The collab between adidas and Australian fashion house Song for the Mute combines functions and looks. It may be trite but it must be doing something because this is their third team-up. For this new Song for the Mute x adidas 003 collection, Creative Director Lyna Ty reinterprets heritage silhouettes with modernist fabrication and detailing. This partnership oversees the reimagining of the iconic Country OG silhouette. This, as well as, a new apparel range that includes sportswear essentials. 

At the heart of this collection lies the reinterpreted Country OG silhouette. Now dubbed simply as the “SFTM-003”, it is available in three 90’s inspired colourways. You've grey and teal, those hues are reminiscent of vintage windbreakers, and finally, in black. Each pair arrives with an additional metallic D-ring hardware combined with a custom paracord-inspired toggle lacing system. A perfect synergy and a nod to "futuristic nostalgia". Keeping to its roots, the kicks retain its beloved soft cushioning, grippy outsole and low-profile build. Finally, to cap it off, the flexible leather upper blends everyday comfort with an elevated look.

The Apparel

Sherpa fleece zip-up jackets with digital printed contrast sleeves
Distressed jersey hoodie, press-stud track pants in a lightweight coated cotton
Custom jacquard knitwear with intricate contrasting colour-work
Custom jacquard knitwear with intricate contrasting colour-work

As for the collaborative apparel essentials, Ty dabbles in new textile directions and techniques in the apparel range. You've your sherpa fleece zip-up jackets that's accompanied by digital printed contrast sleeves. There are distressed jersey hoodies, an oversized blazer and press-stud track pants in a lightweight coated cotton. Rounding up the range is a custom jacquard knitwear that comes with an intricate contrasting colour-work.

Song for the Mute x adidas 003 is readily available at adidas Brand Centre Orchard, adidas VivoCity Originals B1 as well as online and the adidas CONFIRMED App.

With the release of Dune: Part Two right around the corner, the cast has been on a press tour the world over. There's no denying that they're taking the fashion seriously too. From red carpet premieres to photocalls, Timothée Chalamet and Austin Butler—portraying Paul Atreides and newly introduced Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, respectively—have been showcasing a diverse array of looks. Each outfit chosen had been statements in their own right, and are deserving of as much hype as the movie itself.

CinemaCon 2023

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At CinemaCon 2023, Chalamet was decked out in a grungy look as he wore an edgy leather vest by Helmut Lang over a white T-shirt and skinny leather motorcycle trousers with built-in knee pads. To finish off the biker aesthetic, a pair of pointed black leather boots was the footwear of choice.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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At the casts’ appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Chalamet's edgy outfit consisted of a sleeveless black sweatshirt with grommet detailing by Junya Watanabe x Stüssy, leather trousers from Alexander McQueen and black boots. However, he switched things up with a cozy knit from Hermès during the taping.

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Butler arrived in a black unbuttoned shirt, wearing a matching black pinstriped suit over, and boots. He also had on a thin silver chain necklace, proving that it's what one needs to complete any suit look.

Mexico City photocall

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Chalamet wore a sleeveless calf hair top from Hermès' yet-to-be-released Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection, matched with trousers and chunky leather boots. Butler, on the other hand, opted for something a little more relaxed with a simple white T-shirt under a grey unbuttoned three-piece by Givenchy.

Mexico City premiere

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The duo kept it smart in Mexico City. Chalamet wore a custom Prada suit and a black poplin v-neck shirt with what is decidedly his more experimental look thus far. The blazer was tucked in and accessorised with a double tour Prada belt.

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Butler rocked a striking pinstripe suit from Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2024 ready-to-wear collection with cutting shoulders. Completing the look, he opted for a gold-buckled belt—not too excessive but also not too modest.

Paris photocall

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In Paris, the Dune lead stayed rather safe with a black turtleneck and sleek leather pants (notably a recurring trend with the actor) from Bottega Veneta's Spring/Summer 2023 collection. Cartier jewellery and a pair of Oliver Peoples sunglasses completed the easy look.

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Butler exuded effortless style in a monochromatic Fear of God ensemble, featuring loose-fit clothing with relaxed shoulders—a departure from his usual tailored suits. He completed the look with understated David Yurman jewellery.

Paris premiere

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Chalamet wore a custom shiny metal breastplate from Givenchy with a graphic turtleneck. He had also worn a black wool jacket featuring a notch lapel with matching wool trousers. Cartier accessories such as a platinum Cintrée timepieces from the Rééditions collection and a sizeable silver ring.

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Butler dressed smart in yet another Louis Vuitton ensemble, which consisted of a sharply tailored black jacket over a crisp white dress shirt, and a striking pair of flared pants reminiscent of the '70s. He kept it easy with a pair of black dress shoes, and a ring for a little hint of jewellery.

London photocall

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Chalamet's fish scale wool sweater was from Bottega Veneta’s women’s collection, reiterating that clothing has no gender. And if his legs looked longer than usual, that's all thanks to the chocolate brown leather pants matched with a set of Ripley Boots by Bottega Veneta as well.

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Butler was wearing a custom three-piece double-breasted suit by Louis Vuitton in an offbeat shade of grey. The unusually wide-lapel blazer and waistcoat, once again, blends a sense of timelessness with a contemporary twist that Butler tends to favour.

London premiere

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Chalamet reunited with designer Haider Ackermann, donning on metallic trousers that were difficult to not miss, and paired with an oversized black shirt. For accessories, he wore a custom Cartier necklace featuring invert-set diamonds in orange, yellow, brown, and white hues, designed to mimic the desert landscape in Dune.

