From classic suits in predictable tinges to oversized military-style ensembles - Spring/Summer 2017 menswear is not about design ingeniuousness. It is about making safe bets in a time of anxiety
By: Dimitria Vitanova
Posted on: June 28, 2016
As uncertainty creeps deeper into the fashion industry of late, many maisons seem to eschew unmeasured risk. Their creative caution glares in the spring/summer 2017 menswear collections that just debuted in the world’s vogue meccas. Unlike previous presentations, this season prompted little rumble. Or, in other words, the loudest buzz did not sound around the creations, themselves, but drilled on how brands are responding to the ongoing calls for change.
Probably the best description of the men’s garbs for the upcoming hot season comes from New York Time’s Matthew Schneier, who in a recent article referred to the newest lines as “evolution over revolution.” In a time when an ever-growing legion of labels are mulling over the adoption of the see-now/buy now approach as well as over the unification of their men’s and women’s ready-to-wear shows (with Gucci, Astrid Andersen and Balmain and a few others already having taken the initial strides in that direction), others are opting for a gap season to allow for their newly appointed creative directors to take a better grip at the reigns.
And yet all appear to play safe, revisiting and tweaking designs that have already proven to be trendsetters and sale boosters. Even Gucci’s Alessandro Michele did not stray from his now trademark vintage eclecticism and Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia remained quite conventional, despite his disruptor repute. LuxuryFacts dissects seven trends set to hold sway in the men’s wardrobe of spring/summer 2017 – flashbacks of the recent past with some tiny shafts of novelty. This is not necessarily deplorable, though. Constant revolutions are simply unsustainable, at best, and totally ruinous, at worst.
The Great Outdoors
The runways of spring/summer 2017 raced outdoors, with sport and travel dominating collections’ overall themes. Moncler Gamme Blue and Prada apparently prepare for a season of hiking and camping. The former stresses on oversized, dull-green ensembles, while the latter prefers colorful, layered adventure looks. Although in the same squad, Gucci and Versace allow only for simple and sensible raincoats. Angela Missoni, inspired by her adolescent family journey to Guatemala, also joins the hype for en-plein air thrills. Her renditions, however, appear more safari-ready than fiesta-friendly. In a dazzling amalgam of references and styles, Dolce & Gabbana altogether ventures on a sporty track with its glitzy varsity jerseys. The outside truly beckons.
The Ever-Trendy Suit
In the fashion universe, there are few garments better entrenched and more revered than a fine men’s suit. This season, labels of all stripes turn to the iconic wardrobe-must with both a nod and a wink. It is not simply about the conventional, flattering cuts and hues that reign at Canali or the dark, down-to-business aesthetics at Versace. Creative frivolity has spouted bold reinterpretations, like Balenciaga’s dichotomy of seemingly slender outlines and overly broad shoulders, offset by excessively elongated silhouettes. True to its now celebrated erasure of hard masculinity, Gucci does not venture beyond body-hugging rowing blazers and matching pants of romantic, over-detailed proportions. Balmain and Bottega Veneta follow suit.
The Ultimate Finish: the Manbag
For spring/summer 2017, nothing seems to embellish a look better than a manbag – hues and forms matter little. Slung, strapped or clutched, they are labels’ cherished accessory. Givenchy complemented its droopy, rather militant looks with unobtrusive satchels of the same design but in disparate color combos. While Prada mounts touristy rucksacks that catch the eye as much as the garb they correspond to, Bottega Veneta spices up its rather meek menswear with coquettish briefcases and even edgy clutches. Balmain, Valentino, Etro, Fendi, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton among others also carry pouches of various shapes and styles.
Speaking of appurtenances, bags are hardly alone. In fact, several forward-thinking brands have rummaged the women’s closet for statement final touches. And yet, that move comes as no shock, considering that androgyny is no longer a ground-breaking, eyebrow-raising term. Not surprising to its gender-effacing philosophy, Gucci ties coy black ribbon chokers, which Louis Vuitton also borrows. Lanvin toys with the idea of minimalistic, feminine necklaces, as well. With a bow to its creative director, Demna Gvasalia’s inventiveness at Vetements, Balenciaga slips into high-heeled boots that easily tread between the utterly womanly and firmly manly. Vivienne Westwood goes a notch further with droopy, sporty tunics that could effortlessly reside in anyone’s wardrobe.
The blithe outliers like Gucci, Vivienne Westwood and Dolce & Gabbana aside – and in a swirl of zesty hues, spring/summer 2017 promises to be quite somber. Jet black, earthen puce and droll green define the color scheme. Givenchy, Dries van Noten and Valentino stir them all in camo splotches, while Emporio Armani stays just a stroke away from monochrome, with subdued deep-ocean blue sweeping most of its crisp-cut creations. The occasional pops of brightness most notably come in Balenciaga’s head-to-toe crimson suits, Dior Homme’s red highlights, Balmain’s denim-on-denim as well as jungle-vivid outfits and Bottega Veneta’s rose pink and sunflower yellow ensembles.
Colors might generally swing toward the dull and stringent, but the occasional burst of eye-popping patterns and motifs bring out the cheer for the next hot season. It is an eclectic mix – from flowers to pop characters to music instruments to fruits. From tamely geometric to lushly realistic, blossoms bloom over shirts, shorts and coats in Gucci and Fendi. And while the latter halts the extravagance here, the former blows it up to a magpie collection of natural and cultural prints. Even Donald Duck gives the thumb up front and central on a knitted cardigan. Prada goes equal parts delicious and exotic with tiny bananas, watermelons and pineapples amid sombreros and elephants. Missoni takes a flight with birds-of-paradise on semi-translucent tops, while Dolce & Gabbana meshes flora, fauna and pop culture on almost every single inch of fabric.
Show and/or Hide
The prime query of spring/summer 2017 pits skin-tight against oversized. Some houses have firmly made their minds – Armani, Dries Van Noten, Lanvin and Etro opt for baggy designs, which Moncler and Raf Simons grow even larger and bulkier and somewhat uncharacteristic for the hot season. Others straddle both extremes – Maison Margiela, Dior Homme and Vivienne Westwood alternate between curves-bearing and insecurities-concealing silhouettes. Witty and cheeky, Balenciaga pairs its excess-fabric renditions with considerably slimmer counterparts.