Menswear Fall-Winter 2021 Highlights: A Stubborn Romance
As another entirely-digital menswear fashion week came to a close, it became clear that designers were much more comfortable with the virtual format, doling out elaborate films and performances to accompany their presentations. They have also evidently had plenty more time to mull over the state of the world and have condense their findings into coherent collections.
Some at brands like Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna favoured a dystopian theme, leaning into shared feelings of discombobulation. Others like those at Fendi and Prada fully embraced a more comfortable way of dressing. Whatever their impulses, the resulting collections across the board erred on the side of wearability over high fashion, and we're certain men aren't complaining.
Raf Simons Debuts Menswear Collection With Miuccia for Prada
For Raf Simon's first menswear collection with Miuccia Prada, his focus was on what he called "physicality against construction," as he explained in the virtual Q&A with students around the world after the presentation. This idea was embodied by colourful, knit Long Johns found in almost every look, layered playfully under sweater-vests, oversized pea coats and bomber jackets. Candy-hued shearling and nylon coats and gloves adorned with Prada's triangular pockets piqued the internet's interest.
The duo explained that collection is their interpretation of these surreal times, demonstrated in the abstract show space covered in fuzz ("It's a juxtaposition of the softness and hardness to express the reality of the world right now. It's like we're inside a bubble, no longer having the freedom to move wherever we want; we're in an abstract space of only feelings"). The rainbow palette and sporadic moments of dance were also meant to represent how people are bristling against this sadness, stubbornly insisting on joy despite these difficult times.
Full of Art: Dior Men and Loewe Collab with Painters
Dior Men: If Kim Jone's latest collection looks like it was plucked straight from history books depicting French artists of Montmartre, that's because the designer's inspiration came from the ceremonial uniform worn by artists from the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Think: intricate embroidery, military buttons, dramatic coat-tails topped off with berets. To amp up the romance, Jones collaborated with Scottish artist Peter Doig whose Impressionist artwork can be found splattered on shirts and recreated in mohair knitwear.
Loewe: Continuing his DIY arts-and-crafts format for his presentations, Jonathan Anderson showcased his collection in the form of a book, this time with the works from the estate of American artist and writer Joe Brainard. Anderson was particularly enamoured by Brainard's use of repetition, applying the technique to paintings of poppy which can now be found in Loewe's intarsia knitwear, tops made of three jumpers, as well as to a row of leather straps on punk trouser-boots. Brainard's paintings (like that of a small greyhound) are printed on Loewe's iconic Puzzle bag while his literary quotes are written on the Hammock bags.
Louis Vuitton Packs Show with Stunning Performances
Entitled "Ebonics," Virgil Abloh's latest collection is a celebration of Black culture, beginning with a spoken word film by Josh Johnson depicting a snowy mountain-scape which then bleeds into an indoor set lined with green marble walls. Rapper Saul Williams and poet-activist Kai Isaiah Jamal continue the performances, weaving through the collection of shamrock green found on exaggerated plaid and motocross outfits. Marble-print suiting and beautiful coats dominated the looks, from sweeping, vintage-esque fur to transparent trenches. Accessorised eclectically with cowboy hats, soccer scarves and an airplane-shaped monogram Keepall, the collection also evoked the style of travellers bustling through airports in the Seventies.
Fendi Serves Up Extra Padding
Silvia Venturini Fendi means for this collection to be "therapeutic" which explains the plethora of puffers and piumino, but diagonally-lined, gracefully elongated or made statement, the pieces are anything but drab. With built-in layers of knitted sleeves as scarves as well as the reimagined logo doodled on robes and bags, one can imagine wearing the collection straight from bed and into a Zoom call. We're partial to the quilted culottes in burnt orange or lemon that can be worn across seasons.
A Dystopian Theme Dominates Fashion Films
Ermenegildo Zegna: Set in a dystopian cityscape that bleeds into vignettes of conjoining rooms, Zegna's fashion film-slash-presentation is an artistic representation of today's reality, with a collection to match. Capacious coats, roomy suiting layered with turtlenecks and loose trousers in soothing camels and greys are shown easily transitioning from outdoors to indoors.
Tod's: Whether you spent lockdown in the countryside or are dreaming of it, Tod's has a collection for it. The fashion film depicts a man hermitically cocooned in a cabin, trying out various cosy looks of argyle knits, Prince of Wales checkered coats, forest-green jumpers, quilted gilets and corduroy suits. The oversized leather goods stand out the most, from giant totes to messenger bags, while leather footwear, for which the brand is known, took a back seat to the Wellington boots and hiking trainers on display.
Hermès: As with all Hermès collections, it's difficult to grasp the true craftsmanship in the clothing without getting up close as the attention to details is where the Maison shines, but it's immediately obvious that the silhouettes fall looser this season with joggers abound, and anoraks sitting lower and wider. But sophistication can still be found in the subtle colour-blocking—a fresh lilac shirt contrasted with orange stripes on a sweater-vest or pink trainers with an aqua blouson.