By Justine Woolcott
Photography by Kareen Mallon and courtesy of Saint Laurent
The recent fall/winter 2013 menswear fashion shows in Milan and Paris showcased a great variety of looks. The Berluti runway featured ’30s inspired three-piece suits, while the male-friendly capes at Salvatore Ferragamo echoed the changes designers are making to create more interesting menswear.
Clearly, the classic styles — with a modern twist — are returning, and some of the trends seen in womenswear are seeping into men’s fashion. Fall will surely be anything but boring.
The beloved dress shoe, sneaker and wingtip shoe are seeing a change, but most exciting is the staple of men’s footwear — the combat boot. Laces are no longer the prominent feature on this much-loved classic. Dior Homme took the combat boot to a new, refined level; sumptuous black leather, clear heels and elegant straps are the definitive features of their look.
In its updated version, the boot is now professional enough to wear to work. And although fashion is rarely about comfort, Dior Homme, Versace and many other designers, who are embracing the more refined version, made the boot all about comfort — ideal for those long days meeting clients across the city.
Capes could be seen all over European runways — and for a good reason. Designers have shown that the wearer no longer has to be avant-garde or on top of the latest trends, and the updated cape is more modern-man and less Sherlock Holmes, creating a very wearable piece. Capes are certainly a European staple, but the ones shown for the upcoming season are meant to make a statement.
Different combinations of leather, tweed and plaid point to the versatility of this piece of clothing. John Varvatos showed a cape in oxblood, complete with an oversized collar and a structured shape, creating the illusion of a tailored double-breasted jacket. Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino presented sleek black capes: Saint Laurent’s was a modern take on the double-breasted jacket, whereas Valentino and Ferragamo focused on weekend-chic with leather accents and discrete zipper details. Valentino’s cape is also a great option for an evening out.
Over the years, the classic plaid has been reincarnated in every way imaginable. That is, until now.
Fendi introduced an ombré plaid, following the trends seen across women’s runways for spring 2013. Most designs were presented in muted blue, the designer’s current colour of choice, and a far cry from the traditional red and black. The trendy new version was everywhere: slim-fit suits, double-breasted jackets, fitted dress shirts and classic trenches. Tommy Hilfiger showed a really stylish look with black and white plaid-printed bombers, paired with a black and white argyle jumper. To pull off this new twist on an old favourite, look for a classic, fitted button-up with a subtle, yet distinctive, print.
Tweed is another classic fabric that designers seem eager to modernize for men. British designers seem to be paying homage to their rich heritage in their fall/winter 2013 presentations. With resurgence of plaid, this back-to-basics trend will be a staple for every man, from accessories to outerwear.
Saint Laurent showed a grungier, more contemporary version of tweed with a classic winter jacket, cut just above the knee. For a more refined look, search no further than Fendi, who showed the classic side of tweed with a rugged overcoat featuring an oversized fur collar. To make the look work in an everyday setting, try a slim-fitted suit in subtle tweed.