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The buyers' view: spring 19 menswear catwalks

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Following catwalks in London, Milan and Paris, influential buyers discuss the key designer trends and standout collections from the spring 19 menswear season.

Fiona Firth, buying director, Mr Porter

Fiona firth buying director mr porter 2016crop

How would you sum up the spring 19 season?

There was certainly a build-up to Paris after London and Milan. The move-around of LVMH designers meant we were all waiting to see what Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones showed, at Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme, respectively. The Paris shows, as always, were very busy but creative and inspiring, and strong collections were shown by many of the brands. Highlights included Ami, Amiri, Sacai, Raf Simons and Officine Générale.

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Sacai spring 19

What stood out?

In Milan, trends included pastels, brights and fluoro, as well as brown tones. There were 1970s ski- and sportswear-inspired polo shirts, knits and graphics. Bucket hats, boat shoes and trainers also made an impression.

In Paris, again there was more colour. Other trends included florals, the return of denim, use of graphics and looser silhouettes on trousers.

Which were your favourite collections?

In Milan it was Prada. I loved the brightly coloured knitwear and denim tailoring finished off with fantastic “fly knit” sneakers, boat shoes and [shoulder] bags. It had the shortest of shorts in any collection this season too.

Sacai was my favourite in Paris. As always, [designer] Chitose Abe has an innovative way of mixing fabrications and the multi-use of zips throughout her collections. I particularly liked the use of [blanket-maker] Pendleton fabrics in both the ready-to-wear and the Nike collaboration, which made this a very unique collection.

Florence trade Pitti Uomo staged high-profile catwalks alongside its growing trade show exhibition. Do you think it is growing in importance?

Pitti Uomo is a key moment for the Mr Porter buyers. Personally, I hadn’t been for two years and found the show informative as it showcased a great mix of well-established brands that we stock on-site, alongside niche and new designers.

Damien Paul, head of menswear, Matchesfashion

Damien paul head of menswear, matchesfashion.com

Damien paul head of menswear, matchesfashion.com

How would you sum up the spring 19 season?

While I think some designers played it safe this season showing commercial riffs on their brand DNA, in the most part it was exciting to see how others presented challenging and innovative collections. I loved the Maison Margiela show, which felt like a real fashion moment, and Rick Owens literally created clothes that were almost structures around the models – very bold and utterly brilliant. Cottweiler and Martine Rose both consolidated their aesthetic in two very different London shows and, in Milan, both Marni and Prada proved why they are essential names on schedule.

Which were your favourite collections?

In Paris, I have to say Maison Margiela. The runway looks were very editorial and very fashion and, yet, when you looked at the actual clothing you had amazing tailoring and suiting cut on the bias – the construction and tailoring was exquisite and the whole mood felt incredibly modern.

In London, it had to be Martine Rose. She consolidated her unique menswear point of view, effortlessly mixing sportswear, tailoring and youth culture into a sublime vision.

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Marni spring 19

For Milan it is a toss-up between Prada and Marni. Mrs Prada made the shortest of shorts utterly desirable while Francesco Risso took sportswear and spun it through the unusual Marni silhouette and colour combination for a new take on the athletic.

Do you think Pitti is growing in importance?

We always attend Pitti. As it’s all in one place, it is very practical – you’re not rushing around all over the city. There are always really interesting smaller brands that you get the opportunity to meet with and the atmosphere is always a bit more relaxed than some of the other fashion capitals. I think that Pitti has worked hard to grow and develop each season, and the introduction of guest designers has certainly encouraged attendance from key buyers and media.

 

Jack Cassidy, menswear buying manager, Selfridges

Jack cassidy2

How would you sum up the spring 19 season?

What an exciting season. From city to city each designer has showed amazingly elevated and inspiring collections. The atmosphere has been electric since London right the way through to Paris and I expect that it will carry through to New York next month.

What stood out?

Definitely the punk and neon direction seen across Raf Simons, The Soloist and Dsquared2. It’s shaping up to be an extremely bold season.

Raf Simons’ eponymous line presented a collection that used fabrics such as duchess satin to bring in the movement of new tailoring. The coats in bold hues and opulent fabrics were absolutely a standout for me.

Which were your favourite collections?

My favourite show in London was A Cold Wall. I think [designer] Samuel [Ross] really elevated the way he showed his work and there were lots of strong trousers, which have become a strength of the brand.

My favourite show in Milan was Versace. I loved the newspaper-style prints that poked fun at the mispronunciation of the brand’s name. I think it struck a fantastic balance between referencing the archive and looking forward and pushing new ideas.

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Undercover spring 19

My favourite show in Paris was Undercover. Jun Takeshi created an incredibly dynamic show. The outerwear was so strong, from brightly coloured technical parkas to intarsia woven tailoring.

Is Pitti growing in importance?

My team and I were at Pitti and we noted that in the age of a sportier aesthetic and the prominence of streetwear, tailoring was shining through there. It is exciting as it feels relevant to wear a tailored jacket but with a fashion spin or point of difference.