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Butler's penchant for tailoring saw him taking on a black Sabato de Sarno for Gucci overcoat paired with a white vest. It's perhaps simple in execution but sleek and dramatic all the same.

Seoul photocall and press conference

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Chalamet was seen sporting powdery blue overalls from South Korean designer Juun.J's Spring/Summer 2024 collection, in a deliberate move to twin with fellow lead Zendaya. He finished off the look with simple silver necklaces and a pair of Chelsea boots in the same exact shade, sticking true to the runway look.

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Butler was also dressed in blue, opting for a Valentino suit with a silk shirt of a lighter shade. But instead of keeping to the monochromatic tones of the clothes, the footwear of choice was a black pair of dress shoes. A silver necklace completed the entire look.

Seoul premiere

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For Seoul's premiere, Chalamet chose a sleek white suit paired with black leather boots, both courtesy of Gucci. Continuing his partnership with Cartier, he wore a single Cartier diamond necklace for a touch of elegance—just one of his many moments with the luxury brand throughout the press tour.

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Butler kept it classic with a black pinstriped double-breasted suit layered over a white dress shirt, matching the entire ensemble with a black tie and black dress shoes.

Dune: Part Two will show in cinemas on 29 February 2024.

Many things come and go (and come again) in fashion. Yet, the elegance of formal menswear continues to stand the test of time. One may argue that there’s less of a need to be decked out in a full suit these days. But that doesn’t mean that the category has been rendered completely obsolete.

Louis Vuitton’s latest "New Formal" menswear collection reiterates the fusion of timeless elegance with modern tailoring. elevating formal staples with luxury craftsmanship. Following the Spring/Summer 2024 debut, this latest trans-seasonal instalment places a spotlight on slim suiting. Single-breasted jackets are paired with cigarette trousers for a timeless silhouette. It exudes an air of confidence and refined professonalism. Apart from being available in classic shades of black and navy, an option in white makes for the perfect fit for an evening soirée.

The Damier motif that’s been further emphasised by Louis Vuitton men’s creative director Pharrell Williams adorns everything from suiting to footwear. With a wavy motif and pinstripes cut on the bias, it add a subtle, dynamic flair. As if one needs more examples on how this isn’t your father’s idea of tailoring. Footwear styles such as the Sorbonne loafers, Varenne Chelsea boots and Richelieus in rich leather tones complement the tailored options. They prove to be key staples of the “New Formal” collection.

Formality here, however, isn’t just defined by suiting. This new instalment expands the idea of formalwear with tailored outerwear that act as complementary, timeless options. An elegant navy suede leather blouson, a beige peacoat designed with a shearling collar, as well as a parka constructed as a three-in-one piece, all offer the kind of versatility one would expect from a collection meant to be an indispensable investment. Wear them with the extensive coordinated options of the “New Formal” tailoring. Or pair them with other more casual wardrobe staples for an elegant quick-fix.

Iconic bag styles like the Keepall travel bag and the Aerogram Lock It tote suit every professional need. The Georges tote—introduced in the first instalment—makes a return as it becomes an emblem for the collection. Crafted in Millésime grained leather by Domaine des Massifs, the design is sleek, stylish, and hardy such that it makes for a brilliant alternative to an ordinary briefcase.

The suit is dead, long live the suit.

The latest Louis Vuitton "New Formal" collection is now available in Louis Vuitton boutiques and online.

Edited by Asri Jasman

Nostalagia hit the runway at the Burberry Winter 2024 show. Not only was the show's soundtrack a selection of Amy Winehouse's songs—"You Know I'm No Good", "In My Bed", "Half Time", and "Back to Black"—the show was opened by Agnyess Deyn. And if you were in your teens in the 2000s like me, Deyn would be a familiar name and figure—an English model known for her platinum blonde pixie cut and a fashion inspiration for girls and boys of the time.

The fashion served a similar platter of nostalgia. Chief creative officer Daniel Lee refocused his attention towards the military heritage of Burberry for the Winter 2024 collection with a colour palette that captured the earthy tones of the outdoors. Now that the new brand signifiers have been put in place—the Equestrian Knight Design, the Burberry knight blue and key bags emblematic of Lee's creative direction—its the coats that were reworked with a further military slant.

The fit: Trench coats took on new forms both in silhouette as well as the way they were worn. Instead of belting to accentuate the waist, the belt was tied from the back for a more minimal front. The collar was turned up and buttoned up to create a funnel neck (practical for the colder seasons). The trench coats were also dressed with the oversized epaulettes that were first introduced in Lee's debut collection for Burberry, as well as new keyring hardware that zipped up the front of the coat to the storm flap. The latter an example of Lee's penchant for decorative hardware at Burberry.

There was a decidedly oversized silhouette employed throughout the collection, exuding a sense of warmth and protection that Lee intended. But also, an extension of a signature British aesthetic prevalent on the streets.

Duffle coats and field jackets took on more voluminous forms as they were either crafted from fleecy wool or trimmed with a burst of braided fringing. Zippers on these outerwear were extended to trousers too, with each side consisting of three zipper pulls to allow for creative manipulation. They're reminiscent of those trackpants lined with buttons along the sides that were a big part of the noughties, but here, the attention was front and centre.

The details: On the bags front, a variation of the Trench Tote bag seemed to be a key push. Constructed with zippered sides, they were available in a number of materials with the standout being the ones featuring the Burberry check. And if I'm being honest, a more superior version that the original. The Shield bag, on the other hand, received a more functional upgrade with an exterior compartment.

