- Words Yazzi Gokcemen
The menswear autumn/winter showcase sped by but wasn't short of surprises - glitter, drama, boots and more blew up on catwalks.
For industry outsiders, and let’s be real, insiders too, the fashion calendar is frankly a mystery. Being first on the schedule, the menswear autumn/winter showcase – which drew its curtains earlier this week – can pass under our radars. Before attention diverts toward February’s womenswear-focussed month, we feel that a debrief on Paris and Milan’s AW24 men’s fashion weeks is due.
This season featured moments all fashion followers, pop-culture enthusiasts and those considering a style reboot ought to indulge in. But what truly set men’s AW24 apart this time round? Well, it took serious cues from womenswear runways. We aren’t talking skirts instead of trousers, this season was far bolder: bedazzled everything, hosiery for bottoms and concepts centred around archetypes. Versions of performed masculinity were also reinterpreted, like the cowboy (Louis Vuitton), the skater boy (Loewe), the office boy (Prada) and the posh boy (SS Daley). Here’s everything you need to know about AW24.
The Absurd Shoe
An enormous, purposefully impractical and ironically ugly shoe is by now a guaranteed feature of fashion weeks. This season’s craziest paraded the Rick Owens runway. The ‘inflated rubber pull-on stretch boots’ were designed by Straytukay, a 21-year-old Central Saint Martins student. The emerging designer was one of many collaborators Rick worked with on Porteville a collection celebrating creative collectivism. Styled with nearly every look, Straytukay’s jaw-dropping boots mutated and puckered differently on each model. They belong on the moon, certainly in the next Dune film, but hopefully, we’ll spot them popping off (literally) on the streets of Paris too.
The Theatrical Set
This one goes to Prada, for making 9-to-5s cool, somehow. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons delivered a set which hurled the office, with its dull monotonous cycle, into a new ecosystem. First, show-goers entered through a typical office-looking space where monitors showed a Prada screensaver. Then, taking their office chair seats, the guests entered a glass-floored space under which were plants, grass and rocks. The terrarium space was fun, fresh and effective; Raf Simons summed it up, “This idea of echoing surrounding, being influenced by environments in the garments themselves – office and nature, inside and out, the instinctive change of people shifting between these opposite spheres.”
The Flash Trend
Sparkles stole the menswear shows this season, affirming last year’s intuitions that streetwear is out. Glitter, which also trended in womenswear last season, took form on the runways of all illustrious fashion houses in Paris and Milan. Silver sequins elevated suiting at Dior whilst Dsquared2 served gaudier glitz with a track-suit set covered entirely in mirrored disco discs. Elsewhere, Gucci’s recently appointed creative director Sabato de Sarno delivered diamantes for his first Gucci menswear collection. The diamond-encrusted tank tops were a highlight; wife-beater vests, move out the way.
Also on the catwalks and in need of mention were tights, another key trend at women’s fashion week. As seen on JW Anderson’s catwalk, semi-sheer tights were announced as an appropriate alternative to trousers and skirts.
The Divisive Collection
It wouldn’t be Fashion Week without some heated debate. Everyone’s eyes were on Pharrell Williams, who presented his sophomore collection for Louis Vuitton. The theme was cowboys, which initially raised a few eyebrows. Without context, Pharrell’s collection – backdropped by a mountainous desert scene – looked rather costume-like. There were all the Western staples, leather chaps, cow and croc prints, tassels and camel-coloured suits, embossed with the LV monogram and timberland boots, a collaboration which is sure to be a hit.
The LVHM house noted that artists from the Dakota and Lakota tribes – America’s native peoples whom Pharrell was here intending to honour – contributed to accessories, hand painting and embroidering bags which are some of the collection’s best pieces. Explaining his concept, Pharrell said, “When you see cowboys portrayed you see only a few versions. You never really get to see what some of the original cowboys looked like. They looked like us, they looked like me. They looked Black. They looked Native American.”
The Promising Talent
Steven Stokey-Daley, the 27-year-old Liverpudlian designer whose namesake label SS Daley is known for its takes on upper-echelons British culture, stole the show this season. Invited to be one of Pitti Uomo’s guest designers in Florence, Stokey-Daley chose an exquisitely painted renaissance hall as the setting for his storytelling collection to unfold. Tail coats and ruffles, quilted duvet overcoats and knitted tapestries were looks inspired by British upper-class boys school culture. As well as themes exploring class and Queerness, there were nods to Oxford’s era of debaucherous partying, echoing Saltburn and, as noted by S.S Daley, “the time that Boris Johnson was a student.”