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Designer directions Autumn 10

Although grey continued to dominate the colour palette on the autumn 10 menswear catwalks in Milan and Paris, camel emerged as a new classic while contrast sleeves and track pants were fresh trends.

Sigh, yawn and fidget all you want but after four seasons of catwalk and commercial dominance grey has become the anchor shade for the menswear palette. This season Milan and Paris were both awash with tailoring in sfumato layers of grey, which was teamed with white or cream underneath as at Hermes or with black, à la Z Zegna. But grey, of course, is not just pan-season now, but pan-category. Check out the washed-down denim and T-shirt at DSquared for the ultimate casual look or Burberry Prorsum for a more reserved smart casual pairing of knit and jacket.

A big womenswear trend in autumn 09, the luxurious looking camel coat has made the jump to the testosterone-filled side of the fence in autumn 10. A classic look with years of wear in it, this is a recession proof seller, and mainstream reworkings were seen on the catwalks of both Paris and Milan at the likes of Cerruti and Dunhill. Caramel and toffee tones also came through in the abundance of shearling jackets on the catwalks – as evidenced at Rick Owens; while Dries Van Notens’ cartoonish taped seams offered a new take on the classic trench. And it was not just coats that got the camel cast – Gucci was among the brands to offer tailored versions.    

Track pants
Three seasons of streetwear brands vaunting the collegiate style has had an influence, and now the sweat pant – once the domain of the couch potato and the mallrat – was seen on the catwalks in Paris and Milan. While the brands (like Superdry and G-Star, along with US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch) have reinforced the look’s more sporty connotations, on the catwalks it was more just as much about louche luxury. Teamed with biker boots and leather jackets at Jean Paul Gaultier and Bottega Veneta, it was also about adding a touch of colour to the men’s palette.  

Slim double-breasted
The most prevalent newness on suits was the slimline db in four and six button fastenings. The six button versions in particular came in soft fabrics (sometimes knitted) and recall the peacoat silhouette following a trend Drapers reported from Pitti Uomo. Z Zegna offered a strong example of this as did John Varvatos. But overall there was more variety in the db, with Raf Simons showing a version with concealed fastenings and Versace showing a 1980s style two-button version. In terms of the palette, these were of course almost always grey.

Padded outerwear
This euro favourite is ready for the UK now, following a teeth-chattering winter. Padded, protective and cocooning, the quilted and padded outerwear takes on glossy black and leather forms at Giorgio Armani, while the tonal contrast sleeve version at Louis Vuitton sits neatly with another of autumn 10’s trends. D&G’s knitted version looks more innovative while regular lightweight diamond quilts were also used at the likes of Gucci and John Richmond, for a more slimline appeal. 

Contrast sleeves
One of the clearest directions across both the Paris and Milan men’s catwalks were contrast sleeves. On jackets, knits and shirts, but most often on suiting, there were sleeves in tonal and contrast shades and differing fabrications and patterns. Cable knit sleeves at Les Hommes, leather ones at Neil Barrett and animal prints at Kenzo were among the more aggressive interpretations, while Gaspard Yurkievich, Dries Van Noten and Cerruti all used grey and camel contrasts for a two-tone look.  

Wrapping up
With knitwear looking so on-trend, it’s little effort for designers to roll out a few lengths of cosy scarf. Nordic intarsias, cables, fuzzy mohairs and textured knits all feature on these oversized swaddles. Gloves meanwhile take a turn for the technical and ski-derived fabrications include nylons and padded versions.

Simple knitted headgear topped off lots of wintry looks in both Paris and Milan. This was one trend with nothing to complicate it – over-the-ear shapes in a smoky palette of grey and taupe shades enlivened with just a touch of texture. That texture meant simple ribbing or cables and at CP Company a few tweedy flecks of colour.

Biker boots
Over-the-ankle and mid-shin leather boots graced many a catwalk in Milan and Paris, and were combined with almost every outfit be they shorts, track pants, suits or jeans. Heavy soles and black leather were topped off with buckles and straps and at some shows this injected a touch of punk appeal. 

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