With the state of affairs in what seems like a
cyclical crisis mode, it appeared the men’s designers were in search of happiness for their Spring 2019 runway collections. Delving into everything from shorts that barely grazed the top of the thigh to plastic pool toys as furniture, rainbow catwalks, and slinky fabrics, the best shows brought a brash sense of promiscuity. An almost untouchable word at the moment, the term “sexy” has been brushed aside in the fashion world of late, but the designers who touched on this concept felt bold and the pieces unquestionably desirable. Also fresh for the season was a buzzy rotation of talent at the top houses, with Virgil Abloh’s debut at Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones’ debut at Dior Homme, and Kris Van Assche taking the helm at Berluti, bringing energy and anticipation for the new season. Here, we recap the best looks so far.
A jarring clash of prints, bike shorts, and vintage-feeling denim, Martine Rose’s spring 2019 show, set outside in a quiet neighborhood in London, felt oddly poetic. Bringing life to ’80s and ’90s references, her discerning eye found a way to make them feel new and entirely covetable.
A new dawn at Louis Vuitton under the creative direction of Off-White’s Virgil Alboh marks a major shift in the luxury men’s market. Streetwear and high fashion converged over a rainbow runway lined with an ultraexclusive crowd of celebrities, including the likes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Accessories soon to skyrocket in price on eBay were aplenty, but the look that stood out was a classic camel leather trench that leads one to believe that luxury staples will still find their home among the hype.
Beneath the glowing backdrop of New York City’s skyline, Saint Laurent built a grandiose marble and chrome structure to showcase a slew of elaborate jackets, sequined disco trousers, and quite a lot of metallic body glitter when the finale of skinny boys lapped the runway. The headlining look was modeled by Paul Hameline, including the house’s new flared trouser, a provocative sheer blouse, and a retro leather jacket.
Under the new vision of Kim Jones, formerly of Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme was full of energy and some softer colors. A packed front row of A-listers were up close to see some loose suiting that is a favorite of the designer, as well as some iconic favorites to resemble the women’s collections including the reintroduction of the saddle bag and sheer logo “Dior” underpinnings. A standout, the brown distressed leather bomber, which was paired with soft light blue pinstripes and an updated rendition of a suede desert boot.
Versace, Versace, Versace…the house of the moment has delved back into its roots of archival prints and its pillar of sexuality yet again. However, this season felt sexier than ever with sleekly parted hair, patent trousers, and shrunken silk shirts paired with complementary gold chains.
Great minds think alike, and it seems Miuccia and Donatella were in the same headspace. Again, barely there short shorts were the grand idea, whether paired with novelty printed half-zip knits or a suede blazer. The silhouette went from feeling slightly garish to heavily desirable within seconds, especially when combined with the house’s playful new rendition of a boat shoe.
Coincidentally inspired by Vernon Panton, the late Danish interiors designer that also influenced the theme of Miuccia Prada’s spring 2019 show, Dries Van Noten created a colorful collaboration directly utilizing Panton’s archival prints. The first look seemed to sum up the positive mood of the show, with a mere swim short in a loud midcentury vertical-wave print.
Francesco Risso, know for his childlike sensibility, infused his spring 2019 men’s collection with animated looks riffing on Olympic athletes. Heavy doses of color, print, and textured mohair knits felt sprightly and surprisingly wearable. The unexpected cast, a mix of unusual characters that he is becoming known for introducing among his dewey models, also shows his lean toward a friendly feeling of inclusiveness, a welcome thought for today’s times.
One of the most extreme shows of the season, John Galliano’s sophomore collection with Maison Margiela menswear was packed with sexy slick patent trousers in candy colors, technical tailoring and metallic cowboy boots. This look of a British feeling perfectly tailored suit paired with a bejeweled and ostrich trimmed sheer top effortlessly combined his knack for haute couture and gender bending menswear in a dream combination.
After a grand debut with Diesel’s Red Tag Project in Milan, Glenn Martens came home to Paris to showcase his main collection, with his vision unquestionably transferring from one to the next. A man with an unerring direction, his complicated shapes and unexpected renditions of normal staples kept constant, but this time with some surprising colors and fabrications. A couple of highlights included a mixed-print silk cabana shirt and a deep red leather coat with architectural incisions.
Always a trend at the house, Fendi’s logo mania felt cheeky and fresh when emblazoned on a short short and silk cabana shirt. What’s best to pair with the over-the-top combination? Fendi logo accessories, of course.
Among the screen printing and shiny fabrics, a standout knit always seems to steal the show at Raf Simons. Here, the perfect shetland sweater pairs pleasantly with a shrunken trouser and heavy-soled shoe.
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy
Charles Jeffrey has once again proven himself with a controlled vision for his collection that blends a mix of tailoring, military references, Scottish heritage, and of course his queer-club-scene roots. Each more elaborate than the last, almost every look was accessorized with an outlandish prop and a heavy dose of energy.
An expert in tailoring, Tom Ford perfectly matched refreshing takes on classic suiting like this brown, checked, single-breasted style, plus renditions of cropped silk trousers and casual and angular jackets for a well-rounded wardrobe. A palette reminiscent of his underwear launch, the tonal combination felt seductive and inherently of the brand’s identity.
Sarah Burton’s Spring 2019 collection for McQueen brought about almost every kind of tailored piece one could hope for: Two-tone trenches in perfect proportions, sharp skinny suits, and pops of tailored leather formed a collection of investment pieces that can be in your closet forever. And a new update to her classic skinny vested suit, a long short variation sitting atop a classic knee sock and square-toed shoe, presented a youthful take on evening.
The highlight of the season once again popped up at Hermès with short shorts sexily paired with unzipped jackets that boldly debuted quite a few bare chests. This bright yellow pair received an elevated boost from the canvas and leather Moto day jacket and classic Hermès sandal. A match made in holiday heaven.
With his inherent skill for blending formal and casual pieces into an everyday wardrobe for the modern man, Lucas Ossenrijver, once again presented a collection of layered separates that felt incredibly wearable. One of the highlights in every Lanvin men’s show is the surprising pops of color that, when mixed together in the right proportions with a, say, a casual trainer, is simply brilliant.
Shot by Harley Weir, Grace Wales Bonner’s Spring 2019 collection titled “Ecstatic Recital” took the viewer on Bonner’s transcendental path to India and her references to Ram Dass’s meditative works. Pairing recycled fabrics from India with technical joggers made for off-kilter pairings that felt innovative and entirely wearable.
As brightly colored smoke wafted through the air, the first glimpses of models appeared in exaggerated trousers and slashed-up tops that all felt very ’90s rave, and then progressed to looks that blended his various components like this fitted denim jacket over shaped T-shirt, skirt, and billowing satin pant. Nylon parkas built into wearable tents with slicked hair made for a riveting finale, all in Rick Owens’ evergreen theme of chaos vs. control.
Set against the backdrop of the crystal waters of Simon Porte Jacquemus’ hometown of Marseille, the designer’s much-anticipated debut menswear collection was a sexy undertaking of barely-there bikinis and beach shirts in splashy prints. However, the collection also took on an early ’90s Giorgio Armani appeal with this loose linen tailoring and scripted logo shirt, with a gold medallion to anchor it.