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Menswear Spring 12

Laura Weir

The menswear catwalks in Paris and Milan melted past in a haze of heat and perspiration, as did Pitti Uomo in Florence.

The menswear catwalks in Paris and Milan melted past in a haze of heat and perspiration, as did Pitti Uomo in Florence. Despite the searing temperatures, the male fashion peacocks at Paris Fashion Week sat front row, trussed up in blazers, braces and cravats. It is this commitment to sartorial elegance that underpins a grown-up spring 12 menswear season.

The premium end of the market focuses on a mature and masculine direction for the season, with Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent among the designer labels backing double-breasted blazers, while shoulder padding in suiting for a manly silhouette was seen at Lanvin. Pin-collar shirts are key to this grown-up aesthetic.

At the casual end of the market, among the padigliones of Pitti, bright colours were hot, with primary shades such as yellow, red and marine bright blue on outerwear, particularly on cagoules and windbreakers, making an impact.

Pastel shades including salmon and cognac appeared on the Paris catwalks and in the showrooms of labels including Acne and Lanvin, and check out our menswear shoot in Florence to see how coloured chinos and shorts have well and truly captured the zeitgeist for spring 12.

On the high street, sales of checked shirts dipped during autumn 10, but new types of check interpretations were seen for spring 12 at Louis Vuitton, where models wore big picnic check shirts, and at Comme des Garçons, where mini-checkerboard checks updated the classic print for its latest outing.

However, the stripe should not be ignored – whether that is through the ubiquitous Breton stripe on jersey, or through fresh and subtle ticking stripes on cotton shirting – proof that this is still a wardrobe staple.

In order to make knitwear weather-appropriate for spring, tank tops and webbed knitwear and crochet details are key. Sleeveless tailored jackets and shirts are also a big story for more directional buyers.

But whether you opt to buy into pastel shades or pin-collar shirts this season, product should be minimal in design with surface detail. In short, keep it clean, with quality at the core. 

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