While the knight blue wasn't part of the colour palette, it wasn't completely stripped from the Burberry Winter 2024 collection—its Lee's coloured signifier for the brand, after all. With every step of each model, the colour peeked through from the soles of every footwear. Not that we need to be reminded of how much that colour is now a part of Burberry (there's a whole knight blue takeover of Harrods that's still going on), but perhaps it's one of those subliminal messaging cleverly employed.

Three exceptional looks: Look 7 had the makings of being the next go-to fit for every British renegade youth; the easy and comfort-first look 19 with that plush mustard vest; and look 48's moleskin trench that's cool in every way.

The takeaway: I'm inclined to say that this is the best Lee for Burberry collection yet.

View the full Burberry Winter 2024 collection in the gallery below.

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At the recently concluded Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear runway show during Paris Fashion Week Men's, BamBam was one of many celebrity attendees. The Thai-born singer and rapper of K-pop group GOT7 easily stood out with his red hair and Pharrell Williams-designed fit. Wearing look 9 from the Maison's Spring/Summer 2024 menswear collection, BamBam (like the style savant that he is) put his own spin by opting for black trousers instead of shorts, heavy-duty boots, and finished it off with pearl accessories.

His presence at the show was quite a social media hit. The hashtag #BamBamXLVFW24—an unofficial, fanbase-initiated hashtag—amassed over 2.1 million posts on various platforms. It's little wonder that weeks after the show, BamBam was officially announced as Louis Vuitton's newest house ambassador. "I am super happy to join Louis Vuitton as a house ambassador this time," BamBam says in an announcement video. "What Pharrell is doing here is amazing. I'm super honoured to be part of it."

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The appointment is made sweeter as not only is BamBam now part of Louis Vuitton's illustrious list of ambassadors, he also joins fellow bandmate, Jackson Wang, who has been part of the fold since 2023. Wang was even one of the faces of the Maison's "Horizons Never End" campaign that centred on its spirit of travel. It may be too soon to say for sure if BamBam will be featured in an upcoming campaign, but given his pull and reach, we'd say the chances of one is quite likely. In an official press release, Louis Vuitton has already hinted on "an exciting collaborative journey".

This road to an house ambassadorship with Louis Vuitton, however, was a longtime coming. BamBam had already been wearing Louis Vuitton on a number of occasions years before. And while it's common for those in the K-pop sphere to wear the newest threads from the big fashion houses, Louis Vuitton seemed to be quite a prominent fixture in BamBam's roster of brands.

BamBam in a Louis Vuitton suit for his first mini-album in 2021.
A Nicholas Ghesquière-designed Louis Vuitton womenswear look.
From a Louis Vuitton ring...
...to a Louis Vuitton bag.
Repping the new Pharell Williams-era Speedy.

In 2021, he wore a Louis Vuitton suit featuring a watercolour version of its famed Monogram for the music video of "riBBon" that's part of his first mini-album. The musician even wore a Nicholas Ghesquière-designed Spring/Summer 2022 womenswear look the very same year, proving that the man can rock just about anything from the Maison's universe. Throughout the year and years since, BamBam frequently repped Louis Vuitton—from jewellery to bags to ready-to-wear—in a number of magazine editorials, appearances as well as performances.

He made his first Louis Vuitton runway appearance at Williams' debut show, where he was visibly overjoyed to be reunited with Wang. And simply put, that moment became the turning point in his relationship with the Maison. Not only was he deserving of a spot on the front row of one of fashion's biggest moment that season, it was an official recognition of BamBam as a worthy ambassador of the Maison's new chapter.

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And to have it happen after celebrating 10 years of with GOT7, we reckon BamBam as a style icon is about to get more traction.

Edited by Asri Jasman

Givenchy

The fit: The Givenchy Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear show was an intimate one. Held salon-style at its Parisian headquarters, the collection was designed by the Givenchy studio—Matthew M. Williams' final collection was for Pre-Autumn 2024. To be honest, even without the hand of a known creative director, the Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection felt a lot more refined with just enough injections of playful modern nuances.

The entire collection was based on founder Hubert de Givenchy's personal wardrobe with elements that he had a penchant for. The use of the colour sapphire, for example, was adopted because de Givenchy adored it as a replacement for black, while cut up armholes of outerwear were an ode to his penchant for capes. Tailoring was central to the collection—although trousers could have done with a little bit of length adjustments but I'm just nitpicking—with suits and tailored outerwear making up a bulk of the collection. And in true Givenchy style, the shoulders were strong and cutting.

The details: Fun came with the way that an archival cat motif was incorporated into some of the looks. It was done tongue-in-cheek as a oversized parka that featured a number of the cat faces seemingly drowning in their own fur, and in another, the fur took on the form of a shearling jacket-cape hybrid. In look 18, it became a mini shearling crossbody that was paired with a tank featuring the print.

What was quite a stunner, especially up close, was the closing look's jacket. Beautifully ornate, the jacket was a reminder of the kind of craftsmanship that the design studio is capable of, and one that had been sorely missed on the runways.

Three exceptional looks: Look 2's interpretation of the studio's blouse blanche as a workwear staple; the double cardigan styling of look 13; and the closing look.

The takeaway: Not all luxury fashion houses need to infuse some semblance of streetwear into their designs.

View the full Givenchy Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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Sean Suen

The fit: Within the realm of menswear tailoring, the structures and limits are palpable, owing to the time-honoured techniques of not only constructing a suit, but also in the idea of tailoring as a garment of authority. Chinese designer Sean Suen recognises this. His eponymous label's Autumn/Winter 2024 collection—and also, pretty much his entire repertoire thus far—tapped on the conventions of tailoring by referencing the period where Western tailoring began being adopted by the East.

