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The buyers' view: spring 17 men's catwalks

Buyers index

Ten of the industry’s most influential menswear buyers weigh in on the spring 17 menswear catwalk season, revealing their stand-out collections and key trends to know.

Gucci spring 17

Gucci spring 17

Gucci spring 17

Jo Harris, general merchandise manager for menswear and sports at Harrods

Jo Harris, general merchandise manager for menswear and sports at Harrods

Jo Harris, general merchandise manager for menswear and sports at Harrods

How would you sum up spring 17?

Spring 17 has been an all-encompassing season – from the incredibly exciting and creative designs from Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Wales Bonner and Dries Van Noten to the refreshingly commercial designs with the wearability factor at Coach, Dior, Boglioli and Fendi.

What stood out?

We saw the feminisation of men’s dressing continue with JW Anderson at the helm. Tailoring has also evolved: the silhouette was relaxed and the overall construction had a softer touch. Brands such as Officine Générale and Dior Homme embraced this. While not new, the military trend is back with a bang. Earthy-toned suiting and utilitarian outerwear such as field jackets and duffle coats were prominent. Valentino and Dries Van Noten made statements with camouflage. We enjoyed the continued revival of the vintage sportswear trends as championed at Neil Barrett, Ami and Kenzo. Cuban collars, zip track tops and a looser pant are key. Powerhouse brands such as Giorgio Armani and Prada have embraced the luxury sportswear trend with performance layering, function and utility features.

What were your favourite collections?

From London, we enjoyed Coach, JW Anderson and Wales Bonner. In Milan, Gucci was top of our list alongside Prada and Neil Barrett. In Paris, our favourite shows were Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Kenzo and Dries Van Noten.

Prada spring 17

Prada spring 17

Prada spring 17

Anita barr, group fashion director at harvey nichols crop

Anita Barr, group fashion director at harvey nichols crop

Anita Barr, group fashion director at Harvey Nichols

How would you sum up spring 17?

There was a lot of creativity on the catwalks, which was great to see and was amplified by theatrical productions, which always makes for an exciting and inspiring season. However, this can sometimes prove tricky as a buyer, but in the showrooms the collections were surprisingly commercial. It was perhaps also unsurprising to see many designers using their collections to vent their political frustrations. This undercurrent has been bubbling away for a couple of seasons, and we will see a very political and rebellious autumn 17 showcase.

What stood out?

An overarching theme that ran through many collections referenced war and post-war trends, using travel and a clashing of cultures to highlight this rebellion. Colour was prominent in cementing this trend: olive was the hue of the season, popping nicely with dusty pink. Although there was definitely a darker, more subversive undertone, 1950s-inspired Hawaiian print shirts offered a sense of new beginnings, splashes of colour and playfulness – think Baz Lurman’s Romeo and Juliet. Fabrics were focused on washed linen and boiled silks, technical wools and suede. On a more commercial level pinstripe was the main fabrication for tailored pieces and trousers, and stripes in general emerged as a main print for the summer season – from bold, deckchair-inspired stripes to barcode variants. Look out for garment-dying techniques also, as this is set to be huge next season.

What were your favourite collections?

In London it was great to see Blood Brother showcase its collection for the first time, we have been long supporters of the brand, so it’s great to see it on home soil. Milan was typically about the leading Italian labels, Prada and Gucci. But you couldn’t ignore the set and the Prince soundtrack at Versace. Another Milan favourite was the Neil Barrett show. Paris showcased very directional collections, Balenciaga being the first. However, once in the showroom, you could see how this collection would translate commercially.

Dries van noten spring 17

Dries van noten spring 17

Dries Van Noten spring 17

Scott tepper liberty crop

Scott tepper liberty crop

Scott Tepper, fashion buying director at Liberty

How would you sum up spring 17?

The spring season was a more exciting one than we had expected, following mostly bland pre-collections.

What stood out?

The key trends that stood out for us were new proportions and strong colour statements. Balenciaga, Thom Browne and JW Anderson all made convincing arguments for exaggerated oversized silhouettes and were among our favourite collections. There was the idea of interplay between supersized and super-skinny silhouettes – think Dries Van Noten’s easy fluid trousers with a more fitted top or jacket. This looks very fresh. Our customers live for newness from Dries.

