Menswear’s next chapter

Images: Hugo Comte, Words: Thea Bichard

As we enter a new decade, it seems we’re also entering a new era for menswear that’s set to transform the way we dress. From the evolution of streetwear to the return of tailoring – here’s where we see menswear heading, this season and beyond…

Streetwear grows up

Streetwear has dominated the men’s collections over the past decade. Exciting new labels – think Heron Preston, Off-White and 1017 ALYX 9SM – reigned, raising the status of logo-stamped tees and hoodies. The genre also sliced through runway schedules: Vetements’s Demna Gvasalia shook up couture house Balenciaga; Virgil Abloh became Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director only six years after launching Off-White. And who could have predicted Louis Vuitton co-signing a collection with Supreme or Off-White teaming up with Evian?

Now we’ve hit the ’20s, where does streetwear go next? Virgil Abloh himself told Dazed Digital recently, “it’s gonna die”, but we’re more optimistic: at the SS20 runways, there was a sense that streetwear is growing up, not disappearing completely. It’s showing signs of moving beyond the conveyor belt of constant drops and ever-changing aesthetics in favour of longevity – embracing tailoring, defying the decades and turning the noise down a few notches. It feels like exactly what we need right now.

Lanvin – logo-print jacket (coming soon) / Marni – wide-leg twill trousers / Balenciaga – leather sliders (coming soon)
Rick Owens – sleeveless jersey top / Ann Demeulemeester – pinstriped cotton blazer & pinstriped cotton and linen-blend trousers / Balenciaga – leather sliders (coming soon)

A more tailored focus

A shift away from super-casual collections has brought tailoring back into the fashion conversation. Rather than a sudden shift in the opposite direction, though, this is more a blurring of the boundaries between menswear tropes, with designers drawing on the looser fits and unexpected patterns of streetwear to cut suits in a way that doesn’t feel too formal. So dig out your less-structured blazers and relaxed-leg trousers, shed the starchy shirts and don them with tonal T-shirts to sync up with this aesthetic. Need some tailoring inspo? We’ll be looking to Ann Demeulemeester and Loewe for their crop of muted, softly shaped suiting.

Pressing reset

Our attention span for familiar prints and graphics is waning, and instead we’re finding ourselves drawn to brands forging new signatures or emphasising the more classic corners of their collections. We’re turning to Polo Ralph Lauren – the diffusion line’s tailored chino shorts make for a stripped-back look with a stark-white tee and a bucket hat in a subdued hue. Over at Off-White, the label splashes a matching trucker and jeans with a pattern that reminds us of old-school wood panelling (see what we mean?). It’s refreshing to see these designers stripping away well-worn references (wave goodbye to ’90s-style double denim), while still creating talking points.

Something bold, something new

Daniel Lee’s restrained runway at Bottega Veneta, Bruno Sialelli’s menswear debut at Lanvin and Dries Van Noten’s newly muted floral patterns have made us reconsider well-established houses – those with a strong aesthetic and storied craftsmanship at their core. We’re borrowing Bottega’s tagline from the ’70s, “when your own initials are enough”, for the ’20s. There’s a certain joy in people having to take a second look before they can guess which labels you’re wearing and what season – or era – they’re from (that’s another excuse for mixing in vintage). It’s about working with designs that are distinctive *and* have the staying power to outlast the season; there’s potential for plenty of classics in the making here – not to mention a more sustainable way to shop. And isn’t that what we should all be looking to now?