Ken's Eye View: Fall/Winter 2018 Menswear Trends

Times are a-changing! If the recent menswear fashion weeks are of any indication...I can tell you, equivocally, a new world order is upon us. As a person who has covered fashion for decades..a person who has worn almost every trend, reported on it, taught courses and even presents under the guise of Barbie doll high style--I must admit.... for a few seasons now, I have had a difficult time finding menswear trends I could understand and recreate for my dude dolls. In my humble opinion, the men's trends tend to fall into three categories....1) totally banal, pedestrian and not worth reporting on. (When the catwalk looks just like the racks of the local stores.... why bother). 2) The circus --when designers get so caught up with the spectacle of a show while forgetting the real purpose of clothing to be worn.) And then there's that ever disappearing, tiny portion of catwalk shows offering up interesting and sometimes elegant fashions. Call me old fashioned, but I need to see interesting clothes with  few new ideas--especially in menswear. I do understand the whole gender identity thing but frankly, even my gay friends are complaining about the direction of today's men's fashion movement. After reviewing menswear collections in New York, London, Paris, Milan and Florence combined, for the Fall/Winter 2018, below you will find what I consider to be the more interesting trends of the season.

Note....three new male dolls came into the house this year. All three (Kim, Alessandro and Marc) are millenials. They're the ones with the "interesting" hairstyles!


What could be more elegant than a man wearing a cape. We liked the simple, pure lines of this simple outer garment worn over trousers. Making the pattern for this is a snap. (It's the same as for the girls.) Click HERE to see how.
For Atsushi, I had considered making a lightweight cape using a lightweight pinstriped wool fabric. That would have resulted in a more "swashbuckling" look designed by the Italian company, Valentino. Instead I chose to use a wool coating which has more structure, appropriate for a late autumn, early winter garment. If you look closely, you can see there are vertical slits covered by plackets on each side to allow his arms to poke through.

Coat check

More regal outer wear! Coats for him are pretty classic: the standard trench, a straight overcoat. What differentiates them this Fall is length! Supple fabric and even velvet fall past the mid-calf and below lengths for a truly elegant look!

Man About Town
The young entrepreneur and the look of casual elegance. A super big, fluffy sweater over a narrow pair of trousers; the monochrome look of "Men In Black," and separates that mix velvet with tie-dye.....These are all simple silhouettes made from a basic pattern. Note the bags!
Here, Alessandro shows off the millennial take on American born John Varvatos' velvet suit. It's velvet, worn with a tie dye shirt and big scarf over super skinny, stretch jeans and walking shoes!

The Spice Trail
This is a color story. After all of the navy, black and grey, there is color for the guys. Lots of color. At times, too much color, in fact. But here is the color palette to our liking. We like to see clothes for guys taking their cue from the spicy tones of autumn. Yes, it's pretty classic.But these are styles and colors that are...easy on the eyes!
Here Marc shows off how a cool way to wear shorts (over a trendy pair of leggings). His top is cut like a varsity sweater. Personally I don't like the "girly" fabric of the original wide cut shorts. It looked too much like a skirt. So I made a pair of "cut offs" and painted them to resemble "distress" jean shorts. Worn together with the black leggings and the suede boots, it looks more "masculine" and works for my millennial guy.

Livin' Large
XXXL is back. A new generation has discovered the supersized silhouettes resuscitated from 1990's gangsta looks. This time around there is a contrast in silhouettes. Super large worn over super skinny.

The Young and The Restless
These are the dare devils of the fashion revolution. They push the boundaries of existing rules just to see what's possible. In some cases, it's a revival of past rebels (like Moschino's leather biker outfit). But by experimenting with fabric treatments (Louis Vuitton) or silhouette (Chalayan), a new generation fashions it's own signature style.
Again, I could not sink my teeth into men's shorts that resemble a woman's skirt worn over tights, so, for Lamar, I took the direction of distressed, ripped jeans. I did like the high tech aspect of the coat, but quite naturally, did not have access to the fabric. So....I took old jeans and treated it with both metallic paint stroked with pure white. After cutting out the pattern, I layered it with a polyester organza to give it a "tech" sheen.
Back in the mid-1980's with the arrival of the Japanese on the fashion scene, we were introduced to the look of androgyny. Now in 2018, androgyny is back but in a different way. It's more elaborate. It's more feminine. Still I feel, we can do this look in a way that is not totally void of masculinity. Here is Kim wearing a version of the Chalayan shirt. The original has a more rounded effect due to dropped shoulders and blouse-like sleeves. I, on the other hand, started out with a classic, straight shirt. One side is much more elongated than the other. This extension allowed me to drape that side into folds which I hand-stitched down and pressed flat to the body. The sleeves are straight , without cuffs. This shirt (which I imagine for eveningwear) is worn over narrow (but not strangled) velvet pants and boots.

Velvet Touch
Another revival of an old favorite style....the velvet suit is back. Yes there is the classic suit (as revived by Armani) but there are other, more laid back ways for men to wear velvet including what looks like a jog suit with a sport jacket and sweater (John Varvatos).
Loic reminded me that it wouldn't be a bad thing to make another velvet suit! I think he's thinking ahead to the holidays!

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