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A round up of the men’s Spring 2020 shows

  • From spring blossoms to leopard prints, luxury fashion houses are rethinking what it means to dress like a man
  • Brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Versace and more showcase diverse presentations

The overly-referential designs are a frequent downside for Dior.
The overly-referential designs are a frequent downside for Dior.

Dior goes to the past

Designer Kim Jones used a plaster sculpture on the runway to inspire his architectural show—the artwork by American artist Daniel Arsham spelt out “DIOR" in broken up plaster with jewels glimmering beneath. The metaphor of the jewel provided Dior Man with its theme: Beauty unearthed from the past.

Softly sculpted suits—single and double-breasted, in pale shades—sported long contrasting silken strips that evoked the shading of the real sculptures on the runway.

Stiff, sanitized coats that were A-line and in white referenced the house’s popular saddle bag. The newspaper print used by former designer John Galliano featured on socks, saddle bags and sheer shirts.

The overly-referential designs are a frequent downside for Dior —but Jones ensured he didn’t lose his identity. The strongest looks—like a simple T-shirt with a whoosh of blue watercolour on one shoulder—looked just like Jones exploring his own artistic self.

Paul Smith’s Colour Splash

The ultra-wide shoulders that defined London in the late 1970s were the focus of British fashion icon Paul Smith, who used the exaggerated style in a pared-down collection.

High, retro-looking buttons on a suit jacket also stood out, as did oversized pockets that looked like a separate layer of clothing.

Smith is a master colourist.

For spring, women’s shades included maize, pastel grey, dandelion and baby pink. The men fared just as well in vivid auburn, sage and blood red.

An ochre coat with crimson lining had perhaps the most sumptuous colour combination seen this season.

Versace’s New Sexiness

The looks play on the fashion house’s iconic bondage moment, mixing the shiny leather with more mundane looks, like blazers and jackets. A shimmery leopard men’s top embroidered with Gianni Versace’s signature in silver peeks out of a knit vest, with black trousers and a cross-body bag. Shimmery leopard prints were paired with slim trousers patterned with ancient vases.

“It’s not necessarily about femininity. It is more about the confidence a guy has to express himself in a more flexible way," said head menswear designer Ashley Fletcher.

Racing car motifs symbolized a coming of age. The other repeating motif was the Gianni Versace signature, vertically running on ties and socks.

Louis Vuitton’s Blossoming Boyhood

This season, designer Virgil Abloh’s theme was the blooming flower.

He used it literally in flower-garland accessories and in prints of flower bouquets on loose silk twill shirts or on silk hoodies with a street-wise edge.

But he also used it metaphorically to produce a show that was, at its heart, all about growing up as a boy and developing a personal identity.

“Through the stages of boyhood, young men’s encounter with clothes and fashion is yet to be influenced by societal programming. Our exploration of dress codes is still liberated...of social norms, gender conventions," Abloh explained.

This idea became the springboard for experimentation among the 58 looks.

But while there were plenty of ideas, there was a hollowness to some looks, which seemed aimed more at delivering a forced message than a wearable aesthetic.

Hermes’ Luxuriance

A dash of geometry—through 1980s prints, stripes and checks— spiced up the tasteful luxuriance of the Hermes man. Spring saw styles loosen up. Firstly, this meant loose silhouettes: such as in baggy smoky or gold-brown pants, or in a pink knit sweater with a diagonal stripe. But it was also a looser vibe: with sandals and a half-buttoned, white-coffee-coloured jacket worn on naked skin. Beautiful leather bags furthered the show’s geometric detailing and honed its mastery in colour—with indigo, Prussian blue and black forming the segments on one stand-out design.

Valentino’s Exotic Utopia

Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli crossed frontiers, mixed high and low, and blurred cultural boundaries to bring back an encyclopaedic show.

A brown djellaba, a loose robe traditionally from North Africa’s Maghreb region, appeared on top of a pair of grey sartorial office pants. Camouflage print sneakers capped the look in a clever triple contradiction that is typical of the cerebral Italian designer.

It was a style the house nicely summed up as “exotic utopia".

Combat-style shirts in eye-popping hues created the display’s highest creative point. Piccioli then channelled fantastical landscapes in sporty sweaters featuring luscious prints of trees and oceans. The designer credited the prints to the work of British artist Roger Dean, who applauded from the front row.

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