Who’s setting the agenda for SS21?
Words: Thea Bichard. Images: Hugo Comte.


Who’s setting the agenda for SS21?

Words: Thea Bichard. Images: Hugo Comte.

When the style rules have been well and truly swept away (we all know why), what comes next? Instead of falling back on trite trends or rigid rules, the most compelling players in menswear right now are creating clothes that connect us to the world in myriad ways. Seen through photographer Hugo Comte’s surreal lens, these are the brands we’re looking to for the season ahead – from the emerging designer exploring multiculturalism through his collection, to the masters reminding us what made them so.

The (martial) artist:


“Everything becomes interconnected and pushes my own creative journey, uniting fashion, music and culture,” said Nicholas Daley on his latest collection, ‘Stepping Razor’, which delves into connections felt across the black diaspora. Named after reggae legend Peter Tosh’s 1977 album and modelled in the lookbook by Jordan Thomas, who’s set to be Britain’s first Olympic karateka, the collection of textural 70s-inflected separates and styles inspired by traditional martial arts uniforms sum up Daley’s passion for blending craft and culture.

Marco wears: NICOMEDE - Angular-lapel single-breasted wool jacket and Relaxed-fit drawstring-toggle shell jogging bottoms / RICK OWENS - Raw-trim semi-sheer woven vest / GUCCI - Web-print flip-flops. Alex wears: GIVENCHY – Ribbon crepe top / JADE SWIM - Via triangle bikini top / RICK OWENS - Diana cutout high-waist stretch-cotton mini skirt / BOTTEGA VENETA – Point small leather clutch bag (coming soon) / SHAUN LEANE - Quill sterling silver ring / FRAME – Platform sandals (coming soon). 

The composer:


One positive takeaway from the long year of loungewear is the way it has allowed us to press reset, style-wise. Nicomede Talavera’s ‘Episode 3’ collection – his third since reopening his brand two years ago – offers up a fresh take on how to dress, creating unlikely combinations of influences. “I continued to evolve key NICOMEDE. pillars and DNA, such as 1950s couture detailing and silhouettes, utility and workwear, functional sportswear and modern tailoring,” says Talavera. The collection mirrors the mixed-genre way that men dress now. “I like to juxtapose different references, ideas and fabrics – I think that’s how you create something new and modern.” In other words, what’s stopping you from shrugging on an oversized blazer with a pair of joggers?

The curator:


At a time when being able to access and appreciate art feels more precious than ever, Dries Van Noten’s ability to bring unexpected artistic influences through his collections is exactly what we need. The “psychedelic sunbursts” that flood Van Noten’s first co-ed collection pay homage to experimental photographic techniques in Len Lye’s work from the 20s and 30s. The result is, as per Van Noten’s show notes, “a graphic play with light and shadow” across summery tailoring – including the sliver of a shirt that stands out in our shoot. Expressive print is always integral to Van Noten’s work, and this season he’s helping us manifest the kind of summer we hope to have: bright, sunny and free-spirited.

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For SS21 there is a muted freshness and refined graphic approach, which we saw with Jacquemus’s checkerboard patterns and NICOMEDE.’s angular tailoring. Statement short-sleeved shirting is key, with patchwork styles by Comme des Garçons SHIRT and fluid, graphic styles at Dries Van Noten. Meanwhile, Nicholas Daley, Gucci and Bottega Veneta’s shades of green are perfect for transitioning between the seasons.


– Jack Cassidy, Head of Menswear Buying

Marco wears: GIVENCHY - Long-sleeved shirt, trousers and Antigona U leather cross-body bag (all coming soon) / RICK OWENS - Raw-trim semi-sheer woven vest / BUSCEMI - Drawstring slippers (coming soon). Alex wears: GIVENCHY - Open-back maxi dress (coming soon), G-Chain medium silver and gold-toned necklaceLeather Balle mini grained-leather tote bag, Cutout sliders (coming soon)

The interpreter:


“To me, fashion expresses a point of view where formality and informality, construction and comfort co-exist,” said 1017 ALYX 9SM’s Matthew Williams after making his debut as Givenchy’s Creative Director. “My ethos is about the luxury of infusing clothes with your own personality, not being worn by them.” Alongside sharp tailoring and textured denim, Williams is making his mark on the couture house’s accessories, reworking an ‘it’ bag into the new Antigona U cross-body and drawing on Givenchy’s home town of Paris for love lock-inspired hardware. The statement-making pieces are all there to play with and express your personality in whichever way works for you.

COMME DES GARCONS SHIRT - Peak-lapel open-back cotton waistcoat and Colour-blocked patch-pocket cotton-poplin shirt / RAEBURN - Air Brake tape-embroidered recycled-polyester shorts / LOEWE - Wraparound sunglasses (coming soon) / PRADA - Cutout sandals (coming soon)

The iconoclast:


Where does tailoring fit in menswear right now? The past year of tracksuits being the only kind of suit on our minds has left the playing field wide open when we’re thinking about what to wear for IRL plans. Rei Kawakubo’s SHIRT diffusion line has been the way to turn for a fresh take on tailoring since the late 80s, but her unstructured, personality-driven reimagining of classic styles feels more pertinent and appealing than ever before. A backless waistcoat? Sure. Supersized shirt pockets to show off some pattern? Yes, please.

JACQUEMUS - Le Alzu checked relaxed-fit cotton-linen blend trousers and Le Gadjo suede cross-body bag / BOTTEGA VENETA - Short-sleeved notched-hem stretch-cotton shirt / RICK OWENS - Raw-trim semi-sheer woven vest / BALENCIAGA - Sunglasses (coming soon)

The lover:


We may not be able to make it to the Côte d’Azur this summer, but Simon Porte Jacquemus transports us there via easygoing prints and patterns featuring everything from fresh Provençal vegetables to, in the case of the laid-back, wide-cut trousers you see above, the chequered kitchen tiles of a southern French maison. The places and people of Jacquemus’s upbringing crop up time and again in his collections, this time centring around the theme of L’Amour, “I imagined people gathered together celebrating love,” he said. Take that as your cue to invite JACQUEMUS pieces to all the easy, breezy plans rapidly filling up your summer.

Gold-standard styling

Explore our men’s jewellery edit to level up your summer style