10 Key Takeaways From Men's Fashion Week FW18
1/10 Grace Wales Bonner: the new comer show stopper
Don’t let the feminine name fool you; Grace gets menswear. And the young Brit presented one of the shows of the season in London, setting sail on a Creole nautical journey. The savvy storyteller likened her collection—made up cropped nautical jackets, a hooded raincoat with an embroidered “créolité” and bucket hats—to that of a “sailor who’s been isolated at sea for a long time and is returning back to an island.”
There were sporty elements too—rolled-up vinyl trousers, slouched parkas with gargantuan pockets and nylon sweaters—and the tailoring was precise; tidy peacoat jackets with big buttons and pants that sat low on the waist, for a louche-ness that looked just right.
2/10 Prada: an anthology of greatest hits
Prada loves the Nineties. And so it went, like an anthology of the Italian brand’s greatest fashion hits, from the decade that decidedly-marked the maison for greatness. It was back to utile workwear: think black nylon à la Matrix, but sports-inspired, with quilted hoodies and wide-zipper pockets, snap-button jackets, baggy trousers and rain caps—lots of layers and everything over-sized.
Prada also relit its grunge-y flame print, setting fire to Cuban collar shirts and matching shorts in nylon, and meshing this with cuttings of old Prada lipstick, flower, checkerboard and ring prints, for patchy-pieces of casual wear.
See also: Prada's Inside Bag
Coats too, were big and sculpted with soft shoulders and plastic hems. Muiccia Prada ended the show with sharp, boxy suits in black under bucket hats, reminding us why she’s a master of tailoring too.
3/10 Off-White: from street to business casual
The typically-streetwear designer opened his ‘Business Casual’ show with Eighties and Nineties-esque suits, a play on Virgil Obloh’s perceived adult-life as a boy at the time.
The neo-businessman came out in a grey pinstriped suit, made up of a cropped, boxy jacket, and paired with a grey sweatshirt and beige suede boots. There was ‘normcore’ (think Jerry Seinfeld) too, with a black leather jacket and black tee-tucked-into-blue-fade jeans look.
Finally, fans of Off-White’s casual sweaters and track pants, rejoice. There were still pieces of his staple printed ‘merch’ on offer, this time paired under a chic office coat, for the kid inside every entrepreneur.
4/10 Kenzo: a live-action movie set collection
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim presented a theatrical Kenzo for the last day of Paris fashion week.
The co-ed collection was styled to a movie set, where actors performed in a live-action featurette, in between the change from men’s to womenswear. But the models, and their characters' clothes, remained the show lead. Chunky animal print furs and lamé pants walked out ahead of tight-fitted sleeveless sweaters-cum-vest, the latter worn over printed shirts and high-waisted pants, for a very '70s vibe.
See also: Kenzo's Artistic Designers
Yellow was a big colour via turtleneck knitwear and a duffle coats that hung almost to the ground, linked in with augmented versions of classic men’s pieces: a blue worker jacket with a leopard print collar or camel top coat with elasticated sleeves much like a track pant ankle.
5/10 Rick Owens: an otherworldly collection comes to Milan
What does it mean to be, and dress, human? That was the question asked at Rick Owens’ debut runway show in Milan.
Skipping Paris this season for Italy, Owens unleashed an otherworldly outfit down the runway, full of mutilated menswear classics—shirting, sweaters and long coats in cotton, felts and wool—only to be cut up and re-stitched with gashes and skin-baring areas.
Void of prints, Owen’s executed signature military and utilitarian pieces too, with boxy boiler suits and ultra high-waisted pants in khaki over angry, thick-soled leather boots.
The floor-length coats in mud brown will be the ones to watch when the collection drops.
6/10 Vetements: an ode to Maison Margiela
Vetements has the fashion crowd guessing every season, only to return to a kind of style appropriation. This time, the post-Soviet label—helmed by Demna Gvasalia—riffed on the designer’s time at Maison Margiela.
But with MM references came the Russian’s signature irreverence and radicalism: trench coats were spliced, scarves were enormous, and T-shirts were cut and re-patched and read rebellious statements like “I’m not deaf... I’m just ignoring you” and “Hi I don’t care thanks.”
The styling was akin to what you would see at a thrift shop, but separated, each piece had great worth: oversized zip-through track jackets with hoods, denim shirting and soft, colourful casual sports jackets. No sign of the token “Vetements” print, either. A sign the brand is distancing itself from its fanboys?
7/10 Fendi: a travel fashion bonanza
Travel was Fendi’s fashion mantra this season. Cool utility travel pieces, with a mix of sport, street and heritage, were brought to life by the brand’s collaboration with artist Reilly Hey. Snails, soccer balls and an overturned elephant hovering over a strawberry, all found their way as T-shirt prints, or came cut and remade into a collage to cover outerwear pieces.
And, in case onlookers missed their connecting flight, they could always pick off an unclaimed leather carryall from the Silvia Fendi-helmed brand. In alligator or white parchment, the luxury ‘It’ bag is just as important for men as it is for women this fall.
See also: Fendi x Rimowa Collection
8/10 Louis Vuitton: a final collection from Kim Jones
It was a very British farewell at the final collection show for UK designer Kim Jones. Six years after staging his first show for, Jones took his final bow—and arms linked—with two fellow Brits—Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
Jones sent a high-end, logo-lavished final collection down the runway; the latter a hallmark of his now, Jones reworked the Maison’s monogram for good. The style was half-active-meets-athleisure.
This season’s crater print depicting planets and stones were plastered over nylon parkas and shorts, and leggings carried earthen pattern, mixed in with the LV logo for a subtle play on branding. Other key pieces included metallic-sheen bomber jackets and futuristic calfskin leather coats.
See also: Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons collection
9/10 GmbH: Berlin meets old Paris railway shed
GmbH, the brand co-founded by Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik, took its exploration of cultural crossovers in a tougher, more industrial direction this season. This translated into chainmail tops and biker jackets, as well as narrow-waisted suits to broad-shouldered jackets, maximising protection.
Heavy gauged and patchwork knit sweaters offered solace from a Nordic winter, alongside wide-cut pants featuring traditional Turkish embroideries. It was refreshing to see the duo inject their homelands, and polar-opposite heritages, into one collection.
10/10 Dior Homme: an old New Look for men
Dior Homme gave a nostalgic nod to the forties for its autumn collection. At the helm, Kris Van Assche drew inspiration from the founder’s defining New Look of 1947 for women, hinged on the wasp-waisted jacket known as the Bar.
That meant a line of sharp tailoring with suck-in-waisted jackets and sleek pants, with military button and pocket detailing derailing any chance of the jackets feeling feminine.
As the show went on, Van Assche sent out Nineties sportswear with tribal tattoo prints, as well relaxed jeans and striped knits. However, black suits (and crisp white shirting) still remain the moniker of Dior Homme. Can’t beat a classic.
See also: Chanel's Mademoiselle Prive Exhibition In Hong Kong