Autumn – Winter 2015-16 Menswear key trends – Uniform

Brave New World?

This is an exciting time for Menswear, illustrated in the renewed confidence shown by many of the designers this season on the catwalk. There were many clear statements of intent, whether it was Balmain’s Regimental, Judo-Lux,  Sarah Burtons inspired take on uniform, at Alexander McQueen, or Bavarian born, Boris Bidjan Saberi’s futuristic nomads, self-assurance and creative conviction was abundant.Autumn-Winter-2015-15-Ximon-Lee

This confidence has yet to be reflected on the high-street though, where confidence is still at a low ebb and merchandising and process orientated analysis continues to drive the business, in favour of real innovation and creativity. Understandably here, many brands and retailers, are still reluctant to throw caution to the wind, so it has been left to the designers, predominantly of luxury brands or those newly graduated, to lead the way.

The Major Trends for Autumn – Winter 2015-16

From the collections there have been several major trends to emerge:

There has been an indulgent immersion in decadence and luxury, that we are calling Lux Lounge; the continuing impact of Sportswear is also influencing designers, with the sweatpant and blazer set to be a key combination for next winter; and Uniform, in all its various guises which continues to have considerable influence.  The major shift though, and undoubtedly the key trend for Autumn-Winter 2015-16 is Brave New Silhouette, a seismic shift in the cut and proportion of menswear.

Brave New Silhouette

A trend we highlighted in June last year, Brave New Silhouette. is an exciting exploration by designers of the possibilities available, for those courageous enough to play with the accepted norms of gender, proportion, cut and volume. The result, a veritable abundance of tunics, skirts, culottes, aprons and robes.

With the possible exception of the cigarette slim models of Hedi Slimane at Saint Lauren, it seemed everybody found a new way to experiment with cut, length, volume and layering.  At the moment, the focus seems to be on reducing detail rather than increasing it, in order to focus more on the overall shape and volume. This is also affected by the parallel trends in Uniform, Utility and Sportswear, where by definition the focus is on form and function ahead of anything else. Strong oriental aspects also dominate this trend, as designers search for alternatives to the western narrative in cut and form, in the costumes of oriental martial warriors. As this trend progresses over the next few seasons though, ( as this is definitely a trend which is here for the long-haul ), we predict a more playful, inventive, execution of Brave New Silhouette, with colour detail and embellishment becoming more important. For the near future however, expect the continued  development of men’s styles, with wider pants, higher waists, longer lengths and generally more volume.

Over the next few posts we will highlight the key changes in the major trends, colours, patterns and materials that will impact the Autumn-Winter 2015-16 season.

Autumn-Winter2015-15 Key Trend Boards-05Lux Lounge

This key trend is an opulent counterpoint to the simplification that is happening in other areas of menswear. Fringing, jacquards, damasques and rich embellishment give an opulent, antique feel to this theme, while sumptuous fabrications such as ponyskin, fur, velvet and animal skin patterns further add to the feeling of decadence and indulgence, as do the rich antique colours of red, gold, blue and black. There are 1970’s overtones, but the trend is broader than this and taps into a need to feel comforted, cozy, lavished and spoiled all at once.

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The idea of uniform and specifically military uniform is not new to menswear, but it’s influence continues to grow. Whether it was the Asian martial warriors of Dries Van Noten or the workwear uniforms at Band Of Outsiders, uniform, in all its guises continues to be one of the major trends influencing menswear.

The essential element of all uniforms is functionality and this component has close synergies with a general trend towards simplification in menswear. Key styles to emerge from this theme were the oversized Greatcoat, the Tunic, and the Workwear Blazer. Key colours, muted natural tones of grey green and olive brown.Autumn-Winter2015-15 Key Trend Boards-03 Autumn-Winter2015-15 Key Trend Boards-02