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Menswear autumn 11

Laura Weir

The autumn 11 season is again underpinned by a strong outerwear and heritage direction, often characterised by hand-finished detailing.

The watchwords for the season are quality and purity, and menswear buyers should be looking hard at fabrication and construction to help conceal from their customers the unavoidable price rises on the shopfloor.

This is good news for the British fashion industry in that its traditional tweeds are making a major comeback, while the season’s suiting has a definite Savile Row twist to it.

In tailoring, the most exciting theme for autumn 11 is the bold return of the double-breasted suit, with its boxy silhouette and retro styling. The idea of dressing up and dressing better is translating back into the menswear zeitgeist, thanks in part to the exposure of the well-dressed Don Draper character in Mad Men, young bands like Hurts and actors such as A Single Man’s Nicholas Hoult who purvey elegance on and off screen and stage. Flannel suits, velvet, slim-cut trousers and single-breasted jackets straddle the formal and casual collections, while coarse tweeds and jaunty checks offer fashion-forward customers mix-and-match pieces.

Meanwhile, the brands that feature over the next 47 pages have placed huge emphasis on fending off the elements. Knitwear is chunky and oversized and, in some cases, also functions as outerwear, with details such as detachable hoods and duffle toggles on shawl-neck cardigans. Heavy parkas, duffle coats and technical and performance-led outerwear are inspired by geographical exploration and adventure - think Ernest Shackleton - a bold theme that runs through many menswear collections this season, and reflects the brave nature with which autumn should be approached.

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