Going digital has been a bumpy, year-long ride for the fashion houses of the world as phygital presentations became the status quo over a year ago. When the digital presentations started rolling out from the first week of the menswear shows it became evidently clear that lockdown athleisure fits are through and it’s time to start dressing up again, even if it means just for a Zoom call. The first week of the menswear season presented exaggerated colours, big silhouettes and bold prints that told a unified story of comfort, hope and change. Suspiciously, they all appeared to be created for home viewing, big clothes for smaller screens to be exact. Here are some of the key collections from the first week of AW21 menswear.
Fashion is a strange world and this is something Jonathan Anderson explored for his AW21 collection. The series of poster-like shots signed by Juergen Teller saw models playing with food and, in some cases, exhibiting hysteria over their circumstances. Sophie Okonedo from Ratched on Netflix starred in the presentation, dressed in JW Anderson’s latest menswear collection. The most prominent look for Okonedo was look 14, an all-white ensemble featuring the most prominent feature of the collection, mega wide-leg trousers with a capital M. Wide Leg trousers could be found throughout the collection in shades of purple, cream and orange check. What separated these trousers from your regular palazzo trouser were the large flaps on the sides that when stretched out created an imperfectly perfect triangular shape to the bottom half of the body.
For his AW21 collection, JW Anderson also played with the notions of gender by dressing his models in beautiful dresses only to be hit suddenly with bold accents like gold snoods, silver shearling coats and Mongolian fur vests in eye-catching colours of chartreuse, pink and blue. What stood out the most and made you look twice is the writing on the posters, they did not correspond with the look you were watching and through this clever method, Anderson secured the attention of his audience from the beginning to the end.
For MSGM’s AW21 collection Massimo Giorgetti tapped into life outdoors with his collection titled ‘Vertigine’. The collection spoke tales of Italy’s mountain landscapes with clothes that balanced between streetwear and mountain gear. Through the eyes of Giorgetti, MSGM presented a collection filled with brand staples like colour blocking, intricate prints and a dose of glamour. Technical pieces like mountain jackets, fleece vests and accessories like spiked shoes were partnered with frayed denim ensembles, tweed suits and oversized short-sleeved shirts. The latter was layered on top of sweatshirts, polo shirts and coats – giving the layered looks an impeccable sense of depth.
What stood out the most in the collection were the graphic mountain prints which featured bold logos of familiar ski hotspots like Chamonix and St. Moritz. In shades of glacier blue and bubblegum pink contrasted with army green and burnt orange checks, Giorgetti challenged the notions of dressing for the outdoors. Not surprisingly, the lookbook was set in a winter wonderland with harsh lighting that brought out the collections most prominent feature, the array of bold colours scattered on clothes that were made for the great outdoors.
Perhaps the most anticipated collection this season was Raf Simons’ first menswear collection co-designed with Miuccia Prada. The 42-minute long presentation saw models dancing, Miuccia declaring her hate for pinstripes and recognisable Raf Simons staples appearing with triangular Prada plaques. Since their womenswear debut, the two designers seem to have landed on common ground and have perfected their joint take on the new Prada uniform. Both parties were equally represented, which made the collection feel complete and not fragmented.
Prada AW21 was filled with your archetypical geometric Prada patterns, minimalist tailoring which this season featured sleeves pulled up to shoulders and pristine outerwear combined with signature Raf Simons oversized bomber jackets, larger than life knits and wide-leg trousers. The bright pops of contrasting colours on the bomber jackets in army green, bright purple and pink gave the collection room to breathe before taking on a range of dark cocoon coats featuring large silver coin buttons. The undeniable highlight of the collection was the bright yellow phlox corduroy coat which underlines Simons’ interest in experimental fabrics and not to mention their attempt to convert the long john into a fashion staple, which may come as a surprise, but worked perfectly as it was constructed in the finest wools around.
Silvia Venturini Fendi is done with uninspiring lockdown outfits, for her AW21 collection the designer went all out on luxurious comfort and Italian flair – with a dash of humour. The 45-look collection featured your Fendi regulars like all the luxurious fabrics you can think of, a play on their logo and baguette bags, only these were micro-sized, proving that micro bags are not over just yet.
