Designers have a role to play in formulating new fashion trends. If we relied purely on retailers we would never break new ground, because they tend to know what has sold but not necessarily what will sell.
After several seasons of menswear silhouettes getting narrower, the most striking trend for autumn 08 – which will probably embed itself into most labels’ collections this spring – is that of a wider silhouette. Cynics might say it’s the Charlie Chaplin look.
The silhouette comes in the shape of wider-leg trousers with suits, or worn more casually as separates. Tom Ford’s luxurious power dressing has a slightly wider cut to the jacket shoulders, although the narrow-leg trouser is retained. The look ranges from vintage Fred Astaire to Joseph Fiennes relaxing between filming.
In a casualwear offer the wider leg can look great in washed heavy twill for an updated chino or casual pant. The wider silhouette can look stylish but it does not necessarily suit everyone. However, the extra yardage needed will certainly please the cloth weavers; the tie industry has certainly been cursing the trend for skinny ties.
Extreme versions of volume were seen at Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent on the autumn 08 catwalks, but most brands have included some reference to the trend. Personally, I favour the narrow cut as I’ve always had a soft spot for 1960s Beatles suits. Yet as I said about designers, sometimes you have to move on.
Bruce Montgomery is menswear design director at Daks, chairman of the British Menswear Guild and chairman of the GFW Mentoring Panel