Menswear trends from the Spring/Summer 2020 shows
The menswear collections for the Spring/Summer 2020 recently presented in London, Florence, Milan and Paris showcased 10 main trends, confirming the return to a classic, tailored wardrobe, albeit one reinterpreted with more of a free, relaxed mood, advocating an unencumbered style both in the literal and figurative sense. The other major thread running through the fashion weeks is that clothes increasingly need to be designed with heatwaves in mind, as the impact of climate change looms.
1) Suits and bare chests
Suits remain the mainstay of men’s wardrobes. Especially check suits, one of which must feature in every gentleman’s closet. For summer 2020 though, suits are sporting a more relaxed attitude with their destructured cuts, and are made in lightweight fabrics, including nylon. Designers have showcased them in saturated colour-block hues (red, electric blue, pink etc.) or in watery, faded shades like a very pale, almost icy green or blue. The ultimate chic is wearing a suit over a bare chest, although some streetwear aficionados cannot avoid slipping their sweatshirt under a formal jacket.
Riding this grand return to a more classic wardrobe, ties will be the must-wear accessory for next summer. They will however be worn in more of a laid-back fashion: with no knot to speak of, like a scarf, sideways, or featured in unexpected materials and patterns, such as Acne Studio’s transparent plastic ties.
3) Military-style camouflage
Are men going on the defensive, or are they preparing for future battles? The trend for military-inspired outfits has been thriving for several seasons, and is back in force for summer 2020, as shown by the plethora of khaki cotton items and gold-buttoned officer jackets. Especially popular are camo prints and textures, a real source of inspiration for designers, who often reinterpreted them in an arty, bucolic fashion, blending flowers and foliage.
4) Tie-dye revisited
Fluidity is the distinctive feature of all the collections, making tie-dye patterns, which began to emerge in the last few seasons, increasingly directional, in line with the clothes’ faded colour palette and flowing style. But it is a case of tie-dye revisited: the effects aren’t as pronounced as those of 1970s hippy/bohemian clothes, they are more consistent with the camo and shifting colours themes which characterise this season’s menswear collections. Tie-dye garments were also presented in fabrics other than the usual silk or cotton.
In recent seasons, a handful of long man-dresses popped up here and there, and now they are entering men's wardrobes in some style. By and large discreetly, in the guise of tunics slipped over a pair of trousers, although, owing to the warmer temperatures, dresses are increasingly worn by themselves, quite unselfconsciously. Djellabas, shirt-dresses and even oversize polos, as proposed by Vetements, are now fully accepted as part of the unisex vogue which emerged in the last couple of years.
6) Cross-body man-bags
Keen on comfortable clothes that allow utter ease of movement, men want to feel unencumbered: glasses cases, wallets, man-bags and messenger bags must now be worn slung over the shoulder, cross-body or at the end of a chain dangling from the neck. Bum bags are also going strong, featured in extra-large sizes this season. As for cross-body man-bags, they also come in matching sets with shirts or jackets, as in the very pretty models shown by Valentino and MSGM.
7) Nylon trousers
Summer is going to be sizzling hot and clothes in ultra-light, high-tech fabrics abound. Wind-breakers are ubiquitous. Driven by a yearning for freedom and flight, men are keen to wear them in all occasions, floating around the body like parachutes or spinnakers. Other items too are now featured in colourful nylon fabrics, sometimes transparent and increasingly light-weight: jackets, shirts, shorts and especially nylon trousers, seen in countless collections, also in overtrousers mode.
8) Jungle-style exoticism
Torrid climes are also reflected in printed fabrics evoking far-flung lands, featuring flowers of often Oriental inspiration and beasts straight out of the savannah and the jungle. Leopard-print motifs are absolutely everywhere, sometimes alternating with zebra or tiger stripes. The same goes for flowers in hot, shimmering colours, as well as palms and other exotic plants. Designers have blended all these different influences, often with an artistic flair, applying them on fabrics with bold brushstrokes.
9) Openwork knitwear
Whether in undershirt or pullover version, next summer's knitwear will be strictly openwork. To beat the heatwave of course, but also to add a sexy, sensual element to menswear.
10) Never without my beach towel
A sign of the times and the very warm temperatures that could hit our planet in a few years, summer menswear is increasingly focusing on light-weight outfits, when not on bare skin. Cue the spate of bare-chested silhouettes seen on the catwalks, and the plethora of swimsuits and underpants. In this spirit, beach towels become a key accessory, often morphing into a sarong or loincloth (Dolce & Gabbana, Ludovic de Saint Sernin). At Pal Zileri, a beach towel is worn in lieu of trousers for the evening, under a jacket in white damask silk. At Lanvin, it transforms into a terry dress.
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