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The buyers' eye: autumn 20 menswear

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The UK’s top menswear buyers share the key shows, standout trends and designers to know from the men’s collections in London, Paris and Milan.

If one message resounded loud and clear from the autumn 20 menswear catwalks, it was that streetwear is no longer the driving force in the luxury men’s fashion market.

In November 2019, Dior Men’s creative director Kim Jones described himself as “bored” with the traditional idea of streetwear – hoodies, tracksuits and a casual aesthetic – and where Dior leads, the industry follows.

The international shows in Paris and Milan have been erring towards a smarter approach more and more in recent seasons, as luxury designers instead turn their creative energies towards a new take on tailoring.

While there was no shortage of casual and urban-inspired styles on the catwalks – hoodies, relaxed-fit trousers and sports-inspired shapes remained staple products – the shift towards a more tailored approach continued apace. Leading the shift were big names including Prada, Dior and Fendi, which showed collections featuring tailored silhouettes that were fused with sporty and utilitarian influences, for a modern approach on tailoring and a shift away from street styles of seasons past.

Drapers speaks to top menswear buyers to get their take on the season, from standout shows to key buys and designers to watch.

Simon Longland, head of menswear and sport, Harrods

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Dior autumn 20

How would you sum up the autumn 20 catwalk season?

The overriding message of the season was cementing the return of a more elevated and sartorial approach to dressing, the importance of craftsmanship and the celebration of pieces that can be treasured for a lifetime – not just a season.

What were some of your favourite collections?

Dior was both the show and the collection of the season, and Kim Jones’ tribute to Judy Blame was beautifully executed. The balance of couture signatures, sartorial details and exceptional craft created a desirable, wearable and truly memorable collection.

Loewe, Jil Sander, Gucci, Rick Owens, Valentino and Fendi all gave incredible shows this season: from Fendi’s use of texture and sense of utilitarianism to Gucci’s playful celebration of the 1970s silhouette, these brands all produced elevated and thoroughly enjoyable collections.

Are there any designers or brands that you discovered new this season?

We have added many incredibly exciting brands for next season, so watch this space.

What trends, moods or colours stood out?

Tailoring was present in every city, and fully encapsulated all shapes and aesthetics of the trend. Amiri showed a 1970s-inspired collection with roll-neck layers and a wash of neutral colours, whereas Ermenegildo Zegna celebrated the art of classic tailoring, reimagined with technologically advanced fabrics and modern silhouettes.

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Craig Green autumn 20

Designers presented a spectrum of intrinsically opposed aesthetics, showing each trend in a way that was grounded in their own DNA. To offset the formality of the structured tailoring that was so prominent on the runway this season, brands such as Fendi and Craig Green worked to provide a contrast  with the injection of utilitarian styles in a multitude of textures and shapes, bringing a softer edge to next season’s offerings.

Luxurious leather was everywhere this catwalk season, and not only in Fendi’s signature chunky boots. The fabric was used in a blend of styles from shirts and jackets to outwear, but leather trousers were ubiquitous: one brand that executed this seamlessly was Salvatore Ferragamo, which is quintessentially known for accessories. The brand paired a leather T-shirt and trousers for an effortlessly modern approach to the trend.

Outerwear was bigger and bolder than ever with the statement coat, from puffer jackets to bold overcoats and trenches, this was a trend that can (and should) be adopted by everyone throughout next season.

Shades drawn from nature were the theme of the season, with designers coupling muted tones such as nut, stone, clay and sand with pops of bright, bold reds and yellows, to bring a sense of modernity and originality to the autumnal palette, all set against and grounded by black.

 

Sam Kershaw, buying manager, Mr Porter

How would you sum up the autumn 20 catwalk season?

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Prada, autumn 20

As we entered a new decade with the January men’s shows, it certainly felt like there was a reflection of optimism within the collections, and sustainability was a lead value for many of the designers.

What were some of your favourite collections?

