It’s a season of fresh starts in menswear, with Kim Jones debuting at Christian Dior, Kris van Assche presenting a new vision for Berluti and Hedi Slimane launching a men’s line at Celine. But that’s not all. Designers are looking ahead and taking novel approaches in reinterpreting archival looks. Justine Lee and Rosana Lai present the standout collections of spring/summer 2019.
Kris Van Assche debuted at Berluti with his vision of Berlin—a capsule collection with all the essentials for a contemporary wardrobe. Two-button suit jackets, crisp poplin shirts, and tuxedos in both black and white were precision tailored with sporty undertones. We loved how the Scritto print, an 18th-century manuscript motif that has become iconic for the house, was subtly inscribed in jackets and linings of sports coats. Footwear was also updated with athletic elements. The Andy loafer, a style favoured by artist Andy Warhol, was refreshed with a rubber sole.
The British label was once synonymous with the plaid trench coat, but new creative director Riccardo Tisci aimed to expand the brand’s vocabulary, beginning with a debut coed collection with 113 looks filled with neutral tailored suits and nylon parkas with the new logo emblazoned in the details. Designing for “mother and daughter, father and son,” the more youthful foils to the sophisticated cuts were street favourites like utility shirts, ponchos and even a Bambi-print T-shirt.
Keeping true to his signature rock ’n’ roll aesthetic, Hedi Slimane debuted the first menswear line for the French maison. Strictly speaking a unisex collection, male models wore skinny suits with even skinnier ties reminiscent of his designs at previous houses. Statement pieces came in the form of leopard trenches topped with The Matrix sunglasses, as well as sequinned bomber jackets, all created in partnership with Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay.
Yet another highly anticipated collection was Kim Jones’ debut for Dior Homme. Jones dug deep into Christian Dior’s archive, reviving the bee motif used in a 1955 collection and reimagined by street artist Kaws to be sprinkled on baby pink duffle bags. Couture details were adopted from womenswear, such as feathered flowers and chinoiserie patterns on trench coats and jumpsuits. But the one piece already flying off shelves? The iconic women’s saddle bag turned men’s accessory, painted matte and finished with a utilitarian buckle, courtesy of Alyx designer Matthew Williams.
Set against the dipping sun on a mirrored bridge, Alessandro Sartori showed off an effervescent collection for the Italian tailoring house, starting with a palette of dusty blue sweats and checkered pants. Then came the punchy canary yellow anoraks and printed macs before the show finished with an array of magenta mesh leather bomber jackets and oversized tote bags. It was a distinctly athletic collection erring on the side of golf-chic with the occasional striped blazer to be swapped in for an afternoon lunch meeting.
Fendi flirted with the dark side, playing on the Fendi Fiend theme with blood-red accessories like waist bags, mini sunglasses and bucket hats set against jet-black racer striped sweats and even silk pyjama suits. Mesh anoraks worn with mountaineering sandals continued to make an appearance from past seasons, as well as the double F monogram reinterpreted on paper-thin trousers and butter-soft leather jackets in the brand’s signature ’70s brown palette.
In a full ’80s and ’90s disco redux, Alessandro Michele once again invited audiences into his psychedelic world, this time set in Le Palace in Paris, a club once frequented by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. There was plenty of fringe, some used as necklaces layered over ultraviolet turtlenecks, some in the form of stacked fringed trousers worn under hot pink blazers. A golden smoking jacket and logo-print hot pants were worn with a preppy striped sweater, while stark white cowboy hats and eye mask-sized sunglasses were welcome additions.
The classic French maison stuck to its roots, presenting 50 solid, timeless looks. Crisp shirts were styled with soft joggers, while sleek jackets were worn bare-chested with H-shaped sandals. Staples of the collection were leather blousons and graphite suede bomber jackets, and, as always, the leather accessories were a major focus, with the highlights including an oversized cobalt Birkin and a spray-painted belt bag worn crossbody—both now among the season’s most covetable.
Softness was the focus, which was no surprise as Loro Piana is arguably the purveyor of the world’s best cashmere. Summer shapes were kept relaxed, while the palette was refreshed with neutral tones accented by regal teal and navy. Sporty windbreakers and bomber jackets were crafted out of technical wrinkle resistant fabric, testament to the brand’s dedication to innovation.
Virgil Abloh set out to break barriers with his debut collection at Louis Vuitton. The Palais Royal was painted with a rainbow runway to signify all colours, all nationalities and all generations were welcome, and his models were ethnically diverse. Abloh kept the mood uplifting by starting the show with a variety of boxy tailored looks in crisp white before exploring a wide spectrum of shades, from crimson reds and surf-ready tie dyes to neon hues.
Miuccia Prada, in her genius way, fused youth and elegance. Her collection was built on easy-to-include essentials such as sports coats, blazers, polo shirts, sweaters and trainers. But when it comes to Prada, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Miuccia has invested time in developing new materials, particularly tech-knits and jerseys, as well as accessories, which include a sure-to-sellout trapper hat and a leather shoulder bag.
Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Ralph Lauren set sail towards St Tropez. Sportswear and suiting were reimagined with a nautical touch, but without eschewing the designer’s penchant for glamour. The predominantly black-andwhite collection was elevatedwith splashes of gold, while silhouettes were kept classic. A mix of sportswear and tailoring, gold parkas in foil-like material were paired with traditional doublebreasted jackets, while sweatpants went well with pea coats.
Men’s designer Guillaume Meilland has clearly mastered the art of fluid tailoring. Light jackets were left unlined and trousers wide-legged. Shorts came in knee-grazing silhouettes and were styled with mid-calf socks. Dungarees made a return and were worn fastened around the waist. Hints of summer were seen in layered tops in macramé and chunky espadrille-trim brogues. Notable accessories included leatherwrapped sunglasses, and the house’s new Gancini monogram was introduced on leather goods, which included travel-friendly duffels.
The men’s and women’s collections were shown together for the first time, and the result was a heavy emphasis on summer tailoring crafted from luxe materials. Neutral, everyday tones with a relaxed feeling was key. Suits came in lightweight linens, supple suede and everything in between, and there were driving coats and trucker jackets for the cooler evenings. In typical Tod’s fashion, the looks were all topped off in stylish ease with variations of the driving shoe and espadrilles.