Colour, whether in bold blocks at Craig Green or the virtual rainbow of vibrant solids at Haider Ackermann was thrilling to see. While not as new, athletic influences still have mileage in them, our cool London guy isn’t giving up comfort next season, and there was enough newness through fabrications and embellishments to buy just one more bomber jacket.

What were your favourite collections?

Balenciaga, Thom Browne, JW Anderson, Dries Van Noten, Craig Green and Haider Ackermann.

Haider ackerman spring 17

Haider Ackermann spring 17

Haider Ackermann spring 17

Bosse mhyr, director of menswear at selfridges crop

Bosse Mhyr, director of menswear at Selfridges

Bosse Mhyr, director of menswear at Selfridges

How would you sum up spring 17?

It was a good season overall, with creativity and innovation really driving menswear forward. There was also a sense of positivity, animated by the theatrics employed by brands and designers to present their ideas in the most exciting and engaging ways possible.

What stood out?

Collections that interchange men’s and women’s wear are still trending high – there were women wearing menswear in many shows, or men’s and women’s collections shown together. Fluidity is key for product and approach. Stand-out shapes and styles include bomber jackets – at Gucci and Haider Ackermann, for example, but many other designers too; denim at Balmain; tapestry at Craig Green and Dries Van Noten; and see-through fabrics, especially the amazing Fornasetti collaboration at Comme des Garçons.

What were your favourite collections?

Haider Ackermann, Comme des Garçons, Gucci, Philipp Plein, Craig Green and JW Anderson.

Craig green spring 17

Craig green spring 17

Craig Green spring 17

Damien paul crop

Damien paul crop

Damien Paul, head of menswear at Matchesfashion

How would you sum up spring 17?

Personally I felt that London had a real vibrancy and energy. In the absence of some of the bigger names, the spotlight shone on some of the newer and emerging names. Three of them produced outstanding collections: JW Anderson, Wales Bonner and Craig Green. Milan was certainly safer and more commercial. Designers tended to riff on their brand signatures but both Marni and Damir Doma stood out. The commerciality of Milan was tempered in Paris by a slew of big names presenting a broad spectrum of modern menswear. The disruption in proportion at Balenciaga kickstarted a fashion week that had many highlights.

What stood out?

Travel was an enduring theme. I felt that much of what was shown on the runway had real movement, and an understanding that men need to incorporate these pieces into their real lives. There was also a lightness in weight and handle. A lot of the coats and knits we saw on the catwalk were actually almost weightless. I also liked the head-to-toe tonal looks that started in London and continued over the three weeks. There was a certain elegance to this in the paler, washed-out tones and it’s interesting to see that it was used for sports-inspired looks, as well as for formal attire.

What were your favourite collections?

Wales Bonner, Craig Green and JW Anderson all presented collections that developed their vision and included luxurious finishes and craftsmanship. I liked the use of velcro at Marni and how it changed the silhouette of an overcoat. And Damir Doma continued to present a darker path than most in Milan. I am a huge fan of Lemaire’s cool contemporary take on modern male dressing, and he did not disappoint. Rick Owens pushed the boundaries, particularly with voluminous trousers – if you can call them trousers – that puddled around the ankles and were further exaggerated by the form-fitting cropped jackets and tops. And of course, away from the main three cities there was a stand-out show from Raf Simons [at Pitti Uomo in Florence].

Jw anderson spring 17

Jw anderson spring 17

JW Anderson spring 17

Reece crisp, menswear buying manager at farfetch crop

Reece Crisp, menswear buying manager at farfetch crop

Reece Crisp, menswear buying manager at Farfetch

How would you sum up spring 17?

What the season lacked in creative freedom, it made up for in commerciality. No real new trends to surface – just a continuation from the past few seasons.

What stood out?

It was more about styling and use of colour than anything else this season. Volume both on top and through the bottom of the silhouette was key, as was tucking in at the waist. Bold colours such as bright pinks, purples and yellows came through in several collections. Finally the tracksuit was a stand-out item that highlights the strength of sportswear right now, in its most literal form.

What were your favourite collections?

From London, I thought Matthew Miller was strong. Florence was great this season: Gosha Rubchinsky, Raf Simons, and Visvim all executed great shows. I also really enjoyed Damir Doma in Milan. And in Paris, I loved the Sacai show as well as Thom Browne – that was one I will remember for a while.

