AW21 MENSWEAR PART 3: SUBDUED LUXURY AND THE HUNT FOR CREATIVITY IN UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

In times of chaos and turmoil, fashion has a unique way of creating silence through simplicity, timeless form and quality over quantity. This proved to be the case for the final designers in the menswear round-up this season. Simple and familiar forms went through an overhaul with designers like Y/Project, Jil Sander and Junya Watanabe rethinking modern classics whilst Comme des Garçons Homme Plus and Loewe looked to finding creativity in unprecedented times and teenage angst. Influencer reels also appeared to have made it to the runway this season, with looks that appeared to be thrown on and pulled off the models on the runway of Y/Project. 


Y/Project

Glenn Martens was named creative director of Diesel late last year but this proved not to have had an impact on his co-ed AW21 collection for Y/Project. The collection was filled to the rim with your predictable Y/Project signifiers, classic silhouettes that metamorphosed into new shapes, coiling around the models’ bodies as they galloped down the empty show venue. The collection saw the return of the Canada Goose collaboration, this time in shapes of winter-friendly gowns made for arctic trekking in style. 

The collection was cast in calm and earthy tones like navy, brown and greige. The collection also included a collaboration with Melissa on a range of Cinderella-esque shoes in plastic. Martens put all his eggs in the outerwear basket for AW21; what stood out the most was the asymmetric wool coats with lapels across the chest, which looked like the coat had been thrown on the body of the model. Is the designer taking cues from influencer reels? Perhaps.

Comme des Garçons Homme Plus

For AW21, Rei Kawakubo taps into an ever so familiar thought; finding creativity in the midst of chaos and darkness. The 33-look collection was predominantly cast in shades of white, black and grey underlining Kawakubo’s theme and name of the collection this season which was “Darkroom”. Kawakubo’s obsession with light and darkness continues for AW21, but this season felt more personal and relatable in terms of the zeitgeist. 

Negative prints of trumpet-shaped floral prints in green were partnered with one of the collaborations this season, New Jersey-based artist Willie Cole’s art which could be seen on printed garments, as well as his upcycled shoes used as antlers for the headpieces this season. The hearts of sneakerheads on social media also skipped a beat this season, with the forthcoming CDG x Nike collaboration, the notoriously uncomfortable, but strikingly beautiful, Nike Foamposite signed Rei Kawakubo.

Jil Sander

Luke and Lucie Meier shot their collection presentation in the jaw-dropping Château de Franconville in the northern region of Paris. The grainy, Lynch-esque film saw models navigating their way through the Château dressed in classic Jil Sander savoire faire. The minimalist collection portrayed industrial boots and medical-inspired coats as the latest fashion with its thick leather and glossy finishes. The true champion of Jil Sander AW21 was undoubtedly the jewellery, minimalist link necklaces with “Mother” spelt out juxtaposed with full chest plate-like necklaces in silver decorated the decolletage and stole the spotlight this season. 

Hues of black, lemon, grey and cream reigned high and boy scout neckerchiefs were used as accents in the 37-look collection. Pristine tailoring and cloud-like knits underlined what everyone is thinking this season, less fashion and more wearable clothes without an expiration date. 

Loewe

Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe collection for AW21 consisted of two sides, quite literally. Half of the collection that was presented in a bound book format was produced from the company’s Eye/Loewe/Nature team. For this season, Anderson tapped into teenage angst with a collection that featured this season’s most covetable goth leather trousers, adorned with lacing, buckles and straps; these trousers popped up on several occasions, proving that this is the next it-item for the Loewe client. 

This season, Loewe also embarked on a collaboration with Joe Brainard on a series of pansy flowers and writings, the latter will be re-published in book format and sold for charity. Hopping between the more sustainable collection and his ready to wear, Anderson strengthens the idea of dressing up in times of crisis by keeping a finger on the zeitgeist and offering a collection filled with hope, power staples and vibrancy.

Junya Watanabe Man

This season for Junya Watanabe Man, the Japanese power brand roamed through the history of outerwear, looking for ways to perfect and reinvent timeless classics. Nothing was as it seemed: coats were sewn on top of other coats and panels were inserted, resulting in a collection jam-packed with spliced classics. Shetland knits were recontextualised as coats this season next to print detailing from Loyle Carner’s ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ song lyrics. 

The preppy-cum-Japanese avantgardist collection also featured a range of collaborations this season, with Stepney Workers Club shoes, Mühlbauer hats, Il Bisonte bags, Carhartt jackets and Levi’s jeans. Through collaboration and recontextualisation, Junya Watanabe Man offers an innovative take on classic pieces of clothing in unprecedented times with a dash of Japanese workwear aesthetics.

Written by Madeleine Holth for The Perfect Magazine

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