While the rest of the world was fixated on the star-studded, fashion-filled inauguration of President Joe Biden, we had one eye on Paris—lapping up the well-tailored delights of Men’s Fashion Week Fall Winter 2021. Of course proceedings were largely facilitated by digital live-stream, but that didn’t stop the likes of Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Dior from presenting truly remarkable collections, with clothes that will tantalise the whole breadth of the gender spectrum.

From mouth-watering outerwear at Raf Simons’ menswear debut for Prada to aspirational minimalism at Jil Sander, we round-up six stand-out moments from the new menswear season—including clever styling tricks to apply to your own wardrobe. Comme des garçons indeed.

At Prada, A Welcome Burst Of Raspberry

The first menswear collection designed collaboratively by Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada debuted to much fanfare—and justifiably so. Following the enthralling live-streamed runway event, both designers appeared for a virtual Q&A session (as they had after the womenswear show in September), explaining the collection centered around a single fashion item, one they felt best encapsulated our current cultural moment: the knitted bodysuit. Graphic-printed iterations poked out under slick, slim-tailored suits, or were hidden beneath chunky oversized sweaters and fluffy shearling coats. But the real highlight was a trio of juicy patent leather bomber jackets: one grape, one lime, one raspberry. In a moment where we could all do with a little burst of joy, few clothing items fit the bill better than a so-good-you-could-eat-it piece of hot pink outerwear.

Image: Courtesy of Prada

At JW Anderson, Get Your 5 And 2

Jonathan Anderson has never been particularly interested in adhering to gender rules—so it came as no surprise that JW Anderson’s menswear fall-winter ’21 collection could easily have been a unisex offering. This was underscored by the appearance of Ratched actress Sophie Okonedo, who appeared throughout the Juergen Teller-lensed lookbook in classic men’s tailoring—but the standout looks were the slouchy sportswear pieces embellished with fruit and vegetable motifs. ‘Return to nature’ was a theme throughout the collection, perhaps unsurprising during a cultural moment where (particularly in Anderson’s native London) appreciating life’s little pleasures is suddenly an act of survival. Oversized sweaters with painted peaches, butternut squash-printed baggy jeans—call it the slightly surreal uniform for Lockdown 2.0.

At Louis Vuitton, Silhouettes You Could Slice Your Hand On

It was a particularly elevated collection from Virgil Abloh this season—both conceptual and innately wearable, replete with sure-to-sell-out novelty items like monogrammed coffee cups and airplane-shaped holdalls. Abloh was particularly moved by the Black Lives Matter protests in June, and the collection, named ‘Ebonics’, gave continuous nods to his own Ghanian heritage by reimagining classic Louis Vuitton shapes with traditional materials—while celebrating Blackness by collaborating with filmmaker Josh Johnson and poets Saul Williams and Kai Isiah Jamal. A stand-out look to emulate? The boxy, ’80s-style cropped shirts, perfectly proportioned with loose-fitting tailored trousers. Just add retro-style sneakers (and tuck an LV newspaper under your arm).

At Dior, Military Precision

Kim Jones may just be the busiest man in fashion, designing his latest menswear collection for Dior amidst the creation of his first couture show as creative director of womenswear at Fendi. Neither collection was neglected—the menswear showing being yet another triumph in Jones’ continual litany of ‘hits’ for Dior. Jones collaborated with Scottish painted Peter Doig on the collection, whose signature bold brushstrokes and juicy colour palette appeared on knitted sweaters, felt bowler hats, and oversized scarves. But it was the opening look—a black tailored military-style suit with a remarkable embroidered overcoat and embellished beret—that stole the show. Jones was inspired by the ceremonial uniforms worn by artists inducted into the Academie des Beux-Arts—and the precision tailoring and stiff collars made for a welcome reprieve after 12 months spent in loungewear.

At Fendi, Tonal Layering Gets An Upgrade

Silvia Venturini Fendi’s latest menswear offering spoke—perhaps more so than any other menswear collection this season—directly to what we are expecting out of clothes right now. Comfort remained front of mind, courtesy of louche pyjama dressing, silk quilted trousers, and a soft, cream, cashmere set of dungarees, but transitional pieces for easing back into ‘real-life’ featured too: wrapped puffer coats, satin suiting, elegant lug-soled brogues. An unexpected collaboration with Noel Fielding—the British artist and comedian—was a highlight, Fielding’s signature avant-garde scribbles printed on cocoon coats and shrunken knitted vests. The styling trick we’re stealing? Tonal layers, from beige-tinted sunglasses through to caramel silk shirts, brown patent leather loafers, and lashings of gold jewellery. It’s the simplest way to make ‘dressed down’ feel polished.

At Jil Sander, Don’t Forget The Finishing Touches

Married couple and Jil Sander co-creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier keep going from strength to strength, continuing to refine their brand of aspirational minimalism season after season. For menswear fall-winter ’21, the full scope of their craftsmanship was on display, as angular suits were enhanced with clever zip details, heavy cashmere knits fastened with statement metal buttons, and oversized coats belted with kimono-style leather-strapped belt bags. An unexpected detail? The addition of layered statement necklaces, everything from delicate chain necklaces bearing the word ‘MOTHER’ to longer-length pendants in silver and gold. It’s a reminder, as if we needed one, that the key to truly great style lies in the finishing touches.

Jil Sander Menswear FW 2021
Image: Courtesy of Jil Sander

 

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