There's an undeniably rebellious take on tailoring, and I'm not even talking about the one look where the model revealed some derrière. Traditional menswear silhouettes were deconstructed before being spliced together, creating asymmetrical shapes that formed beautiful drapes. At the heart of it was a '50s-led reference with wide ties and geometric prints indicative of the period.

The details: While the tailoring was, in every sense, contemporary, Suen included mandarin-collared suiting. But of course, they were also rendered in more contemporary styles—the first outing saw elongated sleeves with an oversized bodice with equally oversized patch pockets.

On a number of looks, Suen piled on the waistbands. On a number of occasions, they took on the appearance of a visible ribbed knit layer (akin to that play of visible boxer waistbands) while others were more literal interpretations of a double layer of trouser waistbands.

Three exceptional looks: Look 2 and its spliced collar and draped asymmetry; the obvious old-school reference of look 11 but made fresh; and the regality of look 27 that had tie bars used as lapel pins.

The takeaway: There are always ways to move around the preconceived confines of menswear, and Sean Suen is becoming quite a master at it.

View the full Sean Suen Autumn/Winter 2024 collection in the gallery below.

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Dries Van Noten

The fit: Dries Van Noten can do no wrong in my eyes. There's consistency in his design aesthetic—you can definitely tell a Dries Van Noten piece even with the brand steering away from obvious logos and branding—but Papa Dries offers something new every season.

For Autumn/Winter 2024, the man known for his play with prints and proportions, kicked things off with a string of dark tailored looks. Each felt different and at times disjointed from the one before—yet that was the unifying narrative. The collection was a play in the unexpected and of juxtaposition. There was no telling what the next look would be as he moved from a cuttingly tailored suit worn almost rock-and-roll-like with a fringed, long scarf, to a deconstructed jumper worn over a languid, long coat.

As the darks became increasingly punctuated by textures and infusions of muted colours, Papa Dries revealed a sudden spate of his signature prints and colour-blocking. But at the same time, they remained washed and pared back in intensity.

The details: There was a studied use of garments in non-traditional ways. Jumpers were worn either unzipped from the side or completely cropped with zippered hems. Leather was used as mock-neck tops, while shirting and a number of jackets were fastened with brooches and pins for a rakish drape that was simply sublime. Long opera-like gloves took on many different forms and added edge to some of the simplest tailoring and combinations in the collection.

But at the end of it all, everything was wearable—a key Dries Van Noten element.

Three exceptional looks: Look 9 that I honestly wanted to wear right there and then off the runway; look 24's brilliant use of textures and draping; and look 53 that's a combination of both.

The takeaway: Whatever Papa Dries has been doing to keep his creativity constantly fresh yet consistent, I want it.

View the full Dries Van Noten Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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Kenzo

The fit: Kenzo was my last show for day four of Paris Fashion Week Men's and after a rather exhausting day, it personally wasn't as exciting as it ought to be in the moment. The venue was spectacular, however. Held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the space offered a brilliant backdrop for an Autumn/Winter 2024 collection themed around the cross-cultural exchange of the origins of the fictional universe of the Star Wars franchise.

Thankfully, artistic director Nigo opted to not be literal with the inspiration—there weren't obvious nods to the films nor were there prints done in collaboration with the franchise. But rather, he chose to incorporate the Asian influences of the Star Wars lore and references into the silhouettes. Outerwear had semblances of sci-fi with knot fastenings adorning the front.

The details: The silhouettes may not have been severe or fashion-forward, but the prints added some punch to the entire collection. A woven pattern inspired by Japanese hikeshi-banten fireman's jackets appeared on everything from suits to workwear, while a number of different tiger motifs were rendered in jacquards and embroideries.

Three exceptional looks: Look 6's more extravagant coords that featured the collection's more standout motif; look 30's streamlined tailoring; and look 50 that felt more Kenzo by Nigo.

The takeaway: Elevated and streamlined, yes. But where's the fun?

View the full Kenzo Autumn/Winter 2024 collection in the gallery below.

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The 66th Annual Grammy Awards continued to be quite a show. Taylor Swift may have made history as the first person to win "Album of the Year" four times, but there were more noteworthy moments that happened onstage. Swift's award was presented by Celine Dion, who made her first public appearance since taking a break from performing after being diagnosed with stiff person syndrome. The legendary Joni Mitchell—with a career spanning 60 years—performed for the first time on the award show, while Tracy Chapman made her return to the Grammy stage after a nine-year break from performing live.

Aside from the showcase and honouring of musical brilliance, the Grammys also served as a dazzling runway for fashion statements. From John Legend to 21 Savage, the evening’s attendees and nominees offered quite a visual feast. After a year filled with memorable musical journeys, the fashion too had to follow suit. And there wasn't any lack of it on the red carpet—proving once again that at the Grammys, excellence extends beyond beats and lyrics.

View the best menswear looks at the red carpet of the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in the gallery below.

Landon Barker in ALEXANDER MCQUEEN.
Jon Batiste in VERSACE.
Mark Ronson in GUCCI.
Lil Mosey in LOUIS VUITTON.
Chris Appleton.
Peso Pluma.
Billy Strings in ALEXANDER MCQUEEN.
Noah Kahan in THOM SWEENEY.
Jake Pedersen.
Peter 'Lostboy' Rycroft.
Ed Sheeran.
Luis Figueroa in H. LORENZO.
Calvin Harris.
Dom Dolla in SAINT LAURENT.
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John Legend in SAINT LAURENT.
Jacob Collier in OTT.

