Changes just don’t happen in menswear. Although the runway usually conveys an extreme reality, the truth is most men won’t wear runway-ready apparel day-to-day. Most gentlemen keep their wardrobes on a steady course and update it with singular items. It’s not practical to invest in exquisite tailoring and fabrications only to find that it’s out of style six months down the road. So, it’s no surprise that the men’s spring collections are doubling down on enduring style — the previously coined term “normcore” — for 2018.
Brands like Hermès and Brunello Cucinelli have always banked on the stability of the classics. At their cores, they sell pieces that stand the test of time. Season after season, they produce gentlemen’s go-to items, which let the man take center stage not the clothing.
Hermès kept the classics classic with 1950s, Leave-it-to-Beaver flair at its Paris show. Trousers went baggy and were worn with varsity jackets. Anoraks and oversized slickers gave a practical component to looks. Often Hermès shows an uber-luxe crocodile jacket and this season was no exception; two versions of the jacket came in cardamom and matte black. The palette of cinnamon, golds and browns gave an autumn air to the show even though sandals were worn throughout.
Brunello Cucinelli created a fashion universe based on the Italian lifestyle. Not interested in the runway to present its world, the brand opts for a look-book. This time around, Brunello Cucinelli mixed sporty vibes with separates. Tennis sweaters under linen suits and sneakers and Birkenstocks give a casual tone to these luxury pieces. At its core, the brand is renowned for weekend wear of CEOs and titans of industry. If you’re looking to update, the one must-have item is a pair of suede kicks in a pearl grey, like these from Brunello Cucinelli. But, no need to give up last spring’s white kicks; they are still looking strong and lend a casual attitude to linen suits.
The menswear message for spring 2018 definitely is stay the course; you can’t go wrong by adding a touch of modernity to the classics, but be sure to add a pair of kicks.
Wearing the Pants
Women’s pantsuits have a storied past. In the 1920s, pants were all but outlawed for women, who just didn’t wear them. In the 1930s Katharine Hepburn defiantly wore high-waist trousers with “man-ish” shoes and was called “strong-willed” for her unconventional clothing choices. When Hepburn was a child, she dressed like a boy because to her, boys were able to have more fun and she wanted to join in. As she grew into adulthood, her style became iconic and represented women of strength and resolve.
Today, Hepburn’s rebellious fashion sense lives on. Although pantsuits are not revolutionary, they are very relevant considering the “MeToo” movement of late 2017 and early 2018. Hillary Clinton was an unwitting fashion influencer when she wore pantsuits as an equalizer to the male candidates, she ran against in the 2016 election in order to keep the public’s focus on the issues instead of her wardrobe. Her pantsuits became a rallying cry for women.
This spring’s fashion options were not available to Hepburn in her heyday, but many luxury brands and fashion houses are capitalizing on the ubiquitous suiting concept. From the magpie masculinity of Gucci’s hot pink three-button jacket and pants to Kiton’s more traditional and super-luxe suit, pants are everywhere on the runway. Dior did it in patchwork denim with a 70s vibe and added a double-breasted jacket.
The silhouettes are big, and the fabrics are sumptuous at the Italian brand Agnona. At the spring show, models wore balloon-leg trousers — very much like Hepburn — paired with a long vest and white t-shirt in soft yellows and shades of dove grey. Tomas Maier’s namesake collection has a wealth of cool-girl options, including bold florals with an athleisure zip jacket and Indian sari-type dresses worn over a soft trouser.
One of the many cultural revolutions that have emerged throughout the last two years is women’s desire for equal treatment in all realms. Pantsuits are fashion’s answer to this cultural occurrence, revamping a commonly worn piece of clothing traditionally associated with men and offering them to women in an array of styles — enough to make Katharine Hepburn proud.