The first post-covid men’s fashion shows, held in New York, London, Milan and Paris, have set the tone for incoming menswear looks. The suit — thought to be dead and buried — resurfaced on the runways, albeit in casual style, while bold colors and zany patterns brought a welcome burst of energy, noticeably missing in the past few months.
How will men be dressing in the coming months? Such is the question that the world’s major fashion houses set out to answer during their spring-summer 2023 shows. After two years marked by a sober, almost aseptic quest for comfort, the menswear wardrobe is regaining some color, driven by a certain nonchalant elegance, along with a healthy dose of fun, not to mention pieces directly inspired by women’s wardrobes.
The suit gets refreshed
No, the suit is not dead. While men have momentarily traded their two-piece — or three-piece — for jeans, cargo pants, joggers and the likes, this menswear essential is on its way back. This time, however, the suit will be more casual than ever — unstructured, even — with loose, sometimes oversized cuts, light materials, and sometimes in styles that are deliberately torn or decorated with various embellishments.
Officine Générale, Louis Vuitton, Y/Project, Dries van Noten, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior Homme and Ermenegildo Zelda are just some of the luxury brands that have unveiled this type of suit. However, others have stuck to more structured and tailored silhouettes. This is the case of Celine, Prada and Mowalola, for example, whose suit styles are much more similar to the kinds worn before the pandemic.
Bare chests and crop tops
But if men are re-embracing the suit — albeit in less traditional cuts — they are ditching shirts, T-shirts and tank tops. Torsos are bared as never before, muscles protruding and flesh flashed with open shirts — but no shiny gold chains — as well as transparent effects, partially closed suits and bathrobes, or even… nothing at all. ALYX, Dsquared2, Emporio Armani, Celine, Marine Serre, Givenchy and Moschino are some of the fashion houses that turned up the heat on the catwalk, clearly setting the tone for the coming months.
But the big news in menswear comes straight from the womenswear wardrobe. A relic of the 2000s, the crop top — which has once again become a must-have in recent years — is now making its way into men’s looks, with variations that are often much more eccentric than their female counterparts. Rick Owens, for example, probably unveiled the skimpiest model in the history of the crop top, looking more like a fabric necklace than an actual top. But the trend is far-ranging, spanning from Moschino to Thom Browne through MSGM. Note that Thom Browne — one of the most avant-garde labels of this fashion month — also presented skirts, including pleated micro mini skirts, as well as a bikini top, all on the men’s catwalk.
(Related: Is the suit dead? Hardly)
With a riot of colors, surrealist works, childhood-inspired patterns, and totally extravagant shapes and cuts… Fashion right now does not — or no longer — takes itself seriously. After two years of pandemic, with its lockdowns and restrictions, it’s clearly time to kick back and have fun, rocking bold, throwback motifs. Almost all designers have showed looks in this vein, with a notable return of flashy or fluorescent colors (Versace, MSGM, Rick Owens), tie-dye patterns (Louis Vuitton, Dsquared2), and prints straight from cartoons or children’s books (Egonlab).
This return to childhood proved particularly striking at Louis Vuitton, with a spectacular suit entirely covered with paper airplanes. That should help pass the time when you’re bored at the office… Bosses be warned!