The collections were particularly strong this season. Always the leader, Prada showed an evolved take on tailoring, along with excellent outerwear. Also in Milan, Etro demonstrated a second powerful collection, building upon spring 20, with lots of colour and interesting fabrics and layers. Massimo Alba expanded its line to incorporate new categories and ideas, and Brunello Cucinelli presented one of [its] strongest autumn collections to date.

In Paris, Bode NY showed a playful and colourful collection with standout shirts and jackets embroidered with animals, alongside outwear and trousers covered in memento patches. Sacai and Undercover also showed collections that played on elements of uniform and utility with a bold sense of layering.

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Sacai, autumn 20

What trends, moods or colours stood out?

A return to tailoring remains a key trend for autumn 20, but we also saw lots of layering, particularly with knitwear and heavy outerwear styles. Standout pieces include extra-long overcoats, knitwear worn as outerwear, tall boots and chunky soles.

 

Jack Cassidy, head of buying – menswear, Selfridges

How would you sum up the autumn 20 catwalk season?

Autumn 20 was a grown-up affair, with plenty of tailoring, clean silhouettes and refined collections.

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Issey Miyake, autumn 20

What were some of your favourite collections?

I loved the Issey Miyake show. For the last few seasons, it has brought a refreshing energy to Paris, and autumn 20 was no exception. The collection was truly impressive – full of desirable pieces that are both design-led and comfortable, and the performative nature of the show brought some much-needed levity to the season. Who doesn’t want a pleated dinner suit?

While we missed him during LFWM, Craig Green was another highlight. A stellar collection in which his unique point of view was able to shine, especially when set against the rest of the Paris schedule.

In Milan, I thought the Fendi show was strong and fresh: fantastically marrying tailoring, sportswear, minimalism and in-your-face branding.

Other favourites included Loewe, Stefan Cooke, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Sacai and Casablanca.

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EV Bravado

Are there any designers/brands that you discovered new this season?

EV Bravado’s second show in Paris was strong, and we look forward to launching the brand for spring 20.

Although not shown during the autumn 20 shows, we love what [creative director] Julien Dossena is doing at Paco Rabanne. We can’t wait to introduce Paco into our menswear edit exclusively in the UK this February.

What trends, moods or colours stood out?

Lots of patterns – leopard, spots, stripes, checks, clouds, harlequin, paisley, horses. Long, quilted outerwear. Jewellery was huge, especially necklaces and chokers, boots and shoes replace sneakers – on the runway at least.

What were your key buys of the season?

Dior was important this season, and we are soon to open the only Dior Menswear “shop-in-shop” space outside of London, in our Manchester Exchange store.

 

Dean Cook, head of menswear buying, Browns

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Raf Simons, autumn 20

How would you sum up the autumn 20 catwalk season?

I really enjoyed this autumn season. I thought many designers really stepped up their game: we saw a move into different shapes and silhouettes.

Knowing that more street-led items such as hoodies and T-shirts were staples, more refined pieces and dressing up was on the forefront of the catwalk again. This smarter look will be a key focus for Browns and our customer.

What were some of your favourite collections?

Raf Simons, Casablanca, Prada and Dior. Coming away from the shows there was so much good stuff. It was really a case of making sure we kept to our budgets and options, as there was so much to choose from, which is always fantastic to see.

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Paria Farzaneh, autumn 20

Are there any designers or brands that you discovered new this season?

No new discoveries as yet, but I absolutely loved what NewGen designer Paria Farzaneh did for this season.

What trends, moods or colours stood out?

Tailoring, leather trousers – a key carry on from last season – and knitwear replacing jersey. Pink, red and blue hues are coming through, which all sit nicely with the usual black.

What were your key buys of the season?

We still have a long way to go after returning from Paris and Milan then onto Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo, but we have some great brands coming through and interesting products.

Browns has been in business for 50 years this year so 2020 will be a very big one for us indeed, and with a new store opening [on Brook Street, Mayfair] we have many exciting product moments to look forward to.

 

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