Menswear can still incorporate elegance.

Let’s leave Y2K aesthetics and microtrends behind

All of us is left wondering about the trends in menswear after viewing the FW22 designs. Are men made in their clothes? When Rosalind McKever delivers the critical text to the JA Projects-produced exhibition in London Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear, she wonders. The exhibition was co-curated by Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever.Contrary to popular belief, myths and traditions that have been overlapping among people for ages continue to be impregnably strongholds over the masculine body and clothes. The vagabond, the salesman, the artist, the architect, and the gallery owner are just a few of the archetypal figures that Virgil Abloh had incorporated into his tourist vs. purist juxtaposition in Louis Vuitton’s FW21 collection. However, today, the concept of elegance continues to be one of the many paths taken by various designers and brands.

Y2K resurgence and lockdown have also splattered feeds and catwalks with a heavy amount of sexuality that hasn’t been seen since Tom Ford at Gucci. Though it is ingrained in everyone’s collective consciousness, to believe that men can do without their formal attire is reductive. The black suit is still very much in evidence, ties are still in style, and formalwear seems to be offering concepts that are radically refreshed. In essence, there is a return to the visual imagery that menswear made us accustomed to, one that doesn’t seek to distort anything and instead seeks to further explore the usefulness and potential of traditional apparel. Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada have created a creative testimony to the numerous ways the classic may be combined. «Many items that seem simple are conceptual choices, like a coat, pants, and dresses. They appear straightforward, but they are the outcome of a process and a decision: why is this coat the best one out of the hundreds available? It combines a protracted design and decision-making process with instinct. It’s a style thing. Following the SS23 collection presentation, Miuccia Prada commented. Raf Simons was also mentioned by the speaker. «The clothes are classic, but their contrasts make them fresh and exciting,» she said. In the mix of the outfits, there is an undercurrent of weirdness and leather against the body is followed by cotton.

A topic that was extensively covered during the Prada FW22 collection presentation in a harsh indictment of casual wear, proposing clothing that “makes people feel important.” Prada revised its interpretation of the classic in the midst of volumes devoted to empowerment and, concurrently, an annulment of the male form (note the emphasis on shoulders and waist). Dior Homme, which maintained its pursuit of delicately modern formal attire with its FW22 collection through a delicate scale of grays and gentle hues, somewhat shared this scenario. Not that Silvia Venturini at Fendi did not accomplish the same thing with her FW22 presentation, which played with all the menswear staples and even went so far as to sketch a mock-up of a dandy in full Fendi garb at the end. Pier Paolo Piccioli even shown how a color scheme that features, and even praises, pink, can also convey a manly air of elegance. Even when moving away from designers and companies that are more associated with formal clothing, elegance asserts itself as a reference or, more specifically, as a monochrome or loosely stylish appearance. Even Rick Owens was obligated to comment on the idea of elegance because, although being obscene and filthy, it revealed an unexpectedly stylish attitude in some outfits. There is no question that low-waisted jeans will stick around for a while. But one might also make the same argument for the idea of elegance: it is still too early to create a timeless moment for it.

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