6 Trends Straight From Fashion Week Mens Spring 2020 Shows
Gigi Hadid, Vittoria Ceretti and Grace Elizabeth might not be the first names that come to mind when someone says “Menswear Spring 2020”, but after this season’s shows, it’s clear to see that the former rigidity of a “menswear” show is truly starting to crack. Women walking the shows for menswear designers, in men’s clothing for that matter, is in some ways a disruption of what we once knew as Fashion Week Mens, but in other ways, it’s a sign of the times, perhaps the pursuit for equalizing the genders in fashion. It’s no surprise nowadays to see women rocking fabulous suit jackets, slacks and sneakers, but can androgynous style be just as well received in the opposite direction? It seems that that is the main question that menswear designers have focused on for this season: what does it mean to dress a certain gender and why should we dress one gender differently from another? In today’s world of rapidly expanding gender identities and expressions, designers are embracing the diversity of modernity. Why shouldn’t a man feel free to wear a dress as a woman is to wear a tuxedo?
To answer these questions, many designers seem to have studied traditionally effeminate male figures from a variety of former eras, but in particular, I noticed a focus on the 60’s this season. It’s a dash of bohemian mixed with a hint of dandy and a touch of the rebellious, sexually fluid men in the era of civil rights. My assumption in that choice is that designers want to usher in a softer kind of man to walk their runways. Rather than a typical Chad-like figure, all done up in a suit and tie, or a Bond-esque knight sporting a buzzed head and tuxedo, designers seem to be crafting unexpected heroes: the rebels, the artists, the children, etc. Overall, the direction of Spring 2020 seems to be on transparency, softness, a respect for the Earth, and a push towards being bolder, braver and more comfortable with not adhering to a strict guideline for what a man “has” to be.
American Ballerina James B. Whiteside Opened the Thom Browne Show in tricolor lipstick and custom Thom Browne tutu and pointe shoes, challenging preconceived notions of masculinity and athleticism. Image via
I must also note how glad I am that Menswear week seems to have borrowed and shared its inspiration with many of the heroes from international pride festivals around the world. I really felt like designers were looking to a community that means so much to the industry and trying to include stories of acceptance, love and pride into their collections. In pursuing a change in how we perceive men, I really do believe that fashion is making a move towards the advocation of acceptance, accepting men of all backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities. Moving forward, I hope to see a larger push for more diversity in size inclusivity, as even I am starting to get bored of seeing only tall, slender men strut down the catwalk.
And so, I bring to you the trends for Spring 2020 Mens.
Where florals fall short of groundbreaking, the gardening trend blossoms in its place. In the ongoing struggle to find balance between traditional menswear and non-threatening masculinity, it seems that designers have landed on this nostalgic trend. Mixing earthy jumpsuits and boilers with straw hats and boots, menswear brands are trying to find a stable combination of masculine tailoring and flamboyant personality. From Fendi’s khaki sets with baskets of clipped flowers and gardening shears to Jacquemus’ lavender paved catwalk in Provence, it seems that brands around the world are trying to cultivate a new kind of man: a domestic, hardworking, pastoral figure with a sensitive soul and a basket full of fresh flowers. Now that’s groundbreaking.
The modern man should be prepared for anything and everything, and they of course must be able to carry anything they need, but the question is, in what bag? It seems that, looking forward, brands foresee the modern man carrying his phone (among other gadgets) on his person, in this utilitarian take on maximum storage. Pockets are getting larger and more plentiful to help today’s man carry everything he needs. From Prada’s tank-top pouches to Louis Vuitton’s utility vest (complete with a monogrammed box kite carrier!) we’ve seen so many designers expanding how much we can really carry with us.
Finally some color! I was beginning to fear that color was dead in the menswear circuit, but thankfully we’ve gotten quite a lot of it this spring and I am not mad in the slightest. Optimistic, vibrant, and powerful, neon colors continue to have the same effect now as in the 80’s. I think that my favorite vision of neon had to come from the house of Craig Green who showed intricate cut out jumpsuits in a rainbow of lime greens, magentas and chartreuses. I must also cite Iceberg’s James Long who released fabulous neon suits that I hope to see more of in the future, it certainly makes workwear so much more vibrant for summer. The sunny seasons sure seem much more colorful, which will hopefully cut through the blues of winter to reveal a fabulous rainbow for spring.
Borrowing from a popular womenswear trend, menswear designers are showing it all with this season’s hot ticket item: the sheer top. When I first started seeing this trend pop up on runways, I definitely interpreted it as an attempt to bring a major fashion item from the queer subculture into mainstream fashion. For houses where the queer community plays such an important role, such as with Palómó Spain and Versace, it’s interesting to see the incorporation of such an iconic look; with Pride month coinciding with Menswear month, the inclusion of transparent clothing seems to be an attempt to encourage men to be bolder with their choices, literally to put themselves out there for the world to see. It’s certainly a trend that can go quite minimal but also quite flamboyant, but regardless it’s certain to make quite the statement. Hopefully, the trend will also make waves in encouraging men to be more transparent with themselves and with those around them!
Stars in Stripes
While I initially overlooked this stripes trend, I couldn’t help but wonder why we saw so many stripy looks this season. It wasn’t just striped tees or pinstripe suits, but rather full head-to-toe striped ensembles done in ways I could never imagine. When you think about it, stripes are a classically masculine trend, used to highlight the broadness and longness of the male form, but when designers overuse them as they have this season, it seems like they’re drawing attention to how that trend is being subverted. I look to a house like Chalayan, who combined stripes with loose tailoring to bring emphasis to a more feminine cut on men’s normally square body, or to a further extent, Thom Browne, who created striped paniers à la Marie Antoinette to really accentuate a motion towards acceptance of femininity in a macho-centric aesthetic. It seems like in many ways, the trend that was once associated with bolstering masculinity is now being used to subvert it, and that, to me, is something that can’t be overlooked.
I’m shuddering writing about this trend, but unfortunately, despite my personal preference, it seems to have reared it’s head on this season’s runways. As an all-black-ensemble enthusiast, my kryptonite is anything tie-dye or acid wash; perhaps it’s due to my lack of camp activities as a child or my penchant for graphite and sharpie over colored pencil, but I could never get into such a chaotic aesthetic; however, I think it’s for that reason the trend is so popular. Chaos, disorder, disruption, it’s all about making an impact for today’s man and that’s what acid wash does: it makes an impact. Whether it’s MSGM’s beachy take on the trend or S.R. Studio’s fabulous freshman collection of acid wash…everything…this disorderly look seems inescapable, confusing, but equally as hypnotic, thrilling and delicious, like a true acid trip gone right.