The first menswear shows of Fall 2021 were underway this past week in Paris, offering a glimpse of a post-covid sartorial world (if you’re optimistic). Coalescing classic menswear silhouettes and sharp tailoring with surreal and flamboyant textures and prints, the future of men’s fashion, and fashion, in general, hangs in the balance. Whilst some designers opted for unbridled exuberance in the face of the turmoil du monde, others chose austere minimalism.
Luke and Lucie Meier’s Autumnal offering for Jil Sander was necessarily pared back and utilitarian. Expressed through the Meiers’ puritanicism, the present moment inspired a collection resolutely expressed through tactility, simplicity and a certain air self-protection.
There’s a sterility, too, in the designers output for Autumn 21′, perhaps inspired by the incessant handwashing of the past 11 months, or rather, maybe, by the feeling of isolation and stillness that has permeated the mundanity of lockdown orders across the globe. Indeed, times of desparation can still produce beauty.
JW Anderson’s Autumn 21′ menswear output is decidedly non-sensical, and well, rather humorous. Drawing upon the idea of a “reality check”, Anderson riffs on the imaginary and the illusionary, exaggerating proportions and incorporating strange and surreal motifs.
Straight-faced models don oversized outerwear, while pants extend laterally in pleats that seem to be escaping from the garment. Metallics are juxtaposed alongside plaids, sherpa and luxe suede jackets are paired with orange and brown checkerboard prints and shirts are smattered in a plethora of neon feathers. Fashion hasn’t looked this fun since, well, since 2020.
The grim reality of the past year would have been the perfect fodder for a brand like A Cold Wall with it’s durable industrial textiles and sleek neutral palettes, but Samuel Ross took a different turn for his Autumn 21′ Menswear offering.
Instead, however, the designer has relaxed. “This is a collection based on making really, really good product,” Ross reflects. “I want people to be able to take things that they see on the runway and have them be wearable.” Sometimes, in the midst of uncertainty, pragmatism is king.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons first runway presentation together was about feelings, not narrative. Opting to stir sensations, the menswear collection was dominated by a singular garment in the form of a knit patterned long john. Revealing the architecture of the body whilst also completely insulating it, the knit was rendered in everything from argyle and plaid to houndstooth and modernist inspired geometric patterns. On top? An array of sleeve-hoiked suiting, oversized nylon parkas with jacquard linings, rib-hemmed oversized bombers, topcoats and high-collared, lapel-less peacoats. Raf and Miuccia are a match made in heaven.
Cody is the Editor in Chief and senior contributor at liminul.
He is a photography aficionado, fashion enthusiast, avid Lana Del Rey fan, and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.