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Menswear: Trends from the Spring/Summer 2019 catwalks

The menswear collections for the Spring/Summer 2019 presented in London, Florence, Milan and Paris from June 8 to 24 showcased ten main trends, strongly inspired by the streetwear and sportswear moods dominant in the last few years. The tracksuit has become the new staple, as men’s wardrobes continue to change, and are increasingly pervaded by a lighter, more casual mood in which sport and performance items play more and more of a role, with a special focus on tech materials.

Plastic fantastic Many designers have done their best to heighten consumer awareness about the dangers of environmental pollution, campaigning to defend the oceans from the scourge of plastic waste (Facetasm notably used plastic bags tied around the wrists like bracelets). But much still needs to be done, judging from the widespread use of PVC and plastic materials on the catwalks. For example, the venue of the Prada show was entirely upholstered in plastic and was furnished with PVC pouffes. Whether transparent or shiny, rigid or soft, and featured by many labels using a sustainable, recycling-based approach, plastic is especially attractive to designers for its innovative, futuristic feel. Beyond the transparent outerwear introduced in recent seasons, the whole wardrobe has now been taken over by plastic in its many guises, from vinyl to waxed fabrics, polyester, silicon, rubber and other types of neoprene. Not to mention accessories, such as the oversize plastic chains seen at Louis Vuitton, Undercover and Maison Mihara Yasuhiro.

The maxi jacket The trend for oversized volumes borrowed from streetwear, introduced in recent seasons, is here to stay, though featuring more moderate proportions. It was evident in a spate of ample-shouldered, thigh-length jackets, the ideal armour for men to face an increasingly competitive world with. For next summer, these jackets will be ideally worn belted at the waist. Elsewhere, the XXL vogue was illustrated by generously proportioned comfy trousers and especially by maxi shirts that looked more like tunics. The hunting vest The protection theme glimpsed last winter was even more firmly entrenched, together with the need to handle every possible situation in an increasingly nomadic life. Men must be free to move and travel without hindrance, carrying all they need with them, as tents and other gear become part of their apparel (Rick Owens, Cottweiler).

This translated into hyper-equipped outerwear, notably cargo pants fitted with all kinds of pockets and even ammo belts. The hunting vest is however the best embodiment of this trend, and explorer gilets were ubiquitous, as well as life-jackets (in orange and yellow at Louis Vuitton), ballistic vests (Sankuanz) and skydiver jackets (Junya Watanabe).

The great return of the man-bag The small-sized men’s handbag, halfway between a pouch and a satchel and designed to hold the barest travel necessities, is making a great come-back. It was very popular in the 1970s, then fell out of fashion and into oblivion, but it is well on its way to becoming the new ‘it’ men’s accessory, slung across the shoulder, snugly fitting under the arm, or clipped to a chain around the neck. Another trending item is the micro-pouch, like a purse or a passport holder, worn at the chest attached to a string around the neck. Shorts The must-have item in every man’s suitcase next summer! Shorts were truly omnipresent, an accepted part of the majority of outfits, both for the day time and evening. Thanks also to the football World Cup, shorts inspired many a designer, especially in the ample, comfy footballer or even football referee version (Represent).

In other sport-themed versions, there were cycling shorts, tennis shorts, short surfing wetsuits and micro running shorts. Prada featured a new take on the figure-hugging micro swimming trunks, decorated with vintage prints. Shorts are also ideal to add a cheeky edge to outfits, worn on top of other shorts or over a pair of trousers for a trompe-l’œil effect. Not to mention Bermuda shorts worn with jackets or streetwear outfits.

The wind-breaker This item has been uber-popular for several seasons, thanks to the success of nylon and durable tech fabrics. It will be a must-have item for next summer’s wardrobe, preferably in the classic version with kangaroo pocket. Fashion labels presented wind-breakers in all shapes and sizes, in an array of different materials.