Before reading this second part of our deep dive into the Autumn/Winter 2023 menswear trends, read part one.
Forget about the former US President Barack Obama tan suit controversy—it was, quite honestly, no big deal and all partisan political agenda. Sure, the tan suit on a president known for wearing dark navies and blacks was a stark departure from the usual, but did it warrant a huge reaction from everyone from fashion critics to political pundits?
Let that not steer you away from tan suits. When done right (Obama’s was a touch big for his frame), it’s the perfect suiting option that traipses the line between formal and casual. Berluti’s classic fit, for example, is the kind that you’d want to wear with a turtleneck, or even a basic tank as exemplified by Louis Vuitton’s more beige-like option.
Fashion-forward individuals should look to Dior Men’s voluminous version that’s fitted with utilitarian arm warmers done in the same colour and material. and still exudes elegance with the perfectly constructed cut. Kenzo too follows the same thought process with a structured tan suit blazer paired with wide-legged trousers. The former is also cut boxy with lapels that mimic the detail of a traditional yukata.
Not many patterns out there denote the kind of regal elegance that the Prince of Wales check alludes to. Its entire history is rich with ties to royalty.
Just like the tan suit, the Prince of Wales check offers respite from the usual slate of suiting fabrics and colours. Sure, we’re hardly a suit-wearing society any more but why settle for the norm when you feel the need to bust one out?
While Celine’s iteration leaves the flourishes to a minimum, the fit is true to Hedi Slimane with a slim profile and strong shoulders. There’s no denying the rock-and-roll glamour, especially with how it’s styled—a fine example of how versatile the Prince of Wales check can be.
Gucci offers a modern take with transformable details that turn trousers into berms as well as shortened sleeves. In a similar vein of constructed deconstruction, Balenciaga’s Prince of Wales check coat is trimmed with the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2023 collection’s leitmotif of trousers as outerwear.
It’s Louis Vuitton that completely turns the pattern on its head. Like haphazard puzzle pieces, the Prince of Wales check has been broken down into separate pieces before reconstructed and left with raw edges intact. It’s manic but quite stunning to look at all the same.
There has been no shortage of fashion collaborations year after year. They’re so widespread now that it’s difficult to cut through the noise and stand out. Hence when a brand that rarely collaborates with another decides to do so, it’s likely to be noteworthy.
Zegna’s last big collaboration was also its first. It was an exceptionally well done effort with Fear of God that saw both brands’ aesthetics melded into one. Its latest collaboration is also with another Los Angeles-based brand, The Elder Statesman.
Unlike the Fear of God collaboration, Zegna x The Elder Statesman is part of Zegna’s Oasi Cashmere—a collection focusing on cashmere that the brand is aiming to be fully traceable by 2024. The entire collection is crafted from Oasis Cashmere but rendered in bold colours and prints that The Elder Statesman is known for. If you’ve been a follower of Zegna, you'll know artistic director Alessandro Sartori tends to favour a more monochromatic palette. This collaboration updates the tailored ease of Zegna with colours that one wouldn’t normally associate with the brand. Yet at the same time, it offers the same level of craftsmanship the brand is known for. And that, ladies and gents, is what a great collaboration is about.
Remember that episode of Friends—aptly named “The One with Joey’s Bag”—where Joey decided that a bag from Bloomingdale’s was befitting of his new style conceived by Rachel? “It is odd how a women's purse looks good on me, a man,” he opined. Alas, that feeling didn’t last all that long as people around him saw the leather tote bag as nothing more than feminine. Oh, the ’90s were such a different time.
Fast forward about 24 years later, the lines have been further blurred on what exactly constitutes a “women’s purse”. The tote bag that Joey sported is the norm by today’s standards. For Autumn/Winter 2023, the man-purse makes a return in shapes that recall the more typically feminine shoulder bag.
The Fendi Baguette bag may have been male-coded since the Autumn/Winter 2019 menswear collection, but its latest iterations stay close to the original. The functionality of this season’s Baguette for men are amped up with additional zipper details, refreshed with an oblong silhouette that remains true to the original. It’s even coupled with a short top handle meant to be worn on the shoulder.
Similar styles can be seen by brands the likes of Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent as well as Tod’s. Versace’s version comes in the form of a camera bag, while Gucci expands its repertoire of man-purses with with a pliable Dionysus messenger bag and a top-handle bamboo creation.