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Men’s Designers Ditch Basics for Statement-Making Denim

The subtlety seen in denim collections made during the height of the pandemic is fading away.

In the Spring/Summer 2022 collections recently presented during men’s fashion weeks in London, Florence, Paris and beyond, denim was rich with dramatic (and new) shapes, textures, prints and destruction.

Exaggerated shoulders and cutouts dominated Han Kjobenhavn’s collection, making its braided jeans produced with recycled denim one of the most commercial options.

White, light blue and medium wash jeans with uneven hems, patches of destruction and double zippers were part of GmbH’s collection called White Noise, an examination of dressing in white culture. References to WASP fashion, queerness and American archetypes combined in the label’s shoulder-baring denim duster, feather-embellished denim shirts, cargo jeans trimmed with tan suede and denim boots. An off-the-shoulder denim blazer—one of the brand’s signature silhouettes—was paired with gray sweatpants with “My beauty offends you” down the side of the left leg.

A floor-grazing denim topcoat was one of Diesel’s genderless statement-pieces. Under the guidance of creative director Glenn Martens, the heritage denim brand elevated deadstock fabrics with lattice-like details, smocking and ruching. Other denim pieces are embossed with Diesel logos for a sculptural effect.

The pandemic trend for crafted denim filtered into Bluemarble’s collection, which included jeans with ’70s-inspired floral embroideries, beaded whipstitch details and metal grommets.

Cool TM’s destroyed jeans exposed panels of zebra print, while slimmer styles were decorated with heart-shaped denim patches. Dhruv Kapoor, meanwhile, broke up its color-blocked jeans with knee slashes. Destroyed and logo-printed denim was the bread and butter in Louis Vuitton’s men’s collection.

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Layers—be it denim on top of gabardine, flannel and tulle, patchwork jeans or layered shades of indigo—were a key story in Japanese label Facetasm’s story for spring. The brand’s convertible jean jacket tees up opportunities for new shapes. System Studios also presented a convertible take on a backless jumpsuit made with raw denim.

Etudes revisited styles from its previous 19 collections, reviving its flame and logo-printed jeans. Glacial-like finishes, like vivid blue jeans with high contrasts, mirrored the nature backdrops used for the French label’s presentation. High-low contrasts lighten up Wooyoungmi’s sleeveless jean shirts and double-waisted bottoms.

Light-wash denim softened collections by Isabel Marant and LGN Louis-Gabriel Nouch, which added a tonal swirl pattern to pieces.

Other brands relied on fewer bells and whistles.

Dark-wash denim was the ideal canvas for EgonLab’s flare trouser jean. Jan-Jan Van Essche presented elegant pairings, including a boxy jean jacket and loose-fit jeans set, and cropped wide-leg jeans with a tunic top.

Courreges opted for dirty vintage washes for its slim jeans and jackets, while Alanui chose brighter blue casts for a tropical story that blended slim yet slouchy cuts with bandana-print tops and palm-tree knits.

And with workwear top of mind, Vìen made a strong case for denim suiting with boxy jean blazers and trousers with a denim waistband. Likewise, Officine Générale served office-friendly suits made with recycled denim.