A grocery-run fit courtesy of Balenciaga.

If you haven’t already noticed, pre-collections are becoming a big deal in menswear. We recently witnessed Louis Vuitton’s first-ever pre-autumn runway show—a 64-look sophomore collection by creative director Pharrell Williams. Dior Men is also set to showcase its Pre-Autumn 2024 collection in Hong Kong next year, having successively travelled the globe to stage runway shows for its pre-collections.

Pre-collection runway shows have typically been a womenswear tradition, and it makes sense given the much more robust womenswear market. But we like new, shiny things too and luxury brands are noticing that we’re just as easily bored by the same assortment in boutiques lasting for a six-month period. The pomp and circumstance of a runway show helps to drum up even more excitement for a collection that’s designed to be a commercial filler before the arrival of the main seasonal collection.

The trick to making sure that you are not simply purchasing something from a pre-collection for the sake of filling up an empty slot in your wardrobe (or your heart; time for therapy, my man) is to gravitate towards pieces that traipse the line between classic and fashion-forward. There’s no point in getting a beefed-up version of something familiar only to shelve it because it’s not one you’d wear for more than a photo op.

From Dior Men to Loewe, here are the things to go for if you want to make smart consumer choices. It’s giving I-love-new-things-but-I’m-curated energy.

Sticker feature

Balenciaga’s push for an oversized everything aesthetic has become part of Demna’s oeuvre ever since he took on the role as creative director of the fashion house. And it’s a look that has been employed throughout the House, from ready-to-wear to couture. This consistency means that any Balenciaga piece could very easily transcend the season because of its timeless design that’s part of an overarching narrative.

For Balenciaga’s Spring 2024 collection, the range is wide with everything from casual separates to more formal albeit avant-garde tailoring. There’s even the now-viral Towel-Skirt—essentially a skirt layer that resembles a towel—in the mix. But it is the cheekily designed denim coordinates that deserve serious attention.

Balenciaga’s cheeky update to denim staples is genius when it comes
to fashion that will transcend seasons.

The Denim Size Sticker jacket and trousers are deliciously baggy but in a way that still retains some semblance of tailoring. You definitely won’t look like you’re drowning in them. They’re also made from washed denim to give that decidedly worn look. The main draw however—and one that gives each piece its name—is the addition of a size sticker (the kind you’d find on mass-produced denims and certain other types of clothing) featured both as a print and an embellishment.

It’s not about displaying the size of your denims to every passerby; it’s about having a smidgen of stupid fun in a piece that you’d easily wear every single day. A good, oversized denim jacket may be hard to find, and these Balenciaga options make the wardrobe staple a bit more interesting.

Crafted mini

The art of craft is central to the design ethos of Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe. Whether that’s done by
exploring the boundaries of the house’s own artisans or collaborating and introducing craftsmanship techniques externally, Loewe’s collaborations are often teeming with the new ideas that still look and feel exclusively Loewe.

Its latest collaborative effort for the season comes in the form of a partnership with Suna Fujita. The Kyoto-based ceramic studio’s work dabbles in interpreting childhood memories and richly imaginative characters and scenes that are then painted onto their ceramic creations. These characters include a menagerie of animals such as pandas, penguins, lemurs, otters and more.

A group of hidden lemurs...
...or a family of shy pandas.

For Loewe, these artworks are translated in a number of ways from glass ornaments to plush fobs to embellishments on knitwear. The easiest to incorporate—and one you’d want to keep for a verylong time—is the collaboration’s take on Loewe’s classic Flamenco clutch.

The Loewe x Suna Fujita Flamenco clutch comes in a mini size in two different variations. From the outside, the Flamenco clutch looks exactly like the original with either the Bottle Green- or Oak-coloured option. The beauty is hidden inside: the former features a family of pandas, while the Oak-coloured version captures a playful scene of a trio of lemurs. The printed motifs are also replicated on the lining of each design for visuals that only the user will be privy to.

Kingly fits

A statement piece you'd want to bust out for every special occasion.
Alexander McQueen's cutting perfection.

There are quite a few things that Alexander McQueen is known for, and one of them is dramatic flair. It’s apparent in every single facet of the brand’s design. Suiting is no mere average affair—the make employs traditional savoir-faire but elevated to perfection with awe-inspiring embellishments and impeccable cuts.

