menswear ss20 top hits
July 1, 2019
By Chong Ho
Ballsy, off-kilter and laden with political statements. Current global happenings have certainly contributed within the design stories of these designers. Some steer into the direction of positivity to silence the deafening hostile socio-political climate, while others make the message clear. One thing’s for sure, fashion or ‘anti-fashion’ as most of these designers have opted to present their collections are the theme for these bold, unapologetically agender collections. See some of our favorite hits of the SS20 Menswear shows from the thoughts of contributor, Chong Ho.
A cast of ravers and skinheads with messy makeup and wacky wigs in attires that are blown out of proportions with cuts that were inside out and back to front walked through the rooftop garden of a corporate office building in London’s financial district. The message is clear – Political chaos! And that is exactly the message Martine Rose wished to send across and was reiterated by a t-shirt which featured a cartoon clown with the slogan “Promising Britain”. The collection featured 80s-vintage inspired outfits with three-quarter drape jackets, chino with cargo pockets, double layered ski jackets, mismatched styling of Chinoiserie garments with structured jackets and oversized blazers. Despite the playful yet sinister tone of the show, the last piece of the show came with a badge saying “Magic Change Ahead”. Rose explained that “at the end of it, there’s people and people are what matter. You can get caught up in theories and terrifying things, but on a grassroots level, on a human level, that is always optimistic. I believe in humans and our relationships together, despite all of the terrifying things that govern us.” ♥
The Notre-Dame Cathedral was the original location where the show was planned to be held. Well that did not work out. So Virgil Abloh shifted the show to Place Dauphine, a historic square which combines all the beauty and romance of Paris. Over the grey cobbled street, models streamed down in outfits of pastel hues of teal, blue, pink and yellow. Dried flowers could be seen sprouting and sprawling up a pastel blue top while botanical printed silk organza breezed through the air. The collection which seemed more refined compared to Abloh’s previous collections also included utilitarian-styled outwear and suit jackets paired with wide fluid trousers. It seems like the designer has finally found a balance between streetwear and luxe to reinstate the luxurious image of the fashion house.
British fashion’s favourite conceptualist continues to impress season after season. This season, Craig Green linked the concepts of protection, reflection and transformation through a kaleidoscope of garments symbolising the human anatomy – skin, flesh and muscle over a long mirrored runway. There were padded satin pieces with starbursts embroidery inspired by Zoroastrian anatomical drawings and jackets that resembled the cutout Mexican Easter flags. The show ended with a lineup of models in a series of dark coats with real-size body scan images walked to Q Lazarus’ “Goodbye Horses”.
“I HATE “FASHION””, a bold statement printed on a pullover vest which Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo declared to be a message indicating the unnecessary need to try too hard. The collection consists of summery utilitarian wear off –white and sky blue hues and saffron and green knits. As the designers embrace the concept of simplicity, the overall vibe of the show was natural and unforced. The male silhouettes are a range of boxy oversized tops with wide fitted pants and relaxed knits on knits. Another look was a reporter jacket with macro black stripes and micro grid motif paired with matching pants and a pair of soothing baby blue socks.
WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK
Walter Van Beirendonck took us on a trip to the outer space giving us a glimpse of the extraterrestrial life. The collection was a combustion of colours with combination of geometric forms and symmetrical prints. His Martian squad invaded the runway in bright leggings and bodystockings paired with plastic jackets with shower cap frills and puffy-sleeved bombers. The other looks were some dramatically shaped rain coats and colourful quilted silk tops and shorts. A celebration of limitless diversity of forms and looks, so the designer spoke. Amen!
The Berluti Spring 2020 collection was a showcase of top-notch tailoring and timeless looks. A presentation of luxury at its best. The looks are sleek with the occasional overlay of loose topcoats and oversuits. Kris Van Assche’s collection also featured classic suits and sleeveless blazers of exceptional artisanal skills where the house’s scritto motif was applied. Scritto motif is a calligraphy of an 18th-century manuscript commonly found on leather goods which Van Assche had transferred to some of his suiting and coats in the collection.
For the Spring 2020 collection, Chinese designer Shangguan Zhe looked to the American West for inspiration. He explored the culture of gangsterism and combined elements like raw denim, graffiti, and houndstooth patterns in his collection. Mid-west cowboy shirts and studded denim jacket were meshed with graphic emblazoned trousers. Rock silhouettes with a splash of grunge also painted the collection. Notable pieces include bright leopard print jacket worn over pale yellow knitwear, shiny leather suits and neon jackets with printed graffiti motifs.
COMME DES GARCONS
Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando” was the reference point of the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus collection. Published in 1928, the story depicts the life of a man who changes sex from a man to woman and is deemed to be more forward-looking than any sci-fi novels. On the runway, Rei Kawakubo sent down her male models in ruffled sleeved shirts, frock coats, bishop sleeves, pinafores and petticoats. All looks were completed with short flapper 20s Marcel wig and pearl necklaces which further blurred the lines for menswear. A sense of freedom can one feel from the collection.
Bruno Sialelli made his debut at the Lanvin show in Paris. The show took place at Piscine Pailleron, a swimming pool dated from the 30’s. The Lucien Pollet-designed space exudes an avant-garde feel where models walked across all three stories of the venue in bright long tunic sweaters, nautical printed tops, big sailor collared jackets and jelly sandals. The collection was vibrant, fresh, youthful and summer-ready! ☀️
What is fashion without some fantasy and theatricality? Well you can always count on Thom Browne on that category. Browne described his show as “my Versailles country club” – a marriage of trompe l’oeil tailoring and Marie Antoinette-meets-NFL like silhouette. American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer James Whiteside opened the show in a grey pinstripe suit-tutu and pointe shoes with a dance performance that awed the crowd. Models then streamed down the Beaux-Arts in suits with exaggerated sleeves, crinoline, flowery coats and excessively huge pants. The collection was a true representation of Browne’s ever-imaginative genius. Set on the last day of fashion week, the Thom Browne show draws a perfect end to the menswear season.
Patchwork, tassels, vest and trench coats with wing-like flaps made up Jonathan Anderson’s artful collection for Spring 2020. Rasta colour tones (also seen on Maluma’s pullover at the event) and metallic tinfoil like bags were a recurring theme at the show. Anderson’s appreciation for artisanal crafts in the era of globalisation and fast fashion also translated into a series of multicoloured shredded knitwear and doughnut-shaped head bands. The pieces are fun, colourful and crafty.