SS20 Buyer's Notes from Paris
Paris takes fashion seriously. Big, beautiful, and well-lit showrooms. Buyers and designers excited to see each other again. An energy permeating each conversation. A bit of sparkle and shine belying the normal affairs of aloof urbanity. Here were the great menswear designers, set up to steward the next season. This time around, they were painting the picture of…
The Unremembered 80’s.
Fashion is on a cycle, but it also evolves. Though designers often look to the past for inspiration, the best of them drive the subtle changes that define what fits the cultural zeitgeist today. New shapes emerge, linked by historical threads, but with fresh eyes and a bigger vocabulary.
Even many of our favorite heritage brands are somewhat less concerned with full reproduction today than with making pieces perfectly wearable - slowly tweaking icons until they represent their style and function even better than the originals.
That’s the goal anyway. Seeing orSlow in the showroom proved that possibility.
(Left) orSlow. We’re stocking up big on our orSlow favorites with some great, new colors. (Right) Lady White. Great muted colors with a couple of new styles including a crewneck sweatshirt that has been split like a cardigan and configured with a zipper and bottom cinch like a coaches jacket. We also spoke about an upcoming collaboration.
Universal Works. Great earth colors in all their tailored glory. Southwestern vibes for great, casual looks that feel familiar.
When we look back, it is clear that designers have sometimes gone too far and led the world down questionable paths (like shoulder pads, acid wash jeans, and geometric patterned, pastel shirts), but there’s still valuable lessons to learn there, as well as the styles hidden under those louder examples of what not to wear.
The 80’s (with some 90’s overlap) had a lot of good things going on for it; they were just overshadowed by the big, feathered hair and popped collars.
Yuketen and Monitaly. Great takes on classic handsewn shoes as always. We loved the spring colors in the suede and the nod to 80’s footwear favorites was in line with a lot of the inspiration we were seeing in all the collections.
Visvim. Held in a huge, old garage. This showroom was beautiful. Skylights throughout for perfect, natural lighting in a weathered interior. A very cool pairing with Visvim's often minimal approach to the American heritage aesthetic of their clothing. The footwear was awesome. Excited about the updated runner and the special release Shaman Christo sandal, which we will have at the shop. The collection is clean and the techniques used in the dyeing process are second to none - giving every piece a personal touch that has you wondering: "Is this art or clothing?"
Women’s fashion tends to be a little ahead of menswear and it’s no surprise that, after seeing the rise (pun intended) of mom jeans, that the 80’s and early 90’s were making a comeback. But just like how mom jeans have undergone a subtle change that works better than before (less pleats and modern, soft tapers), so too are menswear favorites receiving an upgrade.
The 80’s vibe is there, but it just hints at it. The hard lines and sharp silhouettes have been muted and the timeless quality of luxury men’s sportswear has been pushed forward.
You’d be right to notice the influence of 50’s and early 60’s Ivy Trad permeating collections as well. It’s a birds-eye view and balance of the historical record, but the pastels and patterns of the 80’s are back like a good mood. Colors have become warmer and more playful. And in today’s world, it’s a welcome respite.
Engineered Garments. Season after season, EG is always one of our favorite collections. A slightly toned down color and pattern palette with a definite nod to the brand’s archival fit and fabrics. A stellar collection that does what it does best - riding the line between fashion and function. We also got an exciting sneak peek at their spring collaboration with Hoka One One.
Needles. Excited about their inspired takes on classic American sportswear. Bold patterns and luxury fabrics in vintage silhouettes. Particularly loving the Re-Build Collection that links all the pieces with metallic paint splatters.
(Left) La Paz. Great patterns with inspiration from sailing and travel. The constellations pattern in this silk bandana is definitely the vibe of the whole collection. (Right) Corridor. Block patterning gives the pieces a warm, rustic feel. Soft, natural coloring with great saturation. Really warm and inviting pieces overall, but still light and playful and perfect for spring.
With many of our returning brands and the new ones we’ve signed, there’s a timeless quality - less statement pieces and more refinement in the day to day reality of what men wear.
It will be a great season to stock up on favorites made better than ever.
Harmony. This is a collection we are really into. Awesome core pieces that will work in any wardrobe. Timeless, while still feeling like fresh takes on the icons. The colors are bold and classic, and the soft suiting and trench coats are standouts. All of it is done in great fabrics at the perfect price.
Braggin' Draggons. This is a brand we discovered at Anatomica in a meeting with Rocky Mountain Featherbed. A brand that was brought back to life by those geniuses. The original was an offshoot made to compete with Lacoste in the 80's by Sears. Great, classic preppy pieces with vintage colors and fit.
There was a lot to see in Paris and we’ll be back soon. One of the highest creative moves a multi-brand retailer like ours can make is in choosing what to stock. The conversations we’ve had with our customers in store and online have helped guide our direction and edit. Thanks for that.
And get excited for Spring '20, because it’s not just hype, it’s a collection built around everyday excellence…
Till then, pick up current season favorites on sale now...