After a season of January shows cancelled or restricted due to COVID, the Spring 2023 menswear shows were presented in full force, from London to Paris and Milan to Florence.
But despite the fact that things were back on track logistically, the styles themselves seemed permanently altered. If the world’s biggest brands are to be believed, a more casual approach to dressing is here to stay — at least through the summer of 2023.
Bearing that in mind, here are five trends that stood out on the runways over the last few weeks.
In spring, we wear pink
If there was ever any doubt that pink is a favourite in warmer seasons, the Spring 2023 menswear shows confirmed it. The trend was particularly evident in Italy where seemingly every collection from Florence to Milan featured a healthy dose of the colour.
At the influential Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence, 4SDesigns’ new collection featured pink denim, floral shirting and even a Chanel-esque tweed shacket. Danish brand Soulland was one of Pitti’s guest designers and showed plenty of pink, including a soft-shouldered suit.
In Milan, Jeremy Scott’s Moschino collection featured exciting flashes of pink splashed across jeans, denim jackets, shirting and even footwear. At Versace, a pair of pink blazers stood out, rendered in both single- and double-breasted tailoring. Marcelo Burlon sent a reimagined boro ensemble down the runway, swapping the traditional indigo patches for a patchwork created from his logo and rendered in various pink hues. Jonathan Anderson went pink for knitwear, with both solid and graphic crew neck sweaters. The Prada show featured some pink gingham sprinkled into a collection grounded mostly by the colour black. And, closing out Milan Fashion Week at the brand’s eponymous Oasi (the nature reserve established by founder Ermenegildo Zegna in the early 1900s), Zegna showed a series of dusty pink looks in an earthy-hued collection.
Showing in Paris, British designer Craig Green’s Spring 2023 collection was typically intricate and sculptural, though a little “harder” than usual, and featured a statement-making pink interlude around the two-thirds mark of the show, with head-to-toe pastel pink looks. Similarly, Kim Jones injected a series of rosy looks into his new Dior collection, and Jonathan Anderson’s latest collection for Spanish luxury house Loewe featured a number of pink pieces interspersed throughout — most notably, the final look: a spacious pale pink A-frame jacket and logoed tights in a matching hue.
Sun’s out … necks out? That’s one takeaway from the Spring 2023 collections thanks to a range of henleys, motorcycle jackets and band-collared suiting and shirting.
At a time when smart crochet polos and camp collar shirts are all the rage, Robyn Lynch did away with the collar and showed a beautiful crochet henley-baseball jersey hybrid at her London Fashion Week runway show.
In Milan, Matthew M. Williams’ Spring 2023 1017 ALYX 9SM collection featured a pair of sleek monochromatic moto jackets, with buttoned crew neck collars in lieu of the more traditional double breasted and lapelled look. The JW Anderson show featured a barrage of double-breasted suits with minuscule collars and lapels, which were styled flipped up to create the visual effect of a mandarin collar. Menswear master Giorgio Armani’s Emporio Armani and his eponymous collection both featured henley-style shirting and jackets with sharp collars.
In Paris, the new Y/Project collection featured scoop neck tank tops as well as a range of denim jackets with simple crew neck collars. At Dior, Kim Jones’ gardening-inspired collection also featured tank tops with similarly low necklines, which exposed models’ collarbones and chests. Rhude and Walter van Beirendonck both showed a number of tab collar motorcycle jackets, with the former even styling them with scoop neck tanks.
Needless to say, you won’t be putting your neck out if you show off a little neck next summer.
Why have stripes or solids when you can have both? And why pick just one kind of stripe when you can mix and match patterns to your heart’s content?
In London, promising designer Priya Ahluwalia’s signature design language was on display, with patterns aplenty. One double-breasted and belted coat stood out, with half rendered in a rich brown, while the other half featured a light blue and cream plaid.
In Milan, for his eponymous label, Jonathan Anderson sent one particularly innovative graphic tee down the runway: a striped shirt sporting a graphic of a boy in a striped shirt, with the stripes matching on the right-hand side, then curving to end completely mismatched on the left. At MSGM, some looks layered garments juxtaposing stripes in varying colours and weights. Missoni’s new menswear collection featured the brands signature chevron and knit patterns rendered in different widths and weights on the same garments to create a striking texture.
At Rhude, a striped blue shirt was paired with blue plaid shorts, worn low to expose boxers with a thicker blue stripe. Vertical and horizontal stripes clashed at Officine Générale, with a pinstriped suit worn over a nautical striped T-shirt. And, at a very un-Dries-like Dries Van Noten collection, the Belgian designer showed a collection that was a little more muted than usual and lacking the bold statement pieces like his Verner Panton-infused designs from Spring/Summer 2019. That said, there were some patterns and stripes on offer, most notably a blue and red pinstriped blazer, which was styled with blue and grey pinstriped trousers.
Perhaps no collection drove this trend home more than Paul Smith’s Spring 2023 offering, with many looks built combining mismatched stripes, varying on the bag, shirt, toppers, bottoms and hat or tie.
We might not pay them much mind, but zippers are one of the small things that make the fashion world — and maybe the world writ large — go round. Come next spring and summer, it’ll be hard not to notice them.
In Milan, there were plenty of Harrington jackets — the preppy lightweight outerwear staple that features a full-length zipper with a buttoned tab collar — most notably, at Giorgio Armani and Prada. The former also offered zippered shirting, while the latter added a pair of zippers on leather shorts, rather than the typical single zipper.
Craig Green’s Spring 2023 collection really drove the point home, with small garments-cum-accessories that appeared to exist for the sole purpose of adding zippers to looks — like hybrid belt-cummerbunds that were used for layering. The pants, too, featured exaggerated zippers that went from the bottom of their elongated crotches and up their high waists. Mid-weight pile fleece pieces at Dior featured two-way zippers and quarter-zips. Dries Van Noten showed a number of printed zippered vests that are sure to feature as key layering pieces come next summer. The Louis Vuitton collection was the last that Virgil Abloh played a hand in ideating before it was ultimately created by his design team. It featured zippered jackets, with LV pull tabs for the zippers on trucker jackets.
The art world and the fashion world have long been inexorably intertwined — even before Jean-Michel Basquiat walked the Spring 1987 Comme des Garçons show. Three and a half decades later, looking like an artist is back in vogue.
KidSuper, one of the fashion industry’s of-the-moment brands became popular in part thanks to the bold, artistic prints that liven up its pieces. This season, the pieces featured portraits and other painterly graphics. But to really underscore the point, the brand presented an actual portrait to accompany each look at the head of the runway. Some models also carried paintbrushes in pockets or stuffed into cross-body leather pouches and hats. At Junya Watanabe, there were references to Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as Basquiat scribbles on jackets and pants, which is apt considering the designer’s eponymous label falls under the Comme des Garçons umbrella. At Dior, Kim Jones applied the work of artist Duncan Grant to a range of pieces to stunning effect.
As one of Pitti Uomo’s guest designers, Wales Bonner showed in Florence at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi — an impressive setting that felt perfect for the rich clothes and colours that designer Grace Wales Bonner favours. Here, art and clothes were truly intertwined. First, with the setting, which was made all the more impressive thanks to a massive patchwork of burlap sacks repurposed and stitched together by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama. Then, there was the Kerry James Marshall work featured on the first look, followed by intricate, artisanal hand-dyed pieces created by artists in Burkina Faso.
Marc Richardson is a Montreal-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on fashion, culture and the intersection between the two. He’s spent the better part of the last decade observing and cataloguing menswear from New York and London to Florence and Paris. You can follow him on Twitter @quicklongread and Instagram @shooting.people.