A significant milestone in Dexter Tan's life involved sneaker collecting.

Tan was in the line to purchase some limited-edition kicks at Leftfoot. It was early morning and not one of the 20 people in the queue was in any mood for conviviality, save for Jon Fong, who complimented Tan on his New Balance shoes. They started talking, a friendship blossomed, and later the duo created Sole Superior, Singapore's first sneaker convention.

Sole Superior is a grassroots, community-based effort. The lads wanted a convention that was for the fans by the fans. It’s to be a day out with the family—an inclusive event, where you aren’t judged by who you are or what you wear.

It is the sort of openness that led to Tan amassing close to 400 pairs of shoes. When he started, he collected like a fiend and wasn't deliberate with his purchases. "I'd look for deals. I'd go to outlet shops and buy, and buy." He spent up to SGD1,000 per month on sneakers.

But that was then. Tan has since slowed down. Space constraints, he tells me. When he eventually moves into his new flat, Tan is considering rotating his kicks out—which ones he'll display and which he'll wear.

A formidable threat to Tan’s collection is entropy. All things eventually fall apart over time, but sneaker soles are particularly prone because they are usually made of polyurethane (PU). As a sports shoe material, PU is ideal because it is hard wearing and absorbs shock well. It is, however, susceptible to hydrolysis. Over time, PU polymers break down from exposure to water or even just water vapour. It is the latter that poses a great threat for sneaker collectors because their prized shoes are not safe from hydrolysis even when they go into storage in mint condition—especially in a warm and humid place like Singapore.

NIKE TERMINATOR ZOOM LOW SYRACUSE
“I was 17 when I wanted a pair of Air Force 1s. So I saved up and went with my parents to 77th Street to make the purchase. When they saw the colourway, they felt it didn't suit me. My mom made an offer: if I chose something else, she'd pay half of it. So we went to Leftfoot—which was two stores down—and saw Nike's "Be True To Your School" collection. They were in colourways of popular US colleges and I chose Syracuse because their house colours [of orange and navy] were similar to my JC (junior college). They evoke so much nostalgia that I bought five more pairs. I'm now down to my last pair, which I wear sparingly.

NIKE PLAYSTATION AIR FORCE 1 LOW
“These promo samples were only issued to Sony execs and family members. I think there are about only 100-ish pairs worldwide. I first saw them in a Japanese magazine and someone in an Air Force 1 collectors group on Facebook was selling them. They didn't come with the box and he sold them to me for a little over SGD1,000, including shipping. Now, an unworn pair could go for SGD10,000, which is too bad as I wear mine all the time. They are still in okay condition though.”

Tan is taking the hydrolysis in stride. Might as well, he reasons as he slowly runs out of space for his shoes. "Now, I'd go for specific shoes that catch my eye,” Tan says. “Those that have nostalgic value, that has a story to them. Right now, I'm in a phase of hunting down the pairs that I couldn't afford in my youth. Instead of buying three pairs a month, I'll save up that money and splurge it on that rare and expensive pair."

When it comes to fakes, Tan fully believes that no one can ascertain the authenticity of shoes with 100 per cent accuracy. He once sent a pair of New Balance to a resale platform and they were declared replicas. "Which was weird because I bought them from a New Balance store."

But he isn't susceptible to being a victim of knock-offs. "I bought a pair of Travis Scott Jordan 1 that I thought were real. But when I wore them during a sneakers meet-up, another guy said that the colour was off. And sure enough, when we compared my shoes with the ones that he got from Nike, the colour wasn't right. Further scrutiny uncovered something was also wrong with the sole patterns."

NIKE SB KOBE X ERIC KOSTON WITH HUMIDOR BOX
“These were the biggest steal for me. Only 24 pairs of these exist in the world, with two in Singapore. They aren’t even in my size. A local collector wanted to liquidate his collection and handed me a list of shoes for sale. I was interested in a couple of them but they had already been sold. Out of desperation, I picked two random pairs that were still available. I didn't know that one of them were Kobe shoes. I only found out about their rarity afterwards, which adds flavour to the purchase. Those are the shoes that many collectors would offer to buy from me, but I’ll never sell them because there will never be another pair by Kobe again.”

NIKE JORDANS 1 OG CHICAGO (1985)
“The Holy Grail for collectors. By luck, I bought them before the boom, at a good price. Right now, unworn pairs can fetch USD20K. I saw a Japanese site selling a pair for USD500 on IG. It was in poor condition but I so badly wanted to own one that I didn’t care. I got in touch with the sellers and was crestfallen when they said they didn't do overseas shipping. Undaunted, I looked for a Japanese resident through a forum to help me purchase and ship it to me. It was a leap of faith because I basically remitted money to a stranger I'd met online, but I got the shoes in the end. It's one of the few pairs that fulfilled a childhood dream for me.” 

Tan doesn't think it's right to shun someone who wears knock-offs. "I don't know if they know they are wearing fakes," Tan says, "but the fact of the matter is who am I to judge if that person feels happy in them? I’m fine as long as they don't try to sell them off as the real thing. Morally, there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes the sneaker fanbase can be toxic, in that sense. We gatekeep so much. From an average Joe's point of view: why should I pay SGD1,000 for a pair of shoes when I can get a replica for SGD500 on Carousell? It still looks the same, and honestly, sometimes the fake ones look just as good as the real thing and nobody will ever know."

