Fashion is in a state of flux, even the typically even-keel men’s wear category. The Fall/Winter 2021-2022 collections presented by influential labels like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Isabel Marant, as well as those that fly under the mainstream radar like Taakk and Valette, made clear that designers are balancing the desire for escapism through fashion with the need for practicality and comfort.
While there’s no telling what will translate to the lives of men come fall during this unpredictable time, several new themes emerged as trends to watch. From bold color and regal ornamentation, to a new twist on knits, these eight trends provide enough runway for consumers to adopt and adapt to their own style and needs.
There’s power behind wearing a singular and impactful color like pure red. Though the color has been a mainstay in women’s collections since the birth of the 2017 Women’s March and subsequent #MeToo movement, the color is only beginning to electrify men’s and unisex styles as a monochromatic statement.
Monochromatic, however, does not mean monotonous. The execution of head-to-toe red ensembles was varied. Han Kjobenhavn and Alyx channeled the eighties with red leather and jarring silhouettes, while a splash of red updated Isabel Marant’s retro track suit.
The color also made a strong statement in more classical pieces, including KB Hong’s minimalist jacket and matching trousers and Lemaire’s suiting that toed the line of workwear. Casablanca and Valette both opted for red suiting with a subversive twist, styling the suits with black lace and sheer tops.
Long before the men of Netflix phenomenon “Bridgerton” heated up the screens of cooped-up watchers this winter, designers presciently captured the air of aristocracy and fancy dress that is trending in men’s wear. Though flourishes like ruffles, pastels and pearls are increasingly present in men’s collections, the direction for F/W 21-22 is decidedly romantic and opulent, cancelling out gender norms entirely.
Etro enriched its collection with velvet chartreuse blazers and matching knits. Dior Homme experimented with military silhouettes and colorful fur coats.
Taakk showcased reserved opulence with a simple high-collar shirt and pleated wide-leg lavender trousers. Exaggerated shapes were carried throughout Angus Chiang’s collection, as well as the use of crystal brooches and colorful, high-shine silks. Silk lapels and brooches were a focal point for ERL.
Others broke free from traditional male silhouettes. Arturo Obegero presented strapless velvet jumpsuits and oversized ruffle scarves that draped around the body like a ribbon on a present. Collar bones were the ‘It’ accessory in GMBH’s collection, which included off-the-shoulder blazers trimmed with faux fur.
Brioni wowed with a gold tuxedo that was more technical than the average gilt suit. In an interview with Vogue, Brioni design director Norbert Stumpfl described how 24-karat gold was layered onto the silk through electromagnetic wave technology during the spinning stage. The result was a radiant metallic fabric that’s softer than most similar textiles like Lurex, he said.
The elevated hoodie for F/W 21-22 is not spun with gold, but it is crafted with creativity and personality. Though many trend forecasts have pointed to a slicker, more polished future for loungewear, elements like dye effects and branding continue to crop up in designer hoodies.
Children of the Discordance channeled a psychedelic outdoor look with its hoodies, while David Catalan opted for natural colorways that complement its simple workwear-inspired denim. Etudes took a whole different direction by adding cutouts to the comfy basic.
Others, like Officine Generale, paired hoodies with relaxed suiting, alluding to the casual state that office attire may embrace during the fall.
After a chaotic and divisive year like 2020, fashion that makes a literal statement was bound to make it onto the catwalk in 2021. The messages delivered, however, were calming and uplifting. Uniforme reminded people to “slow down” with its cape. Walter Van Beirendonck expressed hope with collage-like tops.
Even Vetements, which tends to favor shock value over patriotic sentiments, presented T-shirts with the national motto of France: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.”
Knits for fall are not newsworthy, but the inflated cable knits, deconstructed sweaters and overall sense of creativity seen in F/W 21-22 knits is.
The splayed collar on Uniforme’s short-sleeve sweater and Hermes’s youthful half-zip sweater presented ribbed knits in a fresh way that didn’t feel like another late ’90s or early ’00s homage. Kolor managed to make cardigans with uneven hems, and twisted and deconstructed cable knit sweaters look classic with its line of loose-fit corduroy trousers and wool jackets.
Louis Vuitton and Etude pumped up the volume of their knit techniques, while Alanui and Greg Lauren experimented with knits with an artisanal, heirloom look and feel.
Much has been said about millennials’ exodus from major cities and their newfound taste for old-timey hobbies like bread-baking during the pandemic. Elements of the quieter life they favor are filtering into fashion as well. The classic country aesthetic—a touch rural, a touch English country—was seen across men’s collections through the sophisticated color combinations of hunter green and beige, as well as traditional Fair Isle motifs.
Tod’s was among the brands that opted for Barbour-like jackets with deep functional pockets. Hermes popped its shearling jacket with an oversized collar for warmth and fashion. Junya Watanabe reworked outdoor apparel yet kept the garments wearable for everyday use. Cardigans were elongated with quilted panels. A collaboration with Carhartt revived the workwear brand’s core canvas jacket into a cozy style statement.
Capes and ponchos by brands like Ambush, Bluemarble and Z Zenga added drama and function to the escapist theme.
Men’s fashion has been anticipating a return to minimalism for some time. Pared-down suiting was on deck last spring prior to the pandemic and the Matrix-style leather jackets on track for last fall didn’t see as much action as expected as people continued to stay home. But designers remain bullish about minimalism for Fall/Winter 21-22.
The overall approach to the simplistic trend, however, smacks of futuristic films. Smooth leather surfaces, like the leather trench coats by Fendi, and Vetements’ cloak-like coat dress, have a formidably cool vibe.
Jil Sander’s collar-less blazer is clinical, but it frames the theme’s must-have item—turtlenecks—perfectly. The neckline takes on a protective element in Hed Mayner’s collection. It peeks from the collar of Wooyoungmi’s fuss-free matching workwear sets as well.
Taakk, meanwhile, makes a strong case for a silver ombre jumpsuit with minimal pocketing and closures.
An overwhelming number of men’s brands favored a style that was one-part streetwear and one-part outdoor adventurist. Grounded in colorful puffer coats—some with novelty color blocking—and in exaggerated shapes, the trend evokes a playful, geeky vibe and serves as reminder that fashion can be both fun and functional.
Maison Mihara Yasuhiro combined two puffer jackets into one—a look hybrid look that was replicated in a baseball-meets-bucket hat. Kolor’s jewel-tone nylon layering pieces added a pop of modernity to tweed coats. Juun J blew up proportions with giant puffer coats and cargo pants that puddled generously over all-terrain footwear.
Loewe summed up this aesthetic in a quirky photo presentation for its F/W 21-22 accessories that depicts models loaded up with multiple hats, scarves, socks and bags all in the name of preparedness.