A dragonfly crafted from crystal embroidery is featured prominently on a black wool double-breasted
blazer paired with double-pleated wide-legged trousers—the latter is perfectly cut and a departure from the brand’s proclivity for more fitted bottom silhouettes. For a more pared back alternative, a fitted waistcoat is tastefully decorated with a dragonfly brooch, exuding a contemporary sense of regality.

A khaki-and-nylon combination that plays up the utilitarian aspect of the update.
Classic black is always an elegant option, nylon or not.

In addition to tailoring made for the modern king, Alexander McQueen’s signature Jewelled
Satchel too has been updated. While the jewelled embellishments remain as key elements of accessory-meets-functional-bag, the satchel’s body has been interpreted in nylon with a webbing strap. The Nylon Jewelled Satchel is definitely hardier and less precious in nature as compared to its leather predecessors, but captures a beautiful juxtaposition between utilitarian functionality and luxury. Basically, you can simply wipe moisture right off after an accidental spill.

Life's a costume

Every Kim Jones-directed Dior Men collection is a masterclass in styling. Yes, the foundations of his ready-to-wear collections are meticulously crafted with such refined elegance. But the styling is what pulls everything together and makes every single look desirable.

If you’re already a Dior Men fan, you would probably own a number of the House’s contemporary tailoring, some casual denims, and perhaps a slew of accessories including the classic reworked Saddle bag for men. Level up a few notches with the Dior Men Spring 2024 collection’s selection of costume jewellery.

What sets the costume jewellery apart this pre-collection is the varied selection available. Classics such as the CD Icon series of chains, rings and earrings remain, coming in with bejewelled permutations and lengths. The collection’s more exceptional pieces come in the form of motifs inspired by the Buffalo movement of the ’80s. Adorned with crystals are a variety of star-shaped motifs that capture the rebellious spirit of the movement. The designs are interpreted as brooches, earrings, pendants and even an impressive chain belt that features a combination of different motifs.

The distortion

Gucci’s Pre-Spring 2024 collection wasn’t designed by latest creative director Sabato De Sarno, but rather, by Gucci’s in-house collective of artisans. That, however, doesn’t mean that the collection isn’t without its bright sparks. In fact, the collection’s reimagining of the Horsebit 1955 bag is probably the freshest yet.

A signature refreshed.

The Horsebit 1955 bag is a Gucci classic. Crafted from sturdy leather, it’s boxy and rectangular with a roomy interior and topped with that signature Gucci Horsebit metal adornment positioned front and centre. The Pre-Spring 2024 interpretation skews and distorts the proportions of the original, resulting in a piece that’s spellbindingly odd in the best way possible. See, the thing about the original is that, while it’s a classic shape that’s easily paired with just about anything, there’s very little to be excited about. The reimagining cleverly creates an asymmetric construction that tapers to the side. The genius comes with the attention to detail: the size of the D-ring on the shorter end of the bag’s side is also significantly smaller than its counterpart.

There’s hardly any indication that De Sarno may adopt the design as part of his vision. So if anything, this is one piece to cherish because it probably won’t be reproduced anytime soon.

Weaving in

Not many things are as discreet yet instantly recognisable in fashion as Bottega Veneta’s Intrecciato technique. The weaving of leather strips to form the basis of a range of creations has been the house’s key leitmotif, the attempt to do so by other would often immediately be thought of as a copy.

Haddock lace-ups.
Large Andiamo in Space.
Large Andiamo in Ribbon.
Large Andiamo in Mud.

Creative director Matthieu Blazy’s more modern interpretations of the technique has resulted in a number of pieces that have challenged the limitations of the Intrecciato. For starters, the Andiamo has quickly become one of the House’s icons. Already seen on the fashion-forward Jacob Elordi, the latest iterations of the Andiamo bag focuses on the bag’s genderless quality. The large Andiamo bags now come in new colours ranging from a pale pink shade to a deeper maroon hue that makes for a roomy work bag. It’s a top-handle style that also comes with a knotted crossbody strap for added versatility.