That sort of openness is what makes Sole Superior so special. Despite the rise in rental fees, Tan is nonplussed. Sole Superior has always been a side project for Fong and him. They don't run Sole Superior like a business. Every time they want to set it up, they consider whether it's logistically and financially sound for them to do so. "Sole Superior is a passion project of sorts. So, even if we don't put out an event this year, we'll be perfectly fine. There's always the next year."

NIKE AIR FORCE 1 LOW LUX (ANACONDA)
“This is the last pair that Nike produced using real reptile skin because PETA protested against it. In addition to the material, the shoes had embellishments like the lace lock, the keychain and the hangtag that were gold-plated. It retailed for USD2,000. At the time, it was an insane price for a pair of Air Force 1. I forgot how I came about it but I saw them going for SGD900. I was thinking who would sell them at such a loss? We hypothesised that they could have been gifted to someone and they just wanted to sell them off. This was something that I have wanted to own because I used to work for a consignment shop and I kept seeing this pair in the storage room. I still wear them but the soles are busted. If there are any pairs that I’d want to resole, it'd be this, and the PlayStation pair.” 

SNEAKERLAH X HUNDRED% X ASICS GEL-LYTE III (TEH-TARIK) / TOBYATO X ASICS NOVABLAST
“These are shoes that my friends have done and I won't ever sell them. This above is by SneakerLAH (a KL sneaker con) with ASICS. Bryan Chin (SneakerLAH founder) came to one of our events and was so inspired by what we did that he went back and did his own sneaker con. After that, they would work with ASICS for collaboration kicks. I was so happy for them that I would buy their shoes.

“The pair below was by the artist Toby Tan (aka tobyato), again with ASICS. It’s not my style but I still rock them when I go hiking. This collab was a huge moment for Toby’s career. During the initial stages of the collab, he’d ask for our [Fong and my] feedback. We gave him some tips but ultimately, the design was all him. Because we were privy to the whole process, it made this pair very special to me. I can still remember how excited Toby was when he gave us these shoes.”

Fortunately, Sole Superior will happen this year. HomeTeamNS approached them to hold it at its venue and while it seems odd to hold a sneaker con in an area synonymous with the army/police/civil defence forces, Tan and Fong saw the humour in it. "We are next to Yishun and we are doing it at HomeTeamNS. There's nowhere safer," jokes Tan. 

Photography: Jaya Khidir
Art Direction: Joan Tai
Photography Assistant: Chuen Kah Jun

Intoxicating interiors at Christina's in the Mondrian Singapore.

I recently had a suit made at Marlo Bespoke on Club Street. Wanting to do something uniquely Singaporean, I decided to juxtapose a cloth that reflected this city’s position as a financial hub—banker-style navy pinstripes—with a vibrant tropical-motif lining, a nod to Singapore’s ‘garden city’ status.

The idea was to sartorially balance business and pleasure, sobriety and whimsy. I’m far from the first to have had this thought. Vishal Advani, managing director of Officine Paladino, the Singaporean cloth merchants responsible for the bold bird-emblazoned internal fabric I selected, says his range of splashy graphic linings have proven to be a tremendous success.

A bold lining from Officine Paladino at Marlo Bespoke.

“We wanted to give sartorial enthusiasts a way to express their individuality and their passions, whether that be golf, fishing or tennis, travel, automobiles or cryptocurrency, whatever the case may be,” Advani says. “It’s an opportunity they’ve really embraced—sales of our more outré designs have been brisk.”

In addition to its Italian-made viscose linings, Officine Paladino also traffics in an array of audacious suiting cloths, for those who fancy a more overt expression of maximalism. “Being from Singapore and dealing with a lot of tailors around Southeast Asia, we take inspiration from the situations and people around us,” Advani says. “In this environment, colour and pattern just come naturally.”

Shinta Mani Angkor's lobby

That’s a statement prominent hotel interior designer Bill Bensley would most certainly agree with. Since establishing his studio in Bangkok in 1989, Bensley says, “I have evolved into a serious maximalist. My personal taste craves layer upon layer of quirkiness and colour.”

Arguably the leading name in sustainable hospitality design today, Bensley (who was initially trained in landscape architecture) may seek maximum impact visually, but he always aims for minimal impact environmentally. His own Shinta Mani Wild luxury eco-resort in the jungles of Cambodia was built without cutting down a single tree, and at sibling property Shinta Mani Angkor in Siem Reap, greenery is just as important a part of the décor as the plush furnishings and glitzy fittings.

Shinta Mani Angkor's pool villa.

“Many of our projects are in lush, tropical places, and over the years tropical maximalism has become a way of life, especially in terms of gardens. This climate lends itself so easily to gorgeous, overflowing gardens,” Bensley says. “And being a landscape architect, one must always put nature first—the architecture and interiors follow.”

In building an urban Bangkok outpost of her family’s Chiang Mai luxury resort, 137 Pillars, Nida ‘Natty’ Wongphanlert referenced elements of the original property’s heritage aesthetic, traditional handcrafted touches and verdant setting within the new high-rise hotel. “We didn’t consider a minimalistic approach for our property,” she says. Instead, the goal was to provide guests with “a visually stunning and memorable experience,” Wongphanlert says, “combining boldness and elegance.”

At 137 Pillars BKK, Jack Bain's Bar

She explains, “We utilised luxurious materials such as marble, silk, and brass finishes. We integrated authentic Thai elements, like Jim Thompson curtains and pillow cases, to pay homage to local craftsmanship. To add warmth and depth, we incorporated dark, rich wooden tones along with a navy colour palette, as well as small areas of strong contrasting colours, such as red, and decorative ornaments like our elephant lamps.”

