Vintage workwear, expedition themes and preppy looks are among the trends explored for autumn 11.
Bench has devised three seasonal themes for autumn 11, each named after a musical genre. The first theme, Alternative, has an indie rock, directional feel and comprises slimmed-down silhouettes with high, oversized necklines on tops. Fabrics are key, with high-shine fabrics set against tonal, matt-finished fabrics and waxed cottons. The second theme, Underground, takes inspiration from the great outdoors. Bold, Fair Isle knit patterns and flecked yarns add a contemporary twist, as do brightly coloured logos and drawcords. The third theme, Electro, is influenced by club culture and dance music. Bench’s urban look is updated with new variations on high necklines and the brand’s signature ninja hoods. Retro colour blocking also features. Nick Barber, head of menswear design, says: “The range comprises 220 pieces in total and we’ve increased our shirting and jersey offer as men continue to take a more layered approach to styling.”
According to Warren Anderson, European design and merchandising director at Perry Ellis Europe, which owns Original Penguin, the theme behind the brand’s autumn 11 collection is “simplicity meets style and function”. This season marks the launch of Original Penguin’s first denim range, which comes in multiple fits. The Rockabilly, The Heritage Fit,
The Rogue and The Pioneer each feature three different washes, and three of the styles come in chino fabric too, while The Rogue also comes in corduroy. Anderson adds: “Heavy-gauge knits are key this season and Original Penguin has developed a bigger range of knitwear than ever before with lambswool, boiled wool, Donegal yarns and merino wool all employed.” Knit styles vary from big, chunky-fold collars to double-breasted cardigans, and a crew-neck, vintage ski sweater is a key element of the collection. Outerwear includes a leather jacket, trench coat, a wool baseball jacket, pea coat and a padded jacket. Major colours for autumn 11 are blue, pewter and red.
The archives have been plundered at Pepe Jeans to serve up plenty of vintage nostalgia. Rugged looks associated with the birth of the industrial age and pioneers of the great outdoors are key, as are 1950s collegiate styles. The collection takes a modern view of the historic British preppy look and delves into British public school uniforms, with laundered rugby shirts, knits and rakish tailored blazers. Workwear uniforms are interpreted via plaid work shirts, chunky shawl-collared cardigans and multi-pocketed hiking jackets. Casualwear comes in the form of bright varsity jackets and slogan T-shirts. The collection is given an urban feel with fitted tailoring and slim-fit jeans in a dark palette.
Duck And Cover
The Duck And Cover collection is split into two key themes and is inspired by a hybrid of workwear detailing and military themes.
Detailing is prominent, with multi-function pockets, cocoon hoods and heavy-profile stitching. Essential pieces include the denim jacket shape in piqué fleece and gilets. Deep funnel-neck shapes, high necks that zip into hoods and graphical interpretations of Fair Isle patterns also feature. Designer Robert Beirne says a raft of new fabrications have been employed for autumn 11: “We’ve introduced warmer, insulating fabrics such as washed corduroy, shearling lining, compact melton wool and bonded fleece. A neutral palette includes blacks and greys which are mixed with military khaki, sand, green and red.”
“Nickelson continues its familiar mix of contemporary and heritage styling with a return to its strong roots,” says Joslyn Clarke, the brand’s head designer. “By popular demand we revisit our iconic flight jackets in sturdy goatskin with original features including a real shearling detachable collar.” Delving further into the archive, Nickelson has increased its number of piqué polos in
the autumn 11 collection, which come in bright and contrasting colours. Long-sleeved rugby shirts are a new addition to the range, while glossy, sporty padded jackets and a signature lined and woven trimmed sweatshirts also feature. Jackets come in dark greys, navy and black and are highlighted by bright polo shirts and T-shirts in jungle green, iris green, blue and lemon yellow.
The theme of exploration is at the heart of Firetrap’s aesthetic for autumn 11, and the brand fuses Arctic clothing with military details and expedition themes.
In womenswear, the military theme is interpreted in a feminine way, using soft materials and shapes.
Outerwear is wrapped and asymmetric, with aviator jackets and military hybrid jackets key. Skirts are fishtailed or made voluminous, with fabric tucking and drapery details throughout. Key trouser shapes include drop-crotch, culottes, peg-leg and jodhpurs.
The palette draws on shades of khaki, brown, navy blue and grey. In menswear, attention has been paid to hanger appeal and each piece is designed with engineered cuts.
“A moody palette of black, olive and slate greys blends with ox blood, deep purples and oranges to convey a sense of battle, explosion and blood spilt,” says Fly53 designer Will Rigg of its autumn 11 collection. “Jackets are rugged and
tough with military overtones and an emphasis on function and survival. Camouflage prints feature and treatments are distressed and war-torn.” Knitwear has an emphasis on texture with cable knits, rib knits, jacquards and fine-gauge pieces all perfect for layering. Shirting comes in a range of fabric finishes,
from prison stripes and heavy twills to garment dyes and smarter pieces. “This is not the place for basics,” says Rigg. “So expect oversized, rugged styles designed to perform.” Jerseys include lightweight pieces for layering, with stripes and spill necks giving a make-do-and-mend feel. Trousers and jeans cover key shapes including extreme drop-crotch, carrot leg and the return of the combat pant in new forms. “We’ve seen a massive surge in sales for autumn 10, driven in no small part by higher-value outerwear,” Rigg adds. “This has always been a key category for Fly53 and we’ve built this area to capitalise on the commercial success we’ve achieved. Outerwear is the bedrock of our autumn 11 collection. The global issues in sourcing will have a bearing on pricing across the industry but we’re working hard to maintain key price points and, more importantly, offer quality individual products that have true worth to the consumer.”
G-Star is the long-established pioneer of 3D denim (it first launched using stitching and cutting techniques to create a 3D silhouette on its Elwood jean in 1996). For autumn 11, the brand has focused on its iconic 3D Arc Pant. Pieces such as the Arc X Loose Tapered style move the Arc pant - with its twisted seam architecture - on by adding a 7/8ths leg length and a high-volume, new thigh shape. G-Star’s Arc Pant remains one of the key denim silhouettes available for men and several new washes have been added to expand the offer. G-Star has also launched a bid to reclaim basic denim by focusing on the brand’s 3301 Program, a range of high-quality, five-pocket jeans.
The creative direction of Boxfresh’s autumn 11 collection hinges on the notion of expedition, and Gavin Skelton, senior menswear designer, says: “This concept comes from the continuing feel for heritage and outdoor-inspired clothing. In the current climate we see a return to local exploration, adventure and other outdoor activities, and these are the influences behind the autumn 11 clothing offer. The look is rugged - think lumberjack and utility with a twist.” According to Skelton there is an ever-increasing demand for heavy-duty clothing with silhouettes
and items that conjure up feelings of warmth and protection. Major fabrications include woollen flannels with corduroy patches that give a vintage, autumnal look. Other key fabrics are flecked and brushed sweatshirts, melton wools and coated cottons for outerwear pieces.
Standout silhouettes include down-filled gilets, cube quilted jackets, melton wool pea coats, bomber jackets, flannel plaid shirts and chinos. The palette focuses on forest green, coffee bean brown and classic navy.