Tailoring stands out as four menswear buyers reveal their insider views on the autumn 19 season: the best collections, key trends and must-buy products from London, Florence, Milan and Paris.
Fiona Firth Buying director, Mr Porter
The autumn 19 show season was an exciting moment for menswear as it encapsulated the perfect blend of creative and commercially relevant collections. Paris was a particular highlight for me, and a significant number of powerhouse designers showed very strong collections.
Tailoring and smart fabrics were key trends in all markets, and most collections showcased elements of tailoring in some form. Broad shoulder silhouettes were present in jackets and suiting, and trouser legs were wider with more movement. Padded jackets added extra volume in outerwear, and accessories were heavier – thick-knit scarves, chunky-soled boots and layered belts were all central trends this season.
Key buys for me were the “new suits” on show – structured or voluminous with wide-legged trousers, as well as long-line padded jackets and chunky-soled shoes.
In terms of shows, in London I enjoyed Craig Green’s. His ability to balance his most wearable pieces against his more experimental designs always makes for a dynamic show. Oliver Spencer’s collection was another highlight and I expect his use of corduroy in suiting, bomber jackets and trousers will resonate well with Mr Porter customers.
At Pitti Uomo in Florence, Brunello Cucinelli and Z Zegna both showed strong collections with relaxed tailoring and outdoor, performance-based pieces as a focus. Z Zegna’s use of technical fabrics and innovative design elements gave the collection a utilitarian feel that carried through to functional footwear and accessories.
There was a great mood at the Prada show at Milan Fashion Week Men’s, a favourite of mine for the impeccably tailored suits and bold print shirts. Tom Ford’s presentation was equally impressive – ultra-luxe metallic padded jackets and suits took centre stage.
Dries Van Noten and Berluti were standouts in Paris for their modern tailoring and strong suit and jacket silhouettes, while Alexandre Mattiussi’s colour palette at Ami was beautifully showcased throughout his collection.
Bosse Myhr Director of menswear, Selfridges
Autumn 19 felt like an exciting season, there were strong collections from both new and established designers within each city across fashion month.
Virgil Abloh’s second collection for Louis Vuitton was a standout at Paris Fashion Week Men’s – it was so varied in its product offering. For us as a retailer, Abloh’s appeal lies is his ability to create a collection that has something for everyone.
In London, Craig Green showed a truly beautiful collection. I have always admired how he has been able to move his offering forward, while staying true to his unique creative vision.
Last but not least, Prada was without question the highlight of Milan Fashion Week Men’s. It was such a perfect display of Mrs Prada’s visual language.
The autumn 19 season is all about accessories for us, and we are seeing that brands are just as keen for us to focus on the accessories offer as much as the ready-to-wear during the shows.
For me, my key buys of the season are a Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton bag, a Sacai “Bar Italia” sweater, and a Craig Green coat.
Lee Goldup Menswear buyer, Browns
I found the autumn 19 season, for the most part, to be very inspiring. There was plenty of creativity and enough commerciality from a buying perspective. Some designers played it safe, but most pushed themselves enough to keep their collections evolving.
In general, it was busy everywhere, from London, to Pitti Uomo in Florence, to Milan and Paris. Paris was much busier than the other cities this season, though – there were few gaps in the schedule, and more catwalk shows and presentations than ever. As we buy the most in Paris during the actual fashion week, getting between shows and appointments was extremely tight this time around.
In London there were some great shows from some of my favourite UK designers, but lots of gaps and fewer people. Paria Farzaneh was a highlight – I absolutely love what she does and found this collection really inspirational. The show itself was well art directed and felt super fresh.
I always love attending Pitti. The Y/Project show was excellent – designer Glenn Martens is one of the most creative designers out there, and has some revolutionary ideas. Seeing a show of this scale by him was amazing.
Some of my favourites of the season – from Prada, Sunnei and Bed JW Ford – were in Milan, but it was definitely quieter and I feel like the city could do with more new talent. Prada is always my favourite, but I particularly loved this season. The collection was a mixture of classic tailoring, great knitwear and killer prints.
Paris was more hectic than ever with lots going on and an extra day to boot – an amazing vibe with some fantastic shows and presentations. Dior and Alyx were the best for me. Both Kim Jones at Dior and Matthew Williams of Alyx really are at the top of their game. From Jones’s perfect tailoring and utility vests, to Williams’s leather pants, parkas and Vibram-soled shoes – they stole Paris.
Tailoring, long top coats, fleece and cord were key trends for me, while my top buys are the utility vests from Dior, the leather trousers from Alyx and the Frankenstein shirt by Prada.
Reece Crisp Head of buying, creative and styling, LNCC
Overall, the autumn 19 season was solid. There was no significant shift from the past few seasons with regards to trends and hot products, but there were definitely some stand-out collections.
Paris was the busiest for us – for both the show schedule and appointments. London continues to impress with its emerging talent, and Milan still has a place: brands such as Prada will always be a pull. We did not attend New York.
My favourite collections this season were Paria Farzaneh in London, Prada in Milan, and Jil Sander, Namacheko, and Alyx in Paris.
I felt a gradual move towards a cleaner aesthetic this season – in shape, look and feel. But the trends that have been prevalent over the past few seasons continue to drive the commercial elements in most collections: logos, oversized jersey and the cross-body bag.
My favourite buy of the season was the tailoring at Paria Farzaneh: it is fantastic that tailoring is making a comeback, and what was great to see was Farzaneh doing it her way.
Brown is a key colour this season. The puffer jacket at Alyx was one of my favourite pieces of outerwear all season. There was a real attention to fabrication throughout the collection and the technical elements really set it apart from others.
For me, the long patchworked knit from Jil Sander was the knitwear piece of the season. Shape, colour mix – amazing. I can’t wait to wear it myself.