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Eclectic is the Next Normal: Notes from London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Week

Eclectic is the Next Normal: Notes from London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Week

There is a case to be made for expanding your style sensibilities, one hemline, collar, and color at a time.

The dust has settled on the runways of London, Paris, and Milan’s menswear shows. The European fashion capitals have all spoken on the styles for Spring/Summer 2022, and each city had their distinct points of view: London championed diversity, Paris gave in to hedonism, and Milan aspired for freedom.  

Before we delve into these shows further, a note on digital/phygital presentations: they’re getting better creatively (and admittedly, they’re pandering to our increasing eagerness to go out again). I have never been more excited to hit the beach in shorts and a leather jacket, light up the night and dance away in a splash of colors, or run away to the Italian countryside with a wardrobe full of relaxed workwear. While we wait for fashion week to return to full capacity, brands will have to continue pulling all the stops to create captivating phygital shows that immerse style savants into their vision of fashion’s post-pandemic future.

Theatrics and visuals aside, let’s focus on a few interesting style moments from the shows. While one can argue that the skin-baring moments, looser silhouettes, and myriad of colors (among other eclectic aesthetics) are a reaction to being cooped up for so long, there are cases to be made for some of these looks. Here are some style cues that we are excited about:

The short story

Shorts and summer are like bread and butter, and Prada elevates the simple garment even further—literally. With hemlines inching closer to heaven, the Italian fashion house mixes shorts and skorts with tailored coats, biker jackets, and hoodies.

On the other hand, Fendi’s cargo pockets are an interesting utilitarian detail on khaki and pastel-colored shorts. If you’re not into the leg-baring looks (or you’ve serially skipped leg days), take some notes from the looser, longer, and straight-cut outdoor-inspired shorts from Paul Smith.  We think that shorts will figure prominently in our wardrobes even after summer—offices may need to revisit their dress codes for men now.

Freeform and freedom

On the opposite end of the spectrum, baggier silhouettes enveloping the whole body seem to be less of a trend than a necessity. Think soft-tailored shirt-jackets paired with loose trousers from Tod’s, relaxed pants and linens from Wales Bonner, and wider, bigger sleeves from Ermenegildo Zegna.  

While ease of movement seems to take the spotlight away from structured, classic tailoring, we still maintain the relevance of the latter, especially if you’re new to oversized style. 

Knowing how clothes fit your body to a T will allow you to play with proportion and go beyond your sartorial boundaries, one yard of fabric at a time.

Happy feet

Sandals and slippers are bona fide summer staples, but the jury is still out on their rightful place alongside menswear classics—or, God forbid, socks. There are creative ways to get around this, like Qasimi’s tasteful color coordinations or Lanvin’s oversized slippers.

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With casual cool gaining more momentum, our money’s on the trend enduring for a couple of seasons and men getting more pedicures than usual.

Neck and neck

The tangled necklines of Y/Project’s braided knitwear seems gimmicky at first, but with a sports or leather jacket layered over them, they make for a unique and visually interesting look.

Rick Owens presented a more extreme, future-forward approach, complementing plunging necklines with hard metallic necklaces. Both may seem outlandish for everyday wear, but we’re all for more ways to add some flair to the neckline.

Color culture

Amid the sea of pastels, the colorful festival of prints, patterns, seams, and textures add diversity and pay homage to various cultural roots, references, and scenes, from Ahluwalia’s braid-inspired lines and embroidery to Loewe’s neon nightlife fantasy. These collections encourage us to proudly and vibrantly represent the communities we belong to with a colorful bang.

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