Synonymous with oversized statement sunglasses, South Korean cult brand Gentle Monster has finally hit our shores, with its recent store opening at Ion Orchard. We must admit to a certain partiality to this much-hyped label, and not just because its eyewear is made to sit well on Asian faces.
In an industry dominated by European giants such as Luxottica, Gentle Monster is probably one of the most popular Asian eyewear brands to date, with earnings of US$160 million in 2015. The brand, which was founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim and Jae Oh, also recently entered into a partnership with L Catterton Asia, a private equity firm co-owned by LVMH. To get you better acquainted with this label, we’ve selected five designs — ranging from the merely striking to the downright weird — that best channel this season’s biggest menswear trends.
01: Professor Chic
A liberal-arts professor from the ’70s: In western popular culture, this is the image that a corduroy suit frequently evokes. For designer Miuccia Prada, however, styles such as the full corduroy looks in her FW2017/18 collection were the result of a desire for pared-down simplicity. We can think of no better eyewear to symbolise both sentiments than the Pencil Glasses, which represent the most basic writing tool as well as earnest academic nerdiness.
They look like they were created for a Cyclops (that’s the Greek one-eyed monster, not the X-Man) by a designer with a Venn diagram fetish. Actually a collaboration between Gentle Monster and edgy fashion brand Hood By Air, these Rocker Fish sunglasses have a futuristic feel that go perfectly with (read: are as fearlessly crazy as) the dark and dystopian looks that were seen on avant-garde runways such as Rick Owens and Vetements.
03: Orange Crush
The colour of many things citrusy and various traffic-stopping implements, orange is the aggressively cheerful shade brightening up many menswear collections this season. We’re not sure which is less in-your-face: A long coat in the autumnal hue (as seen on the Dior Homme runway), or these orange-tinted Ami Adam shades, which also happen to be a Singapore exclusive.
In these boundary-blurring days, athleisure seems to have come to encompass everything from track pants you could get married in, to suits you can go swimming in (last season, Thom Browne made neoprene wetsuits featuring prints that made them look like actual suits). Reminiscent of the aerodynamic eyewear favoured by cyclists, the Nunty is a fashion statement that will never be used for actual sport — just like, we imagine, most athleisure-style clothing.
“Balmain army” is the collective term for the celebrities and models who are often seen in the clothing, and company, of the brand’s designer Olivier Rousteing. For Fall, Balmain translates this military term in a way that’s more familiar in menswear: through lashings of khaki and camo prints. Gentle Monster’s contribution to this perennial trend? The Newtonic in khaki acetate.