there. What are novel, however, are the colours, the materials and the prints that in a year will hit the streets of the big city. We focus our gaze towards three key fashion capitals and a series of shows that define what will truly define next year’s men’s wardrobes.
First stop: London. Ktz presents a white-based collection leaving a reduced spot for black. Some looks are covered with iconic prints like a clear manifesto. The layering of articles of clothing gives unity to the collection that proposes itself as the uniform of the combative urban tribe of the future. Also, designer Craig Green sees the summer of 2014 as that of layering: a skirt over a pair of pants or long-sleeved shirts over short-sleeved shirts. And he paints the clothing with tie-dye prints in blues, greens, and warm colours, although there are also a few in black and white. On the other hand, Katie Eary focuses her palette around warm colours: reds and oranges that are combined playing with tiger prints and even pink flamingo prints. Hers can be the first northern spring-summer – with this globalised world of ours, the seasons are becoming less defined – with jumpers, raincoats and coats.
In the British capital, fantasy worlds are built, such as those of Bobby Abley, where the white reign is left in the hands of graphic prints like basketwork, or other prints that are more conceptual, like little bears, birdies, lily flowers… Layering also appears, as well as transparencies and a predilection for a casual style: shirts, sleeveless shirts, Bermuda shorts that look like skirts. Bobby Abley’s story is that of a boy that clings to childhood, being the king of his home (King can be read on one of his shirts); not coincidentally, all of them, including the designer himself, had a toy crown on their heads. From the worlds of fantasy we go over to that of the rebel without a cause of Sibling. This is the proposal of the three firm’s designers – Sid Bryan, Cozette McCreery, and Joe Bate – who revisit the 50’s. Just like long ago, the masculine uniform is based on trousers and denim jackets or polos as were see in North America back then, though here they are dyed colours such as turquoise, aqua green and pink. At the front of this revised version of retro are jumpers and Bermuda shorts woven in maxi rejillas? with a more sportive and actual air to them.
Second stop: Paris. There Comme des Garçons outlines a collection with a gothic character to it; with it, leather shirts clearly inspired by straightjackets as its paradigm. Will it be a scary spring? The French firm also plays with the layering of a wide variety of items of clothing that there is no room for boredom: pleated trousers, skirts, traditional tailoring whose strict aura is diminished with coloured printed shirts. On the other hand, Viktor & Rolf, within their characteristic sophistication, make a more classical bet based on suits where the sobriety of black and white and grey is broken by blue. The stripes are turned into the unifying leitmotiv like shirts with a message. To tone down the collection a bit – let’s not get that serious – they include some sportive details here and some rock and roll details there.
Issey Miyake focuses on prints, some grungy tie-dyes, some paint stains à la Pollock, as well as some stripes and squares. Here the shirts, where we must highlight the Mao collars, also are layered in a colourful collection where black only appears as a complement. Another big name that was presented in Paris was Walter van Beirendonck, one of the mythical six of Antwerp. This designer does a three-dimensional job for next year’s spring-summer collection, be it in the graphic prints, the tonalities that he mixes geometrically or even in the clothing’s protruding elements. He continues in his colourful and 100% optimistic line, as can be seen in the wide palette of colours that inundate the silks of his suits: pastels, blues, white, beige, and some black and grey. In complete contrast, Dior Homme, in the hands of Kris Van Assche, goes for a minimalist summer. A palette based on the crimson, black and grey trinity. Van Assche introduces a bit of rhythm with geometric patchwork details that refer to Mondrian – but through a sober filter, for that matter. The collection is composed of trousers of three lengths (long, medium and short) combined with suit jackets, coats, and structured and voluminous bomber jackets.
Last stop: Milan. In this Italian city, Vivienne Westwood has mixed cultural references to India with discourse in favour of Bradley Manning. The Englishwoman, who always creates on a large scale, has displayed colour, rich materials and prints (squares and stripes and varied ethnic prints) on the catwalk, in the form of suits, tunics, or wide shirts with the icing on top being military-style berets. In contrast, Jil Sander, demonstrating her sobriety, has opted for a palette of neutral colours with the exception of coral and orange. But her minimalism, before becoming monotonous, gains through concessions some subtle prints. The tailor’s structured forms (accompanied with waistcoats) and summer coats are paired with trousers and Bermuda shorts that are so wide that they look like skirts.
Having a look at the native Italians, we take note of Prada. Their spring-summer 2014 collection is dark with crimsons, browns, blues, with beige as an exception, and has baroque flowered prints and is a bit more wrapped up than necessary. The Italian brand also looks back at the 50s and brings back woven jumpers, suit jackets with big folds and double crossed buttons, bomber jackets and even the wide trousers from back then – all that is missing is a visit to an American diner. Contrast this proposal with another Italian staple, Dolce & Gabbana, who presented the most extensive collection with 76 looks, and completely luminously, with a white that reflects all of the light of the Mediterranean. The designers looks towards Sicily, their land, and they capture it in picturesque prints, of ruins or landscapes. Their collection oscillates between narrow, polished suits of exquisite Italian, and the most informal looks with Bermuda shorts or shorts and baggy camisoles. And we end with Versace, whose proposal looks more like something for Ken (yes, from Ken and Barbie) than for a real man. Polished pleated trousers, satin articles of clothing, knits and cotton, for Ken that at times looks Saharan, at others like a rock star, and at others is more sporty. In fact, part of the show was inspired in the colourful strips that athletes wear and that the models wore as accessories.
Like in those “choose your own adventure” books, with such varied proposals, it is down to one to choose depending on one’s own personality the style that is most fitting and to thus create one’s own adventure for the spring-summer of 2014.
Photos: Condenast, Fashionising, Thvndergmag.