The overall effect could best be described as ‘tastefully maximalist’. “Material selection was incredibly important, aiming for a luxurious feel while incorporating local design in a modern and sophisticated manner,” Wongphanlert says. “Additionally, we wanted to showcase the works of local artists throughout the property, immersing guests in the vibrant local art scene.”

At 137 Pillars BKK, the hotel lobby

Eye-catching art is a core element of the lavish tableaux created at Singapore’s new Mondrian Duxton hotel by US-based interior designer, Robbyn Carter. She reckons the secret to crafting a maximalist space that bursts with visual interest, without warping the viewer’s mind, lies in “meticulous curation and intentional composition.”

Carter says, “While it may appear chaotic, each element should have a purpose and place within the design. I ensure that there’s a unifying theme or colour palette that threads through the space, anchoring it and preventing it from feeling disjointed.” Success lies in thoughtfully layering textures, patterns and colours to maintain a harmonious balance, she suggests.

“Ultimately, it’s about orchestrating controlled chaos, where every element contributes to the overall narrative, resulting in a vibrant and captivating space that never overwhelms, but continually surprises and delights,” Carter advises. Just as the layout of these magazine pages tempers rather hectic images with plenty of serene white emptiness, Carter says expertly executed maximalist design provides “areas of negative space that allow the eye to rest, preventing sensory overload.”

Nouri's picture-perfect narezushi

Chef Ivan Brehm of Michelin-starred Nouri restaurant is responsible for some of Singapore’s most visually stimulating cuisine. (It tends to taste pretty good, too.) Asked how he manages to create dishes that are aesthetically impactful, without being overly fussy or bombastic, he replies, “Obviously that’s the golden ratio, isn’t it? If it was easy, everybody’d be doing it. For me, content—the substance of what you’re doing—leads the way.”

In crafting a meal that is a visual feast and yet, aesthetically balanced, he says, “When done correctly, all of the elements are there to promote a particular idea; they are very much in agreement with one another.” Doing maximalism well requires you to ask yourself, “Are all the elements purposeful? Are they there for a reason? Are they driving a singular message in what you’re trying to express?” Picture perfect as his creations may be, Brehm decries our Insta-driven obsession with the look of food, reminding us that while the eyes eat first, it’s our tastebuds and gullets that savour a dish’s deeper beauty.

An international, multicultural melange he describes as ‘crossroads cuisine,’ Brehm’s cooking is difficult to pin down or categorise. This Brazilian with a German surname is inspired by the cacophony of colours and flavours, sights and sounds, spiritualities and philosophies, of the Mediterranean and North Africa, the Middle East and India, Europe and Scandinavia, South America and Southeast Asia, and beyond.

“When cultures interact, the tendency is for some form of aggregate to take place, which manifests visually, religiously, musically—all of those things start to become more complex,” Brehm says. “And the result is greater than the sum of its parts.” In Brehm’s view, it is the clash of opposing forces and the friction between different approaches that creates something of singular beauty.

“Every movement starts in opposition to another, and it’s because of that opposition that each moves forward,” he says. In much the same way that there can be no light without darkness, maximalism only exists in contrast to minimalism. Yet despite their stark differences, the two ends of the spectrum actually have much in common.

“It’s like a snake eating its own tail,” Brehm says. He gives the example of the type of severe, ascetic, unadorned churches designed by architects like Tadao Ando and John Pawson. “Those spaces are totally overwhelming,” he says. “What could be more maximalist than that?” 

As the Lunar New Year approaches, adidas sets the stage for a blazing start to the Year of the Dragon with the release of the SS24 Originals Key City Tee. Collaborating with local artist Erika Tay (@erikartoon), adidas brings forth a celebration of local culture and childhood nostalgia through her character inspired by a local icon.

In Chinese legends, the dragon symbolises power and authority, and Tay's artistic vision transforms the mythical beast into a contemporary streetwear masterpiece. Tay, who previously left her artistic mark on adidas' AW23 Performance Key City Tee "Ultraboost by the Bay," takes inspiration from the famed Dragon Playground for the latest design. Breathing new life into the dragon character, Tay's localised interpretation sports sleek adidas Originals gear, shoes, and accessories, while incorporating the vibrant mosaic tiles of the playground drawn on its head.

"The Dragon Playground at Ang Mo Kio, in particular, has held many cherished memories of my childhood spent at my grandparents' house. Those memories have sparked my inspiration to bring the Dragon character to life," shares Tay. This personal connection adds a layer of authenticity to the design, making it not just a piece of apparel but a nostalgic journey into the artist's own history.

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The Dragon Key City Tee (SGD69) is now available at Brand Centre Orchard, Bugis+, Bugis Junction, Changi Terminal 1, ION Orchard, Jewel, Marina Bay Sands, Suntec City, VivoCity Originals, VivoCity Performance adidas stores.

The look—that pretty much sums up the Giorgio Armani's latest menswear outing during Milan Fashion Week Men's. The staging for the show was intimate with two separate timings (this style director might have misread his invite and turned up for the wrong time slot) and with almost zero information given. And up till now, there's no official collection notes for the Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection.

The reason? Mr Armani wants the reactions and reviews to be organic points-of-view untainted by his personal intentions behind the collection. And quite honestly, that's a rarity. And also a beautiful thing, because as a fashion journalist/writer/editor you're then left to give an opinion based solely on what's seen and experienced.

