It’s no surprise that when spring/summer comes around, the penchant for colour and print in menswear becomes much more popular and acceptable – 2013 is no exception.
Although last year brighter tones became widespread, due to coloured chinos being worn by many men, this year the industry seems to be going a step further, with high fashion designers advocating colourful and patterned suits. Whilst this is a look which could appeal to all fearless men, it’s a trend that could be of particular interest to those who don’t have to wear suits day-to-day in their working life.
If you are not required to wear a suit on a daily basis, why not opt for something bolder and more daring on the occasions where tailoring is a must? It can help you make a more memorable impression and stand out from the crowd, for all the right reasons.
There are two main options when considering more colourful, eye-catching tailoring this season: block-colour and patterns/prints. Both were featured prominently by fashion designers at the various SS13 fashion weeks…
Two of the biggest designer proponents of block-colour tailoring were Gucci and Paul Smith.
The collection by Gucci featured block-coloured suits in hues reminiscent of a Mediterranean summer: mint green, mustard yellow, burnt orange, bright fuchsia and aquamarine blue. The suiting was generally paired with white shirts, an accompanying tie (in a tone reflective of the shade of the suit) and white loafers for a slick yet sophisticated summer feel. They were also featured in both single- and double-breasted options, providing even more variation.
The collection by Paul Smith was entitled ‘Optimism’ and this underlying message really shone through in terms of the tones and colours applied to the tailoring. In fact, the collection was described as “rainbow-as-rock-band” due to the barrage of vivid colour and 1960s-inspired cut of the suits.
Both double- and single-breasted variants were again showcased, with double-breasted suits coming in a vivid orangey-red and a slightly more subtle powdery orange, whilst single-breasted suits appeared in rich red, pastel lilac, deep green, striking mustard and hot pink.
Paul Smith also featured a double-breasted canary yellow jacket, which was worn as a separate with contrast black trousers – demonstrating that colourful suiting can be toned down when paired with more restrained neutrals:
Key Show: Roberto Cavalli
One other collection worth mentioning here is Roberto Cavalli. The Cavalli showcase featured both block-coloured and patterned tailoring and another popular SS13 trend: metallics.
Cavalli’s navy and purple metallic suits created an interesting shiny effect, whilst the designer also included a bright turquoise suit in a pastel shade paired with a shirt in the same hue:
Several high fashion designers supported the trend for patterned and/or printed tailoring, with one of the biggest and most successful being Viktor and Rolf.
Viktor and Rolf’s signature piece came in the form of a two-piece grey, black and silver zig-zag patterned suit, which worked well because of the sober palette that helped keep the overall aesthetic understated and refined. The suit was paired with trainers, giving the whole look a more casual, street style feel.
A similar approach was utilised for their silver, grey and blue vertical striped suit, which also featured a metallic sheen – again demonstrating that when subtle tones are used with an ambitious pattern, the look can work without becoming garish:
The collection by Alexander McQueen was particularly ambitious. It featured an art deco dragonfly patterned blazer (in gold and silver) paired with bronze, metallic-effect trousers, and a gold, silver and bronze blazer with square, block patterning:
Hardy Amies made use of separates by pairing bold, diagonal stripe patterned blazers with black trousers, whilst Fendi featured a two-tone polka dot pattern suit (complete with matching trousers) in blue and white.
In addition to his block-colour tailoring, Roberto Cavalli went dotty for polka dots, showcasing a sophisticated deep green micro-print suit – the overall effect giving the suit an effervescent sheen and an interesting textural feel:
Key Pattern: Vivienne Westwood 1970s Checks
One final pattern worthy of mention is the classic check, which was prominently applied to the suiting at Vivienne Westwood.
Westwood opted for an interesting 1970s vibe within most of her looks, embodied by the three-piece checked suit in muted beige, brown and grey, and the micro-check patterned suit in beige and grey, which was paired with a wide, open-neck shirt:
The Fashion Press
The fashion press have jumped onto the statement tailoring bandwagon – especially Esquiremagazine. Jeremy Langmead, editor-in-chief of Mr. Porter, has a regular column in Esquire and recently waxed lyrical about the fact that there is no need for us men to wait until the height of summer before we bust out our brighter hues and patterned pieces.
Langmead highlights the example of stylish man of the moment Ryan Gosling and the fact that he was pictured wearing suiting in tones as varied as sage green, claret and electric blue to high-profile awards ceremonies, with great feedback.
A few issues ago Esquire also featured a photo shoot with Olympic gymnast Louis Smith that featured a Prince of Wales check blazer paired with plain chinos, along with a bold, block-colour suit described as “sober enough to look smart and unusual enough to grab attention”.
In addition, the most recent issue of Esquire features an editorial spread with British actor James McAvoy, where the actor is pictured in a wide range of patterned suits and blazers – from a brown, black and white horizontal striped cotton blazer by Dolce & Gabbana to an art deco medallion print Alexander McQueen blazer to a Paul Smith jacket featuring a tasteful red, rose-print pattern.
Similarly, GQ online recently published an article that featured their favourite SS13 tailoring highlights. They included a lightweight Gucci suit in a powder blue, a Prada suit in black with a thick, bold white military stripe on the inner leg, and a Paul Smith suit in a wide windowpane check pattern.
Finally, Shortlist magazine recently featured an article on the trend of unstructured, lightweight suits for SS13 and included a mixture of designer and high street options, such as a micro-check Kris Van Assche two-piece suit, a dusky pink suit by Cos and a bright yellow linen suit by Nicole Farhi.
Everyone from Cerruti 1881 and Massimo Dutti to H&M and Topman are featuring bold statement tailoring within their current lookbooks and campaigns. Here are some of our favourite outfits:
So there we have it, both high fashion and high street collections are clearly showing a preference for more adventurous colours and patterns when it comes to tailoring.
But, as always, we want to hear from you guys out there. Is this a trend you can see yourself following? Or is it a step too far for you? Would the occasion dictate just how bold you are willing to go?