Opera-length gloves, pearls and bejewelled touches: The return of the dandy
Autumn Winter 2020 heralds sophisticated tailoring, ornate accents and an unmistakable gender-neutral vibe.Updated: Jan 22, 2020 15:31 IST
Usually one wouldn’t expect opera-length gloves, pearls and bejewelled touches at Dior Men’s runway. However, over the last couple of seasons, designer Kim Jones has transmogrified the way we perceive the Dior man. He’s the new-age dandy, who rocks a tailleur oblique suit with a sliver of insouciance. He’s someone, who owns an embellished top coat and doesn’t shy away from sporting a solo earring. If fashion observers predicted the death of the suit and the rise of broken tailoring a few seasons ago, today, the transformative prowess of the closet chameleon can’t be ignored. Take a look at Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton where he sent out a panoply of pantsuits or the salt and pepper dudes at Junya Watanabe runway - all dressed up in extremely coveted patchworked coats.
While one could easily attribute the rise of classic tailoring as fashion’s reaction to the all-pervading street wear, the sartorial message at the recently-concluded Milan and Paris shows was much deeper. Today’s luxury buyer has a strong sense of identity. He’s a daring dresser, who doesn’t shy away from borrowing a brooch from his grandmother’s closet. He refuses to be defined by his gender and sexuality and his clothing choices are more often than not a reflection of his mood. One day, he wants to be tailored up in a patina leather suit from Berluti and next day, he wants to unveil his softer side in a paisely lace coat from Ann Demeulemeester. Thumbing his nose at the toxic masculinity, he wants to stand out in a pair of pink pants teamed with a muave jumper and a tartan coat from Gucci. At the same time, he’s extremely comfortable in a sparkly jumper from Balmain.
Decadent and dandy
“After a few seasons of a sportswear boom, street-inspired menswear and a proclivity towards the easy, casual vibe, it’s fantastic to see menswear taking on a sharper direction, and a focus on tailoring. But it’s not like the strict tailoring codes that defined what’s ‘masculine’ in earlier times, but rather a celebration of independent and varied ideas and design details in menswear. It seems like menswear is breaking free from the shackles of its own definitions. I loved Kim Jones’ Autumn Winter 2020 menswear at Dior - I think it’s the most decadent (and dandy) collection by the house in years - it’s like updated British aristocratic style for today - with velvet trimmed top coat, jewelled accents and outerwear with sumptuous silver embellishments. It’s liberating, cool, sexy and so refreshing,” says stylist Vijendra Bhardwaj.
The double breasted is back
The season also saw a return to double breasted tailoring with designers toying with suits, blazers and cocktail coats keeping the classic codes in mind. Designer Gaurav Khanijo observes that, “You have to go back in the past to move into the future. These pieces are tailored and minimal with a focus on detailing. I’ve observed that when men shop, they purchase less but buy smart. How I understand dandyism are clothes, which are sharper and sleeker accented by brooches. Also, it’s all about minimalist styling.
Gucci too has toned down its maximalist way of showcasing pieces and I see ensembles getting more pared-down and tailored. Same is the case with Balmain and Alexander McQueen.”
An emphasis on empowered clothing
Model Rahi Chadda who attended the Gucci menswear show hails the season’s offerings as a push on empowering clothing which can’t be categorised into masculine and feminine. “There has always been a clientele for classic tailoring and this time, they’ve amalgamated the age-old styles with an of-the-moment spirit. For example, Alexander McQueen’s suave and slick take with model sporting impeccably groomed hair and statement jewellery. The introduction of couture techniques in menswear and also inspiration from India especially the embroideries set the mood dressy mood this season,” says Rahi.
Menswear experts opine that street wear saturated the fashion scene and to an extent people got fed up of broken tailoring and exaggerated shapes. Desginer Kunal Rawal says, “What I am loving is the fact that creative forces like Kim Jones are going back into the Dior archives and introducing couture touches. This season, the patina leather suit at Berluti by Kris Van Assche was one of my favourite looks. Alessandro Michele’s attempt to redefine masculinity at Gucci is commendable too. Today design houses are bringing out collections, which are inclusive, diverse and each piece of represents a unique personality.”
Designer Anjali Patel Mehta of label Verandah hails Balmain for delivering a strong luxe statement. “There’s definitely a return to classic tailoring with brands embracing neo vintage with elan. Think sharp suiting, a clever play of layering and classic tones along with bejewelled accents.”
She adds, “Businessman Chetan Jaikishan comes to mind instantly, who has always been one of the daring dandies in India, who’ve never shied away from taking sartorial risks. Fall Winter 2020 is all about one-of-its-kind pieces which emanate an unmistakable luxe appeal.”