How Men’s Street Style is Influencing Runway Trends—From Short Shorts to Crystals

4 months ago 21
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Adjusting to virtual men’s fashion shows hasn’t been easy, but we’re finding the silver linings: There’s been no air travel, for starters, which is good for the planet and our stress levels, and we have zero anxiety over what to wear. In the comfort of our apartments, we can just as well peruse the spring 2021 “shows” in our pajamas. Vogue Runway has covered the couture and men’s collections as close to “normally” as possible, often via Zoom interviews. But there’s a huge part of our coverage we can’t replicate remotely: street style. This is Phil Oh’s first summer off in years, and we’re missing out on hundreds of photos he might have take outside Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens, and more.

It doesn’t help that some of the best street style happens at men’s week. Part of it comes down to the fact that menswear is still pretty low-key, with fewer shows and generally less noise. As Phil Oh told us last year, most guys still wear their own clothes, too; you’ll see stars and influencers in borrowed or gifted looks, but compared to ready-to-wear and couture, it’s far less frequent. Men’s fashion has lately been buoyed by a few star designers, too, namely Virgil Abloh at Off-White and Louis Vuitton, and Kim Jones at Dior Men. They have different skills and points of view, but they share one thing in common: an understanding of what guys (and girls) really, actually want to wear. They’re pushing fashion further away from its ideals of elitism and exclusivity and are finding much of their inspiration on “real people” on the street.

In fact, many of this summer’s big trends started on the street first. Combing through our archive of photos by Phil Oh and Gianluca Senese, it becomes strikingly clear that the best menswear designers aren’t creating new collections in ivory towers surrounded by art and books; they’re studying what their customers are wearing and responding accordingly. Designers didn’t start making fanny packs until guys got in the habit of wearing them across their chests, for instance, and the same is true of abbreviated shorts (previously something of a taboo in menswear), camp collar shirts, and—most surprisingly of all—crystals and embellishments. In the absence of new street style photos, we’ve charted five street-style trends and their runway glow ups; scroll through them all below.

Luke Jefferson Day at the spring 2019 menswear shows in MilanPhotographed by Phil OhCharles Jeffrey at the spring 2019 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhWho Wears Short Shorts?

Not too long ago, you’d be shocked to see a menswear editor wearing shorts at a fashion show, even in the middle of summer. Now, they aren’t just wearing shorts—they’re wearing shorts so short, they’re reminiscent of 1980s tennis outfits. Maybe guys are just sick of overheating, or perhaps it comes down to the blurring lines between “gendered” clothing; what once felt like a lot of thigh doesn’t feel so shocking anymore. After its nascency on the streets, the trend was swiftly picked up by the likes of Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta and, as of yesterday, Kim Jones at Dior Men.

Dior Men Spring 2021Photo: Courtesy of Dior MenEtro Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comBottega Veneta Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comSies Marjan Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comStreet style at the spring 2018 shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhA$AP Rocky at the spring 2018 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the spring 2018 shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhNo Shirt, No Problem

Speaking of hot weather, here’s an idea for staying cool: Just skip a shirt entirely, like these guys we spotted in 2017. Or opt for one of the barely-there versions we saw on the runway a year later, like Jonathan Anderson’s sliced-open knit or Virgil Abloh’s sheer T-shirt at Louis Vuitton. Since you aren’t going to bars or restaurants any time soon, you won’t have to worry about that whole “no shirt, no service” rule.

JW Anderson Spring 2019 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comLouis Vuitton Spring 2019 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comRaf Simons Spring 2019 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comCottweiler Spring 2019 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comStreet style at the spring 2018 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhVirgil Abloh at the spring 2018 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhThe Shirt of the Summer

As Vogue’s Steff Yotka pointed out last August, the camp-collar shirt isn’t just the ideal summer shirt; it’s a shirt for all seasons. Democratic in price and silhouette, anyone can wear it with virtually anything; layer it in the winter, unbutton it in the summer. Sharp observers may have noticed the rise of ultra-bright, tropical-printed shirts back in 2017, and they’ve since become many brands’ calling cards (see: Bode, Prada, Valentino). Though the Hawaiian shirt has been co-opted by the far-right Boogaloo Boys, most designers avoid the hackneyed tropes of palm trees, hibiscus flowers, and garish colors; consider one with a gentler, more feminine motif instead, like Casablanca’s pastel islands or Bode’s hand-crocheted style.

Marni Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comKoché Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Courtesy of KochéCasablanca Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comBode Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comStreet style at the spring 2019 shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the spring 2019 shows in LondonPhotographed by Gianluca SeneseStreet style at the spring 2019 shows in LondonPhotographed by Gianluca SeneseSparkle Motion

The sequins-for-men trend technically started on the runway with Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons Homme Plus spring 2018 collection. The designer paired sequined blazers with sequined shorts in mismatched, juicy shades of pink, lime, turquoise, and ruby, but it was the way guys wore them on the street that made her sequined “suits” instantly iconic. Styled with graphic T-shirts and sneakers, they took on a more streetwise tone, and introduced plenty of guys to the concept of daytime sparkle for the first time. Soon enough, sequins and crystals were showing up in men’s collections left and right, including at Givenchy, Celine, and Loewe.

Dior Men Fall 2020Photo: Gorunway.comCeline Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comLoewe Fall 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comGivenchy Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comStreet style at the spring 2019 shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the spring 2018 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the spring 2019 shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhDon’t Call it a Murse

New Yorkers will tell you that teenagers were wearing Supreme fanny packs across their chests long before Barneys or Kith were selling four-figure versions. Editors and buyers were early to the trend, too; Phil Oh snapped guys enjoying the hands-free ease of a cross-body at fashion week back in 2017. Now, virtually every brand offers a luxe fanny pack or mini bag, from Hermès to Ermenegildo Zegna. (Also, let’s agree to retire the heteronormative term “murse,” i.e. “man purse.”)

Ermenegildo Zegna Fall 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comJacquemus Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comHermès Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comAlyx Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comStreet style at the spring 2019 menswear hows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the spring 2019 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the Pitti Uomo fall 2019 menswear showsPhotographed by Gianluca SeneseIf You Still Need More Pockets…

Utility vests just might render a bag—fanny pack or otherwise—unnecessary. Phone, keys, wallet, invitations, notebook—they’d all fit in their own pocket, likely with room to spare. Of course, plenty of guys (like Heron Preston and Dev Hynes, above) started wearing utility vests for their outdoorsy, vaguely ironic spirit, not because they’re ultra-functional. For spring 2020, the rugged vest got a major transformation on the runways of Fendi and Alyx, and brands like Off-White and Prada tweaked the style with utility button-downs and tanks.

Off-White Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comPrada Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comAlyx Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comFendi Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comStreet style at the spring 2019 menswear shows in MilanPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at the spring 2019 menswear shows in ParisPhotographed by Phil OhStreet style at Pitti Uomo spring 2019Photographed by Gianluca Senese’70s Swagger

We’ve seen every element of ’70s fashion make a comeback in recent seasons, from prairie dresses to girls and guys alike in sharp, flared-leg suits. The rise of the latter can be largely attributed to the editor Ben Cobb, who was wearing wide-lapel suits to fashion week long before they swung back in style. Other editors picked up the era’s more gender-bendy silk shirts and aviator sunglasses, and all of the above eventually made it to the runways of Dries Van Noten, Gucci, and Saint Laurent.

Dries Van Noten Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comSaint Laurent Spring 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comAmiri Fall 2020 MenswearPhoto: Gorunway.comSSS World Corp Fall 2020Photo: Courtesy of SSS World Corp
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