 

Laura Robertshaw, menswear buyer, Liberty

Laura robertshaw menswear buyer at liberty london b&w 2

How would you sum up the spring 19 season?

Although it’s nice to do the shows in the sunshine, by its nature spring seasons are never as strong as autumn for menswear. That said, this spring 19 season was an exciting one as the menswear merry-go-round was in full swing with big-name designers moving houses, such as Dior Homme and Louis Vuitton, as well as Jacquemus launching menswear.

London felt quieter when it came to the big names, as well as having less overseas representation this season, but its reduction to a three-day format certainly paid off. There was much less filler than previous seasons, although some did remain.

Paris had a packed schedule as always, was super creative and had some really fun shows. However, there still seemed to be a lot of designers going down the “anti-fashion” route – the Vetements effect if you will – which now feels completely played out and unoriginal.

What has stood out this season?

Rick Owens always manages to stay on brand while demonstrating how truly incredible he is as a designer. This season’s tent-like garments were a work of art and were actually retailed in the showroom, which will be great for that “wow” factor on the shop floor and for any Rick Owens fanatics.

Trends-wise, we saw relaxed oversized tailoring worn with a bare chest in lightweight fabrics – it’s a look we’re really into. The short short is in full flow, as are billowing short-sleeved shirts. White was a hero colour, and denim appears to be having a bit of a resurgence – it appeared with all-over prints.

That aforementioned Vetements and Balenciaga styling still showed heavy – a disappointment for us as it showed a lack of creativity.

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Sunnei spring 19

Which were your favourite collections?

Paria Farzaneh stole the show in London, Sunnei and Marni in Milan and the Rick Owens show in Paris really was a spectacle – everyone in attendance was blown away. Thom Browne always does something incredible with his shows and this season he nailed it yet again.

Have you seen a growing importance of Pitti? How was it this season?

Thanks to the shows funding and tempting designers to guest there, Pitti has grown heavily in importance. It’s always an important place for buyers because of the sheer amount of brands on show, but that extra draw from big-name guest designers is helping bring even more people to it. It’s a good place to start our buying season.

 

Lee Goldup, Menswear buyer, Browns

Lee goldup menswear buyer browns2

How would you sum up the spring 19 season?

Spring 19 has certainly been a very exciting season – lots of newness and continuous creativity. We saw some incredible fashion shows and the highly anticipated shows by Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones (at Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme) did not disappoint either. What a brilliant season.

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Louis Vuitton spring 19

What stood out this season?

Trend-wise we saw lots of neons, tie-dye, technical walking gear, performance sunglasses, all-white everything, tailoring, pale colour palettes, chunky sneakers and vintage logos.

Key pieces for me include the Sacai x Nike trainers, Dior see-through logo print T-shirt, Prada floral roll-neck and Comme des Garçons x Nike trainers.

What were your favourite collections?

A Cold Wall in London. Wow, what a show. Each season the brand evolves and spring 19 was the best yet.

We lost our minds at Bed JW Ford in Florence. This was the brand’s first international catwalk outside of Japan, and it was epic.

Prada in Milan: Miuccia delivered with some killer prints in a fantastic show space. I love that you just never know what to expect.

Dior in Paris: Kim Jones, take a bow. The space, the location, the collection – everything was on point.

Have you seen a growing importance of Pitti?

There was such a positive energy at Pitti this season. The show calendar seems to be growing year on year with some brilliant shows from Fumito Ganryu, Bed JW Ford and Craig Green.

 

 

Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director, Machine A

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How would you sum up the spring 19 season?

I think the spring 19 collections have been very strong, one of the most creative seasons I remember. London, Pitti and Paris had some of the best moments in the fashion calendar and created a strong dialogue that is not just about beautiful collections and products but equally important messages, highlighting the importance of inclusiveness, diversity and a genderless approach.

What stood out?

I think there is one big trend from the direction big brands are taking. There are the ones that choose to highlight the hype of streetwear, and there are the ones that choose to be couture and artisanal, and not jump into this melting pot of hype. I respect that a lot.

Techno influences were very strong this season, alongside vivid colours and tailoring. Key pieces for me are the Raf Simons ball embroidered couture coats with T-shirt details and Maison Margiela kimono artisanal items.

What were your favourite collections?

Two shows were the absolute standouts for me: Raf Simons and Maison Margiela. They chose to show collections with a true craftsmanship – something that will be timeless and we will refer to in 10 years’ time.

I also enjoyed Alyx by Matthew Williams in Paris, and I think this collection embodies what is cool and popular but with a certain level of process and execution behind it.

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Martine Rose spring 19

I really loved Martine Rose, Xander Zhou, Kiko Kostadinov, A Cold Wall, Cottweiler and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, all from London, because each one of them went for something so diverse and they have managed to create their own aesthetic and language, and are unafraid to be different from everyone else.

Have you seen a growing importance of Pitti?

I think Pitti is doing an excellent job balancing commercial success and becoming the platform to showcasethe most important designers as official guests each season. Unfortunately, I missed Pitti this season and, with it, one of the most beautiful shows by Craig Green.

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