If you’re looking for new footwear additions, then consider the Haddock lace-ups that are the way to go. Rendered in all black, it’s realised in an allover Intrecciato technique that definitely elevates the look of a traditional lace-up. And of course, a pair that really does all the talking without needing to scream.

Fired up

Just like the Gucci Pre-Spring 2024 collection, Louis Vuitton’s was also designed in-house. Meant to be a standalone proposal, the collection is inspired by the bonfire as a universal symbol of unification—where people gather and connect. Hence, the entire collection is plenty of flame-inspired motifs executed using a number of different treatments.

We’re gravitating towards the burnt Monogram motifs apparent in some of the collection’s denim pieces. The Monogram is iconically Louis Vuitton and this interpretation of the motif adds a level of artistry.

Unique denims to covet from Louis Vuitton.

From a denim jacket to bermudas, each piece is handcrafted with a bleach flame effect. In order to achieve this, the denim is embellished with a velvety flock that’s burnt to reveal the allover Monogram motif of the denim. And because the burning is done individually per piece, the results vary and each piece is essentially unique to one another.

Outgoing Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton.
Photo by Getty Images

It's the official end of an era. Creative director Sarah Burton is parting ways from Alexander McQueen—a fashion house that she's worked for for close to three decades, of which the past 13 years had been at its creative helm.

"I am so proud of everything I've done and of my incredible team at Alexander McQueen. They are my family, and this has been my home for the past 26 years. I want to thank Francois-Henri Pinault for believing in me and offering me this amazing opportunity. Above all I want to thank Lee Alexander McQueen. He taught me so much and I am eternally grateful to him. I am looking forward to the future and my next chapter and will always carry this treasured time with me," reads Burton's statement.

The end of Burton's time with Alexander McQueen means that, for the first time, the creative reins could potentially be handed over to someone outside of Lee McQueen's circle. Before being appointed as creative director, Burton was considered to be McQueen's right-hand person and the only one possible to carry on the legacy of the house as well as its founder.

McQueen may be more famously known for his otherworldly and provocative creations on the runway (more so evident on his womenswear collections) but Savile Row techniques and constructions were key tenets of his menswear. Tailoring was often the foundation of every McQueen-designed Alexander McQueen menswear collection that were then embellished with disparate elements and flourishes. Burton continued the execution. Eventually, the menswear evolved in tandem with its womenswear counterpart, creating a cohesive vision that partly contributed to Alexander McQueen becoming one of Kering's big moneymakers.

Burton is scheduled to take her final bow during Paris Fashion Week later this month. But before that, we look back at her evolution of Alexander McQueen's menswear aesthetic to become the force of craftsmanship and creativity that we know today.

The beginning

Spring/Summer 2011
Autumn/Winter 2011
Spring/Summer 2012

The early collections of Burton's Alexander McQueen menswear focused on McQueen's Scottish roots as well as elements of Britishness. The silhouettes were kept quite conventional but often peppered with instances of exaggerated volume and deconstruction.

The use of nature-inspired motifs

Autumn/Winter 2012
Spring/Summer 2013

Flora and fauna were highly favoured elements of McQueen. Burton started incorporating them into the menswear universe through prints and embroidery—the former gave rise to insect wings that adorned suiting in a myriad of colours and combinations.

The pattern era

Autumn/Winter 2013
Spring/Summer 2014
Autumn/Winter 2014

Suiting and tailoring began to take a turn with conventional colours and minimalism substituted for mosaic-like prints as well as traditional jacquard and heritage patterns. This was the beginning of a more vibrant interpretation of tailoring.

The introduction of embellishments

Spring/Summer 2015
Autumn/Winter 2015

While embellishments weren't completely new for Alexander McQueen menswear, Burton began to include more metallic beading and embroidery—amping up the level of craftsmanship in the house's menswear pieces. They were starkly employed against dark fabrications and often juxtaposed with streamlined cuts.

The modernising of tailoring

Spring/Summer 2016
Autumn/Winter 2016
Spring/Summer 2017

Tailoring evolved to include bolder prints that seemed to envelope the entirety of a look. At the same time, Burton nipped waists and offered elegance in the form of cuttingly sharp tailoring.

