Wednesday 24 January 2018

The essential menswear fashion forecast

As Men's Fashion Month winds down, Alexander Fitzgerald highlights the 10 most wearable trends among the theatrics

A few good men: Walking for Craig Green
A few good men: Walking for Craig Green
Christopher Raeburn
Fendi AW17
Louis Vuitton AW17

Given the creativity involved, it's not surprising that January's month-long fashion-fest threw up more surprises than a toddler with a job lot of Kinder Eggs. But among the lunatic theatrics, whose sole purpose is to garner headlines, there emerged a host of new trends that are perfectly workable in the real world.


Sharp, contemporary twists on classic Britishwear appeared on many an autumn-winter 2017 (AW17) catwalk, but perhaps the finest example was conceived by Dubliner Daniel Kearns, the creative mind behind David Beckham's re-launched Kent & Curwen label.

Kearns' debut collection was a masterclass in how the best menswear can be attainable, rather than merely aspirational. Space in some of the best-dressed wardrobes will surely be made for sophisticated duffle coats, chunky Fair Isle knits and, most eye-catching of all, classic Henley blazers with embroidered badges.


Big-shouldered, oversize outerwear is nothing new (as a peek through Joan Collins' Dynasty wardrobe from the early 80s will confirm), but its place in the realm of menswear is certainly a recent phenomenon.

First propagated by the chic French label Vetements, expect this look (think elongated sleeves and expansive fits) to gain momentum as a host of trend-setting brands, including Joseph, Fendi and Agi & Sam, showcased their respective takes on this bigger-is-better aesthetic.


Given JW Anderson's pervasive influence on fashion trends, his penchant for crochet is likely to trickle down on to the high-street over the coming months.

Used on pockets, sleeves and, most prominently, scarves, the Northern Irish designer gave the knit a new relevancy, proving that crochet can make a serious style statement. Less is most definitely more, though - unless you fancy looking like an oversized doily.


Once the fabric of choice for the bingo hall brigade, knitwear's cool credentials have been resuscitated with the welcome return of the chunky roll neck. Whether tucked into baggy trousers at Astrid Andersen, or worn oversized and zipped-up at Joseph, thick knits are set for more than merely a supporting role on the men's fashion stage.


Like its army-influenced sibling, nautical staples are never far from the vanguard of men's fashion. But rather than simply rehash the popular classics, the latest takes on the seafaring look fuse fashion with functionality.

The nautical flag was flying particularly prominently at Belstaff, showcased in classic Breton stripes and waterproof parkas.


Military clothing's mix of ceremony and utilitarianism makes it key to the way modern men like to think about clothes: they want something smart, with a bit of tradition behind it; but, equally, they want it to be functional.

Little wonder, then, camouflage was, paradoxically, hard to miss in many of the leading AW17 collections. Embraced by the likes of Maharishi, Liam Hodges and Christopher Raeburn, it even appeared in a head-to-toe guise at Nigel Cabourn. If you want to stand out over the coming months, make sure to blend in.


While purists may argue that trainers should never be seen with any form of tailoring, January's catwalks would suggest that pairing minimalist sneaks with sharp suits can score maximum style points, providing the perfect balance between form and function. Unless you're Kanye West, though, stick with no-frills sneakers in muted black, grey or white. If worn correctly, they'll take off more years than Botox.


Whether in the realm of casualwear, sportswear or even tailoring, one trend was readily apparent: silhouettes are increasingly loose (see Louis Vuitton). Relaxed layering and oversized fits were the style du jour for everything from trousers and tops to outerwear.


Particularly prominent at Pitti Uomo and London Fashion Week: Men's was a strong use of checked tailoring. The catwalks championed a maximalist approach, adding a second layer of check - the effect, when executed skilfully, can be stunning.


AW17 is likely to see neon brights inject a colourful shot into menswear. From acid-trip psychedelic knits at Topman Design to fluoro yellow T-shirts at Liam Hodges, everyone seems keen to get in on the toxic tones act.

Irish Independent

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