Menswear’s pendulum has continued its big swing away from logo-encrusted streetwear and back into the humble work-life wardrobe, as the latest run of shows appear to find footing between realism and romance.
In many ways the Menswear Fall Winter 2024 season revealed itself as a study in archetypal dressing; like Prada’s 9-to-5ers, Dior’s ballet crew or Louis Vuitton’s wild westerners. According to FW24, new versions of masculinity can be found in iterations of office tailoring, outdoor survivalwear, glamorous dandy outfitting and Americana. Among the among the romance of glittering tanks, slipper-soft flats and bob caps, the Mens FW24 Paris and Milan shows also ushered in neckties, strict tailoring and hard-working weather-bound wardrobes — real clothes to accommodate the whims of the modern man and his immediate world.
In response to the oversaturation of online trend culture, the FW24 runways largely saw the watering down of extreme cosplay to offer real-life contexts for its intended audiences. It was explicitly more about the clothes.
Jonathan Anderson helped define the relentlessness of one-off digital trends, describing it as “the algorithm of masculinity”. His Loewe show aimed to escape the “leveling out”, or flatlining of desire that’s happened as result of the ubiquity of social media.
Elsewhere, Sabato De Sarno for Gucci continued his vast departure from Alessandro Michele’s reign, repeating looks from his womenswear collection in what he describes as a “mirroring”. Stone Island featured 54 models but only 10 looks, and DSquared2 cast twins to present a grunge and glam version of the same look. Loewe and Junya Wantanabe showed ready-to-go outfitting with the fusion of jackets, pants and knits to form new ways of considering outerwear.
For winter, puffed-up skiwear, large proportions in coats and grand shoulder silhouettes were extended almost to the point of ludicrousness — but there is a certain art in layering outerwear on outerwear; lessons that can be learned from Issey Miyake, Lemaire, Rick Owens and Yohi Yamamoto. All sorts of fair isle prints and cable textures appeared on statement knitwear, jackets and cardigans in a number of collections including Sacai, Wales Bonner and Emporio Armani. Full monochrome looks were popular and refined from Lemaire, Valentino and Zegna while greys and browns supported contrasting colour accents at Prada, Dries Van Noten, Auralee.
And, as always, hard data has the last word — according to runway image aggregator Tagwalk, across the most influential brands, there was a 285% increase in ties on the runway, a 153% increase in raincoat-style outerwear, 52% more fluffy and furry textures, and a 59% decline in oversized tailoring.
Here, we shake down thousands of looks into tangible trends.
Sharp urban tailoring with a twist dominated the suiting scene, contrasted with light and bright knits at Prada and paired with mini briefcases at Fendi. Givenchy and Gucci went cinched and shirtless, and Hermes topped off suits with a sparkle, offering a more androgynous edge to after-dark tailoring.
The Worker Jacket
Appearing to do the rounds again, the commercial viability of the weathered working jacket makes it a cross-cultural and cross-occupational winner. The simple, clean lines and generous cut of the elevated chore jacket can be universally worn in its signature mushroom, grey and beige palette with contrasting collar. Cropped and more feminine at Dior, with raincoat energy at Fendi, this is one jacket that will be hard to ignore this autumn. And don’t forget your Louis Vuitton Timberlands to go with it.
The Dandy Cardigan
Charming, wearable and easily layer-able. The enduring nature of the slimline cardigan has made its way back into the menswear vernacular, notably with matching knitwear at Hermes, pared with slacks and collars at Fendi, and with Prada’s hybrid suit-sweatpants in loud clashing colours.
Don’t call it a gorpcore revival (yet), especially where Rick Owens is concerned. The anti-trend crusader leaned into the intolerance of the world at large to offer inflatable footwear, fuzzy astronaut suits and capes fit for the apocalypse. Many brands weren’t far behind with their weather-prone, earth-bound outfitting set to camouflage into the shapes of nature itself.
As luxury fashion turns to everyday pieces for real-life contexts over microtrends, where does this leave the consumer? Is Prada a compelling enough drawcard to swap out your Carhartt jacket? Will adventurists be buying their outdoor gear from Sacai or Patagonia? Timberlands from Louis Vuitton or Wales Bonner? Keep an eye on that data, your customers will let you know where they’d rather buy their work boots this season.