Fall/ Winter 2020 Menswear: Highlights

Jessica Gianelli

This season, many designers continued to do away with whatever ‘menswear’ was thought to mean, creating shows which included boys, girls, and (thankfully) gender non-conforming humans, too. Personal restrictions continued to be toyed with, while ease, playfulness and function too carried on while pushing forth notes of subversion. Looking back, we discuss our favourite bits.

1017-Alyx-9SM designer, Matthew Williams, returned with his multi-gendered casting, using a beautiful assemblage of crystals, silk, and sleek tailoring to underscore an air of luxury in the young brand, whose maintained rawness and rough attitude help to obscure its status somewhere between streetwear and the high-end. Coats (yes!), dresses (double yes!)––tinkered with dichotomies flitted down the runway, tossing notions of fierceness, softness, leisure and elegance into a giant crystal-covered vat left for all watchers to stir and digest.
Playfully elevated basics dawn theatrical touches and vibrant colours in Alexandre Matussi’s ninth show at AMI. In a chaplin-esque mood, houndstooth and its other black and white companions are centre stage, the looks often embellished by rounded top hats, and supported by an array of delicious jewel tone coats, sweaters, frilly tops, and skirt-like trousers, to introduce a flavoured flair to the beloved Parisian chic.
Contrast was a noted signifier for many of the menswear shows this season, Dries Van Noten certainly being one of them. Standard menswear pieces were seemingly haunted by the ghosts of camp past, where Van Noten presented a medley of nostalgic tidbits whose familiarity combined with a timeless ‘I don’t give a f***k’ kind of attitude, gave us a melange of rockstar meets run-of-the-mill-cool-boy silhouettes to very casually, drool over. Even for us pals of PETA.
How does one create a collection that is both luxurious, and effortlessly chic? Well you’ll have to ask Ms Fendi just how she does it. Surrealist nods emerge from within the modernised cacophony of classics from the man’s wardrobe. While purses play on packaging, sumptuous leathers take on a variety of forms, and coats become convertible. From cosy cashmere knits, and turned-round tailoring, the Fendi man gets the chance to have a play around with his tastes. Though it was one of the few that kept to the strictly menswear space, we would gladly covet nearly every piece of this cautiously considered array. And those boots? Don’t even get us started! We’ll take one in every. single. colour.
Gucci‘s Alessandro Michele is no newbie to the art of unisex dressing. The fluidity of gender could be smelled from a mile away, as pre-pubescent themes played alongside rugged rocker motifs. This season was indeed more diverse, much less ostentatious, and encompassed some beautiful nuggets of nostalgia. The short shorts and midriff grazing tops were notable, their youthfulness juxtaposed against the vibrant simplicity of tailored coats, and co-ords. Between grass stains, and peter pan collars, Michele’s statement echoes boldly: boys will be whatever they want to be. And hey, we can all dress ‘like boys,’ too :)
Simon Porte Jacquemus is no stranger to a colourful swatch of fabric. This Fall/ Winter season, however, he’s turned away from the painterly palette, and decided a focus on his roots was in order–in a more ‘minimal’ way this time. In a collection focused around predominantly Earth tones, the topic of sustainability is touched upon along Jacquemus’ runway, where workwear, nightwear, sportswear, and daywear quietly intermingle, offering a co-ed repertoire that doesn’t quite scream as much as it whispers. Bags were a plenty–extra-big, super-small, and seemingly ungendered. The laid back feeling of Jacqemus continued in its resonance, from relaxed tailoring right down to the relaxedness that is un-zippered trousers with knickers for all to see.
Martine Rose is a mother, a black woman, and a menswear designer, to say the least. Both she, and her brand quite seemingly always skirting north of societies expectations of ‘the designer’ as well as that which is designed. Rose’s Fall / Winter collection continues with pieces that you have definitely seen before, but probably not like that. Not only did she join two worlds by bringing fashion to meet ‘real life’ at a show in her daughter’s primary school in Chalk Farm, London, but the show itself also quite palpably considers the joining of the mundane and the strange. Denim, belts, blazers, and… latex??? All sing to the re-interpreted tune of seventies and eighties Jamaican peacockery. A flirtation with the female form also emerged here, leaving us to wonder what other bizarrely beautiful creations she might conjure next.
Chitose Abe perpetuates our passions of dressing like onions. Pieces on pieces, on shorter, on larger pieces, is very much what we’re used to when it comes to Sacai. This season, she’s somehow taken the coolness, softness, brutality and romance that swirls around society at the moment, and illustrated it through puffer jackets, asymmetric layers, and an overwhelming sense of ease, in even the most elegant of ruggedness.
Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo might “hate fashion,” hell, don’t we all sometimes? But if there’s one thing they’re doing quite well, it’s, well, yes, making clothes. Sunnei feels fresh–perhaps it encapsulates an aloof millennial energy, saying “even if i don’t like fashion, I can still look really, really good.” It seems there is something in the air that designers have tapped into, this sense of disinterest, yet a sustained necessity to assert individuality in a beautiful way. There was a slight matrixy feel, if the matrix were to make a comeback, in earth tones, primary touches, and a funny shaped bag for every purpose. Sunnei’s got something for everyone–especially those of us who’d like to remain reserved, tucked comfortably beneath functional layers and nestled into fabulous footwear.