The collection was filled with wit and subtle references to our lives in lockdown. Duvet-padded trousers, coats and shirts took centre stage only to be juxtaposed with sleek Italian suits which featured contrast piping details that could easily remind you of your least attractive pyjama set. Noel Fielding from The Great British Bake Off and The Mighty Boosh also contributed to the collection this year with his cursive take on the Fendi logo, which was displayed in bright neon colours across one of their many boxy coats this season. The collection was set in warm tones of caramel and cream, paralleled with cool greys and not to mention the Fendi power rangers that closed the show in monochrome padded looks in shades of yellow, pink, orange and blue. Fendi’s menswear collection pleasantly surprised and gave everyone watching something to laugh about.
For his AW21 collection, Ross reminds his audience why they love A-Cold-Wall* with brand staples such as technical trousers, relaxed tailoring and a dose of tactile workwear pieces. A-C-W* is architecture and clothes merged into one, which is evident through Ross’ abrupt inserts of panels, contrasting fabrics and textures. With hues of navy, asphalt black and white partnered with accents of mustard, glacier blue and cobalt, the designer taps into what has worked for them through the years, intelligent design in soothing colours. The collection also featured their new Mackintosh collaboration, fusing the expertise of the two parties into a selection of contempo outerwear.
The most striking look in the collection is not the most intricate, nor is it the one that makes you look for hidden references that are too deep or too complex to fully understand. It’s a cream coloured ribbed set featuring a wide-leg trouser and a matching henley shirt. This is simplicity at its finest and it’s most definitely inspired by Ross’ love for Homme Plissé Issey Miyake. The cream coloured rib-knit set works as a host and a subtle reminder that the essence of Samuel Ross as a designer lives within his collections.
Jeremy Scott isn’t afraid of pushing concepts and his own creativity to the absolute limit and AW21 was no exception for the American designer. For AW21, Scott expressed clear signs of a designer who’s rupturing with creativity, his hunger for creative expression can be felt throughout his collection which consisted of full ensemble trompe l’oeil painted suits, tailored coats and workwear uniforms in screeching colours of cerulean blue, lemon yellow and bubblegum pink. Set in what appeared to be backdrops from classic Hollywood movies, the designer (thankfully) opted for a more traditional way of exhibiting a 2-dimensional lookbook, stripped from awkward props and frivolous editing, the collection took centre stage in all its glory.
What the collection lacked in texture was easily overshadowed by Scott’s clever way of splicing mega-oversized proportions with uplifting inserts of figure-hugging Italian tailoring, this dynamic created balance amongst the 28 looks. Wearing paintings is something several designers have attempted before, like Victor & Rolf’s memorable AW15 couture collection, however, this collection felt like the masculine counterpart to the scribble collection he did for SS19 womenswear. With his long, Edvard Munch-like strokes, Jeremy Scott embraced art, fashion, suppressed creativity and tailoring all in one collection.
Lorenzo Zurzolo from Star on Netflix graced Walter Chiapponi AW21 presentation for Tod’s. Through the video presentation titled #SevenT, the brand played with the idea of creating weekly wardrobes ranging from casual, but put together looks to tactile ensembles made for the outdoors. Shot at Villa Ronchi in the Lombardy region of Italy, the brand embraced its key signifiers, timeless luxury and elegance through houndstooth tailoring and outerwear paired with thick tweed suits.
1970s movie heartthrobs were clearly an inspiration for Chiapponi this season, not only is Lorenzo Zurzolo a movie star on the rise, but the looks brought back memories of classic Hollywood film studs who would dress in timeless pieces like seen in Tod’s AW21 collection to underline their own classiness. Padded coats and wellies paired with huge leather tote bags in shades of cognac and cream created a great contrast in the 18-look collection that neatly balanced fabrics like cashmere, corduroy and the finest Italian leather. Chiapponi didn’t take any major risks this season, but that isn’t saying it wasn’t beautiful. Timeless elegance and countryside looks are what Tod’s specialise in and for AW21 it was executed to perfection.
Written by Madeleine Holth for Perfect Magazine