So here it goes...

The fit: From the very first moment that the opening look came onto the runway, there's no denying that it's a Giorgio Armani creation. The ease and fluidity of the suit was an Armani classic, but tweaked. The shoulders were dropped ever so slightly, with the bodice cut oversized. The effect was a decidedly oversized fit done with intent such that the model still looked well-proportioned instead of seemingly swimming in fabric.

The idea ran throughout the Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection. Classic menswear suiting fabrications—herringbone, Prince of Wales checks, houndstooth—were reimagined in roomier cuts and their patterns manipulated just enough for an update. They're paired with signature Giorgio Armani geometric motifs set against a relatively muted palette of favourites the likes of blacks, greys, and navies, but at times, with a flash of bright hues to keep things interesting.

The details: There's not much in the accessories department to speak off (Giorgio Armani isn't exactly an accessories house) but the small pouches with braided straps in the more technical ski-ready portion of the collection looked like a steady combination of form and function.

We do however, need to talk about the styling. A number of the looks had trouser hems stuffed into boots, which is hardly a groundbreaking idea but served to further emphasise the cut and airiness of the fabrics used, even with the seemingly thicker wools.

Three exceptional looks: Look 4's somewhat mismatched combination that looks irreverently cool; the coordinate in look 23 that's simple but beautifully executed; and look 31's lapel-less suiting.

The takeaway: If it ain't broke, don't fix it—or maybe just a tad.

View some of the Giorgio Armani Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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Unlike most other brands, Hermès always does things a little differently. While it's become common practice for brands to furnish fashion editors and journalists with a list of celebrities who will be attending their shows (we've sadly all become glorified paparazzis), Hermès does nothing of the sort. In fact, I attempted to press the Hermès Singapore team multiple times so that I can be prepared for who to look out for before the Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear show for soundbites and general content, but they maintained that they themselves had no clue.

But there they were. A sizeable number of celebrities—both established and up-and-coming—entered the Palais d'Iena to a runway show audience that was mingling with pre-show drinks in hand. James Marsden walked in wearing a suit over a white turtleneck. And from the corner of my eye, in an outfit from Hermès' Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection, was Swedish singer-actor Omar Rudberg of Young Royals—he paired the look expertly with a statement Hermès necklace and a bag with matching hardware. Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski rocked up in a shearling jacket with leather details, young Danish actors Alex Høgh Andersen and Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen (known for Vikings and 1899 respectively) arrived together, The White Lotus' Leo Woodall was there too, and so was Luka Sabbat. I'm sure I've missed out a number of other celebrities but Hermès was very low-key about it.

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The younger famous faces at the front row perhaps seemed like a calculated move. Does a venerable brand like Hermès need the awareness of a younger generation? Arguably, every brand could. Yet, the very spirit of the House is one that's irreverently playful and artistic director Véronique Nichanian has always channeled that into every collection. If anything, the appearance of these young faces could further help communicate the true nature of Hermès, one that's even more apparent in its Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection.

The fit: Right off the bat, it felt like as though the Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection was inspired by a rather British sensibility with the use of Prince of Wales checks and argyle knits. The styling seemed to have carried over some of the influences of the punk-inspired Autumn/Winter 2023 menswear collection. Yet, the overarching theme of the collection was simply one of versatility and paradox. The merging of traditional menswear with non-traditional fabrications, timeless motifs rendered anew, and a decidedly contemporary take on the familiar.

It was evident from the trousers in the collection. They were cut slimmer than ever while tops remained oversized. Jackets (a number of them reversible) were slightly cropped, but not too much—just enough to be a modern update. The argyle motifs were spliced and reconstructed with other colours and patterns, while waterproof gum canvas were cut into functional layers with its translucent nature affording multiple ways of styling and wear. Layering was a focus with sleeveless elements (a definite buy for this side of the equator) either worn on their own or layered over a multitude of other lighter layers.

The highlight for me though were the calfskin ensembles that were paraded towards the end. I initially thought that they were ponyhair pieces owed to the incredible sheen, but at the collection's re-see the very next day, it was revealed that they were polished calfskin. Fashioned into a number of outerwear, suiting and even a stunning vest, they were beautiful examples of Hermès craftsmanship and that spirit of playfulness.

The details: Nichanian has a knack for styling every facet from the Hermès menswear universe into one cohesive look without ever making it feel too much. Jewellery for Autumn/Winter 2024 were simple and effective. A personal favourite were the pebble-shaped necklaces in palladium and wrapped with a bit of leather for a chic statement that doesn't shout. Silk scarves turned into snoods with a reversible plain leather side, and ties echoed the Prince of Wales check suiting but rendered in fine topstitching.

But of course, the bags were what I'm certain everyone had their eyes on. I adored the Hermès Équipier pouches that were designed to fit comfortably on bicycle bars and fitted with multiple zipped compartments. The Fouree-Tout Étrivère—essentially an oversized holdall—was crafted with a sturdy top panel where its top handle is attached to while the bottom half is made of more supple leather that gave it a beautiful shape when carried using its shoulder strap. And the classic Haut à Courroies was given an appliqué treatment with leathers of different finishes for a more rugged appeal.

Three exceptional looks: Look 11's play on layers that's especially visible thanks to the gum canvas turtleneck; Look 34's simple monochromatic ensemble of a leather jacket with slim-cut trousers; and the closing look that should be worn to an awards show pretty soon.

The takeaway: You don't need to design wide-cut trousers to be relevant and cool; a contemporary aesthetic is more than just about being trendy.

View the full Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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