Dior homme spring 17

Dior Homme spring 17

Dior Homme spring 17

Daniel todd, buyer, 2015 crop

Daniel Todd, buyer, Mr Porter

Daniel Todd, buyer at Mr Porter

How would you sum up spring 17?

A season of two halves. Creative and exciting product from Prada, Gucci, Dries Van Noten and Balenciaga. However, most collections, when worked through, are commercial.

What stood out?

Milan showcased a reinforcement of the trends we started to see for spring 16, including 1950s Central American and Cuban vibes, a 1970s use of colour, and looser silhouettes. Pleated trousers and open-collar short-sleeved shirts were notable in many of the collections. In Paris we saw some exceptional shows, continuing the trends of Milan: travel and outdoors, 1950s, seersucker, retro punk and fluid silhouettes – notably pleated trousers.

What were your favourite collections?

Prada was an unexpected surprise, namely for its concentration on sportswear, mixing fine wools, neoprene, and rip-stop fabrics. Gucci was a continuation of Alessandro Michele’s journey, blending a unisex look into one of the season’s most exciting and vibrant shows. Neil Barrett presented strong 1970s-inspired sportswear in a colour palette of browns and blues. And Missoni displayed Guatemalan and Cuban-inspired elegance in earthy tones. In Paris, Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Issey Miyake and Helbers. London highlights were British stalwarts Oliver Spencer and Margaret Howell.

Balenciaga spring 17

Balenciaga spring 17

Balenciaga spring 17

Dean cook crop

Dean Cook, Browns

Dean Cook, menswear buying manager at Browns

How would you sum up spring 17?

The spring 17 collections have showcased strong creativity. There’s certainly never a dull moment at the shows. We really feel creativity is at its highest level and we are very excited about the season ahead.

What stood out?

We are only a quarter way through our buy for spring 17 but we’ve already noted a number of key trends. We loved the oversized trend seen at Balenciaga, Y Project and Raf Simons. Haider Ackermann’s focus on craftsmanship and exploration of colour and pattern stood out to us too.

What were your favourite collections?

Each city has been strong in its own way: there’s a distinct energy in London, Milan and in Paris. In London my favourite shows were Craig Green and JW Anderson, while in Paris my highlights were Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester. Gucci and Raf Simons were favourites in Italy.

Wales bonner spring 17

Wales Bonner spring 17

Wales Bonner spring 17

Christopher fisher crop

Christopher Fisher, Oki-Ni

Christopher Fisher, head buyer at Oki-Ni

How would you sum up spring 17?

For me the season has been exciting and colourful with a positive energy. The use of pastels and romantic colourways and prints were a welcome contrast to the monochrome and dark trends of previous seasons.

What stood out?

There were several trends that stood out. The first was oversized pieces from labels such as JW Anderson and Raf Simons. Interesting trouser shapes were another statement trend at the shows, seen particularly at Haider Ackermann and Wooyoungmi. Finally, pastels and pinks were a welcome trend for the season – Thom Browne and Acne Studios are playful examples.

What were your favourite collections?

The collections that were real stand out for me were Kolor, Haider Ackermann and Thom Browne in Paris. CMMN SWDN, E Tautz and Matthew Miller, who showed in London, and Raf Simons and Marni in Italy.

Fendi spring 17

Fendi spring 17

Fendi spring 17

Stavros karelis crop

Stavros Karelis, Machine A

Stavros Karelis, founder of Machine A

How would you sum up spring 17?

This season was quite creative and inspiring. As in every season some brands are bold, not afraid to experiment and push the creativity to a great degree and ultimately this is what makes them influential and leading the key trends of the season.

What stood out?

This was the season of the collaborations. From Raf Simons with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, to Gosha Rubchinskiy with six different fashion houses, and Vetements with perhaps a record number of 18, collaboration between brands has never been so central to the fashion houses. Furthermore, one key trend that stood out was the tailored suit and classic shirt that each designer represented in a different way, but striped wool suits and striped shirts have a very dominating position this season.

What were your favourite collections?

Raf Simons delivered an absolutely exquisite collection incorporating the work of the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Gosha Rubchinskiy’s collaborations with Fila, Kappa and many others will be extremely popular but what I loved most was the tailored suits he did. Y/Project’s Glenn Martens did an absolutely beautiful collection. Finally in London I think that JW Anderson delivered a beautiful collection together with Craig Green, one of the greatest rising stars of our generation.

 

 

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