Trendspotting at the recent round of menswear trade shows – Pitti Uomo in Florence, Seek in Berlin and various showrooms in Paris – the worlds of classic Italian tailoring, contemporary menswear collections and edgy streetwear seemed to merge into one defining Instagram moment. And it may well mark the mid-decade style statement of our Turbulent Teens.
Highlights at Pitti Uomo included Wooster + Lardini, the capsule winter wardrobe offer from menswear savant and streetstyle star, Nick Wooster. ‘It’s classic tailoring with a contemporary twist,’ says Wooster of the perfectly proportioned coats, jackets, trousers and shirts collections made in collaboration with traditional Italian tailoring brand, Lardini’s rich fabrics. In Wooster’s hands, camel coats and plaid suits have new life.
Meanwhile, organisers at Pitti Uomo have recognized that luxury menswear retail is increasingly influenced by streetwear, and the club kids who shop for the latest threads. Welcome then, the new hall, Unconventional – more of a concrete white-washed Brooklyn studio space than designer showroom – to house the new breed of streetwear labels. Here buyers could find a wealth of luxury leather sneaker brands such as Cipher and New York based Hood By Air, that also put on a rather strange, extravagant show (as a guest of Pitti), to showcase its latest range of deconstructed clothing that played on eroticized male body areas such as shoulders or knees.
At its spring/summer 2015 trend briefing, Judd Crane, director of womenswear said that Selfridges is putting more budget than ever into designer streetwear collections, with influential collections such as Moschino, McQ, Hood by Air and Balenciaga defining the category for the UK department store.
In Berlin, the AW15 seasonal fashion week was shaken up by the demise of stalwart trade fair, Bread & Butter. Now instead, a cluster of niche, targeted shows across the city cater to different market sectors – unlike Pitti Uomo that neatly encapsulates them all. One highlight was Seek, a contemporary menswear show that has emerged leader of the pack. Here sportswear, heritage brands, urban and outerwear labels are flocking to be seen by some of the world’s best stores and edgiest magazines. Stand outs included 2XH Brothers for its fluid dark sportswear and Natural Selection for its evolutionary denim and tactile outerwear pieces.
Among the street food trucks, car brand Audi and drinks brand Hendricks also got in on the act, hosting a lounge area and vintage bar respectively.
In particular at Seek, I liked the synergy of Audi’s collaborative workshop studio space that served as a kind of creative inspiration hub where both Audi designers and Seek exhibitors could riff off each other’s creative juices.
‘The space is about having a new type of dialogue with Seek’s influential design-led visitors,’ says Andrea Matthes, head of VIP sales for Audi, Germany. ‘The concept is focused on creativity – both for our design teams who are here to absorb new fabrics, influences and silhouettes, and to encourage the Seek community to consider driving Audi cars,’ he adds.
And in Paris a new era of luxe streetwear is emerging. From Raf Simons’ ongoing fascination with youth culture and his ode to student inauguration attire (hand-written scrawl coats available to order – seen here in the showroom) Designers channeling the current Health Goth (sub req) meme such as Ada + Nik or Blood Brother were showing at Capsule, while the new Wang-era at Balenciaga is fuelling fresh demand for high-end leather bombers and backpacks according to a recent article in the New York Times . Here fashion writer, Matthew Schneider also tips skate influenced Pigalle and OAMC as Paris Fashion Week men’s highlights, that are adding to the luxury retail industry’s new love affair with streetwear.
Finally, a little corner of Tokyo cool can now be found in Paris. 1LDK has opened on rue de La Sourdiere, a stone’s throw from Colette and offers a minimalist take on that classic Japanese mantra: Just Good Design, with er, a cleaning theme. If the launch party is anything to go by, the store will do a good trade on everyday clothes for everyday life; aka streetwear for fashionistos from Ginza to Brooklyn via Paris.