It's an interesting moment for menswear. The category now has its own standalone fashion week in New York. Burberry announced last week that it will have "seasonless" direct-to-consumer fashion shows instead of showing six months in advance. Carson Street founders Brian Trunzo and Matt Breen just moved their store into a massive space on Greene Street, and Josh Peskowitz, the former men’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, will open his own independent shop, Magasin, in Los Angeles this March. Is business actually booming? Or are we in the midst of a menswear bubble bound to pop in a season or two? Either way, the designer collections for Fall 2016 showed clothes with a louche, luxe vibe that reflected this influx of hype and, perhaps, capital. Clothes so good, they just beg to be bought.
Let's start with the coats. It might seem obvious or even a little trite to point out that coats are in for Fall, but based on last month's menswear shows, designers from Milan to New York agree: this Fall is the time to invest in your outerwear lineup. Jeffrey Rudes showed an irresistible suede trench. Tim Coppens and Dries van Noten showed gorgeous fur-trimmed commodore coats. Coach, Fendi, Michael Kors, and Burberry all offered up rich, luxuriant fur coats. Even if a long pile fur might seem ostentatious, the familiar cuts of these coats—a fur trench or a fur peacoat, for example—steers away from the ’90s rapper vibe, and makes these coats look as at home on Wall Street as they do in Westeros.
Speaking of Wall Street and ’90s rappers, the proportions of this Fall’s suits are decidedly baggier. The wide-legged trouser for men has been bubbling under the surface for several seasons now—ever since Nicola Formichetti showed some at Mugler in 2011—but this season’s suits from Lemaire, Bottega Veneta, Bally, and Ermenegildo Zegna leave behind the skinny 1960s influence of seasons past, and move towards a vision of masculinity that is loose, relaxed, and a little less conservative in its measure of fabric. These brands work with some of the finest textiles in the world, so although the silhouette is relaxed, the look is definitely far from sloppy.
The ’90s rapper influence continued to rear its head in another unexpected place this season: knits. Remember Notorious B.I.G.’s love affair with Coogi? Based on the offerings from Missoni and Salvatore Ferragamo, it would appear that the must-have sweater of the season is, in short, ugly. The more mismatched the colors, the more graphic the pattern, the better.
So whether the menswear sector is actually expanding as quickly as the hype would suggest, or whether this is just an over-inflated bubble about to burst, one thing is clear: whether it’s an over-the-top fur coat, luxe and louche suiting, or that ugly sweater that might just be the coziest thing you own, buy what makes you feel good.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Burberry; Courtesy of Bottega Veneta; Courtesy of Missoni