This year, brands seem to gravitate toward understated luxury for their men’s lines.
Men’s Autumn-Winter collections started the year off, with many brands continuing the trend of holding online shows as a way of evolving with the times. I can’t help but notice that a lot of the brands are taking on a more subdued take on presentation, and I find myself gravitating to labels that are a little more conservative.
The pandemic and the crisis that the world is going has made flashy branding as a whole feel gauche. Now brand are going for “quiet luxury.” This is clothing whose quality does not scream from afar but whose quality and craftsmanship could be observed and appreciated from up close. They connect more to the wearers, as they speak to them personally and is not about impressing people who see it. No guilt, no excess.
Here are my favorite quiet luxury brands from the Men’s A/W 2021 Collections:
The visually engaging presentation of Hermes Men’s A/W collection is characterized with simplicity and dynamism, done in an exquisite, chic, and classy. Clothes and accessories are generally in earthy and yet dynamic tones combined with zesty colors of blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, and pink.
The silhouettes exude comfort, delicately volumized, and slouchy-panted suiting, and the details are both functional and decorative reinforcing the idea of an elevated workwear. Aside from colors, the collection was combined with checkered prints, stripes that both appear in tops and pants.
Props to Kim Jones as he has been consistently presenting collections that further elevate Dior’s prominence in the luxury market. This recent line is glamourous, presented with youthful and playful details, silhouettes, and patterns that could be seen in the likes of gilded embroidered coats, military-influenced jackets, hats and star-buttoned suits, and 90s tailored trousers.
The palette is a mix of monotones with accents of yellow and orange, but as a whole the collection balances dark and light hues over casual and luxurious street wearable outer garments. Save for the bags, the pieces are not branded or monogrammed with labels. Jones neatly weaves his collections back to the heritage of Christian Dior.
Perhaps an off-shoot of the pandemic, the collection is defined by its connection to the sense of touch, the feeling of warmth and relaxation. To put it simply, it is comfort-wear married with elongated tailoring, featuring fluid over shirts, roomy knitwear tops, and other breathable, roomy pieces.
These subtle details within the collection add panache. Despite making use of muted colors that somewhat enhances the lonely and longing feel of the collection, it still communicates a feeling of snug familiarity.
Dries Van Noten
This collection was about going back to menswear staples, and exploring the function of these pieces and how they relate to present times. Noticeably, the jacket skirts and hoody hems were lengthened, shirts were elongated into dress-like silhouettes, with high waist pants and widened shorts.
According to Van Noten, the jackets were made in the lightest possible wool to make it feel loose. Ultra-light duchesse cotton from womenswear were also used as a suiting material. The ensembles were paired with slouchy, puffy, elastic backed moccasins topped with gaiter-like leg warmers. Indeed the collection was built around the concept of reimagining essentials.
The Italian brand’s men’s a/w 2021 collection was co-created by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. One interesting piece that stood out for me was the garment knit long john, whose patterns were sometimes art deco and sometimes something else. The collection’s wide foundation included sleeve-hooked suiting, oversized re-nylon parkas with jacquard linings, oversized bombers, high-collared, and lapel-less pea coats.
The branding is subtle enough that the Prada hardware logo appears at the top of the spine of the parkas and bombers. (I particularly love the purselets attached to the leather gloves.) The collection played black against other colored pattern tones, spicing up the collection.
This story can be found in Volume 1 of Lifestyle Asia 2021.