In popular culture, shiny outfits are typically used to evoke a certain futurism. That might help to explain why several forward-thinking designers lit up their Spring/Summer 2020 shows with high-shine styles. Interestingly, much of this gloss was inspired by the past.
Channelling the couturiers eponymous with the fashion houses they oversee creatively, Dior Men’s Kim Jones and Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller sent several satin looks down their respective runways.
At Dior, the liquid shine of a silver suit was heightened by the addition of a long satin sash – a nod to Christian Dior’s haute couture creations. And, inspired by Hubert de Givenchy’s elegant opulence, Waight Keller gave relaxed tailoring an elegant yet elevated feel with an iridescent purple fabric.
At Saint Laurent, creative director Anthony Vaccarello channelled the vibes of Marrakech – the favourite Morrocan city of Yves Saint Laurent and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. The result: boldly languid looks that (hopefully) make the wearer appear sensual rather than slothful.
Hold on to your crocheted cardigans! The move towards all things handmade continues unabated. For this, we can thank designers such as Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson, a long-time fan of traditional handcrafts and the mastermind behind the Loewe Craft Prize.
Another reason this aesthetic is gaining ground is the fashion industry’s heightened awareness of sustainability. What better way to show your creative prowess than to create something beautiful out of bits and bobs that could have ended up in landfill?
There are plenty of haute looks right now: Loewe complemented colourful knits with leather patchwork totes featuring enough hues to make a rainbow feel threatened. Ermenegildo Zegna’s XXX runway collection introduced several looks that appear stylishly rumpled from afar – but are actually made from fabrics that are deliberately pleated and flattened in an artistically random way.
For its sustainability-themed presentation, eclectic Italian brand Marni accented ensembles with hats by Georgian artist Shalva Nikvashvili that are made from discarded items such as paper and plastic.
Show your pinstripes
Once upon a time, pinstripes – preferably in white against no-nonsense navy – were the sartorial domain of a particular kind of banker. Thanks to this reputation, fashion designers, with their penchant for unexpected contrasts, now often use this pattern for play.
Taking the pinstripe to territory more off the wall than Wall Street, Dolce & Gabbana matched its vertically striped pants with flamboyant tops featuring tropical motifs or leopard prints. Celine’s Hedi Slimane put his typical rock and roll spin on a brown pinstriped suit by cutting it in his signature slim, strong-shouldered silhouette.
Still too serious? Try Prada’s summery, youthful combination of light blue, pinstriped cotton jacket, long shirt and shorts. As for the many who still favour the pinstripe for work, Berluti’s dark double-breasted suit beautifully demonstrates how the classic style still looks fresh when paired with edgy elements such as a pale shirt and tie with a light grey painterly print.
The 2020 Pantone Colour of The Year is classic blue – and a predictably blah hue for menswear. Standing out among the pleasant pastels that are invariably a Spring/Summer staple is one vibrant hue nobody could ever find boring and designers are seriously loving: orange.
The key to wearing it without looking like an overgrown pumpkin is to add it in manageable doses and anchor it with neutral shades like grey (Givenchy) or brown (Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton).
Even while championing bold colours at Berluti this season, creative director Kris Van Assche made sure to pair bright orange with the more manageable terracotta. However, if you want to keep your dose of citrus small – well, that’s what accessories are for.
(Related: Hermes shows us how footwear should be done)
On the prowl
In the fashion jungle, animal prints never go out of style. Some flamboyant dressers will go so far as to regard the print as a neutral. But there are some seasons when designers borrow less from wildlife, and some when they can’t get enough of it. This year belongs in the latter category.
Your usual maximalist suspects – Versace and Dolce & Gabbana – are doubling down on leopard prints. At the former, leopard-print jackets are the most low-key of its offerings. Other variations include a shiny lurex turtleneck. Japanese label Sacai, known for its creative contrasts, used a zebra print as a foundation for several grungy, monochromatic styles.
Our favourite examples of the trend? Tom Ford’s very cool take on evening formal wear, featuring shawl-collared jackets in brightly-hued, animal print jacquard paired with impeccable ivory tailored separates and shoes.
Fantastic news for those with a belly to hide! You don’t have to suck it in anymore. Right now, it’s all about the flowy shirt that ends preferably somewhere near your knees. Who should you thank for this trend? For the most part, fashion designers with exotic locales on their minds.
The bohemian spirit of Marrakech and the djellaba, a robe worn by Moroccan men, were the inspirations for the sheer, flowy robes at Saint Laurent. At Fendi, a collaboration with Italian film director and producer Luca Guadagnino led to the creation of, among other things, printed long shirts with side splits that are a nod to the traditional robes worn in Ethiopia, where Guadagnino grew up.
Naturally, not everything had a deeper cultural meaning. Designers such as Miuccia Prada simply wanted to play with proportions – pairing a long shirt with a tailored jacket and shorts – to create a fresh take on an otherwise familiar combination. Simply because, sometimes, a shirt is just a shirt – and fashion should always be fun.