The regality of British elements

Autumn/Winter 2017
Spring/Summer 2018
Autumn/Winter 2018

The house's Britishness was never lost, however. Opting to continuously include typically British motifs—elements of regimental military uniforms as well as fabrications—Burton grounded them with sneakers and more contemporary touches.

The heightening of craftsmanship

Spring/Summer 2019
Autumn/Winter 2019
Spring/Summer 2020

The level of craftsmanship exploded with embroidery becoming a key focus. Not only were they employed throughout each and every piece, they were styled with accessories and jewellery to match—a sort of more-is-more aesthetic that came across as haute-couture punk.

The adaptation of the everyday

Spring/Summer 2021
Pre-Autumn 2021
Autumn/Winter 2021

Sportier elements of dress were given the Alexander McQueen treatment of exploding sleeves and deconstructed-constructions. Everyday pieces like knitwear and function-first utilitywear took on avant-garde forms that added on to the creative vision of the house.

The blurring of gender lines

Spring/Summer 2022
Autumn/Winter 2022

Gender lines may not have been a consideration for any Alexander McQueen creation—pre- and post-McQueen—but it became increasingly evident with the inclusion of dress-like ensembles incorporated into menswear. Softer elements of flou became quite commonplace too, running in tandem with an increased focus on couture-level embellishments.

The Alexander McQueen now

Spring/Summer 2023
Autumn/Winter 2023
Spring/Summer 2024

Burton's final few menswear collections capture the essence of her time at Alexander McQueen. The blurring of gender, a steely focus on craft techniques as well tailoring at the heart of it all have been continuously refined. There's a certain element of timelessness to the creations, marked by distinctive leitmotifs—the harness and the streamlined silhouette, for example—that have become characteristically Alexander McQueen.

Photo by Miu Miu.
Photo by Miu Miu.
Photo by Miu Miu.

Miu Miu is keeping it in the family

Miu Miu's collaboration with New Balance continue to be one that's highly sought after by both women and men with feet size smaller than a 42 EUR. Its latest collaborative effort could potentially garner the same reception—this time with British luxury footwear brand Church's. The brand also happens to be part of Prada's group of brands, which could attest to why the two-piece Church's x Miu Miu collection—a pair of brogues and a pair of double-monks—look to be a seamless collaboration. The make of the shoes are rounder and broader than Church's originals, and are fitted with a sportier rubber sole. But unfortunately, for those of us 42 EUR-sized and above, these aren't meant for us.

The Church's x Miu Miu collection drops in Miu Miu boutiques from 6 September.

Yohji Yamamoto gets animated

Ground Y—the brainchild of acclaimed fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto—has collaborated with anime hub Crunchyroll on a limited edition collection of Hell's Paradise-inspired ready-to-wear. The collection stays true to Ground Y's ethos of genderless and ageless fashion with artfully done prints from the anime featured on oversized hoodies, shirts and more.

The Ground Y x Hell's Paradise collection is now available for pre-order.

Sharp tailoring and sinewy lines for Alexander McQueen

Momo Ndiaye. Photo by David Sims.
Karolina Spakowsi. Photo by David Sims.
Eva Green. Photo by David Sims.
Liu Wen. Photo by David Sims.
Naomi Campbell. Photo by David Sims.
Yseult. Photo by David Sims.
Eliott De Smedt Day. Photo by David Sims.
Elle Fanning. Photo by David Sims.

Both on and off the runway, Alexander McQueen is proving that its outré designs are made to fit a diverse range of individuals. The autumn/winter 2023 campaign exemplifies this with its cast that includes supermodel Naomi Campbell alongside male models Momo Ndiaye and Eliott De Smedt Day as well as French singer Yseult. While the collection showcases standout three-dimensional knits, its the tailoring—applied for both men and women—that truly shines, reflecting a sense of genderless styling codes.

New kid on the block

Photo by Louis Vuitton.

Following the announcement of fellow Stray Kids member Hyunjin as Versace's global ambassador, Louis Vuitton has taken in Felix as its newest house ambassador. The performer known for providing Stray Kids with deep, growly vocals, was previously seen attending Louis Vuitton's pre-autumn 2023 women's show in Seoul and had been dressed by the house for a number of the group's performances as well as appearances. In a statement, Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of women’s collections, praises Felix for "his energy, his unique personality and his audacious sense of style".

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