The four most appealing trends for spring-summer menswear

Abid Rahman looks at the most appealing - and wearable - trends in menswear this season to take from the runway to the street

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 April, 2014, 10:11am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 April, 2014, 10:16am

After the bright oranges, berets and capes that defined last winter's menswear, we're set to swing into spring and summer in full floral bloom, right? It's certainly a trend on the runways but the average man on the street may not pick it up.

Instead, as we move into summer, menswear will be dominated by a lighter, more relaxed fit for everything from casual shorts and T-shirts to full suits inspired by classic Italian tailoring. That's not to mention the current fascination with 1940s and '50s American masculinity. As for colour, blue, in all its many shades, is definitely a favourite.

Here we run through some trends that will find their way into most men's wardrobes this summer.

The Beat goes on

Given the recent interest in the Beat Generation, it was inevitable the era's fashion would find its way on to the catwalk. The quintessentially mid-century undercut slicked-back hair favoured by David Beckham and Nick Wooster has been around for a while now, but this season there is a full wardrobe to match.

The Italian and French fashion houses were quite taken by 1940s and '50s masculine Americana, and several shows featured high-waisted and loose-cut trousers with wide-open-collar half shirts, with peak lapels resting over jacket lapels.

Missoni added its own signature pattern spin to the open collar shirts, and made its high-waisted trousers comfortable for Hong Kong climes by using special breathable materials.

Carven's Guillaume Henry added a splash of colour to the look and mixed things up with loose-fitting shorts and sandals. Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta was also channelling James Dean with his wide V-neck shirts but, as is his wont, juxtaposed them with tighter cut trousers. Even Burberry Prorsum looked back to the '50s, with Christopher Bailey channelling the styles of Alan Bennett and David Hockney.

Softly softly

To cheers from men living in the tropics, another key trend for this spring-summer is soft tailoring and breathable lightweight fabrics. Looser cut trousers and even shorts proved popular, and there were lightweight soft shouldered jackets, loosely tailored tunics and long coats.

For Hong Kong's men, this is a godsend, with a more forgiving fit becoming fashionable during the steamy summer.

Italian brands excelled at this trend. Zegna, Valentino, Prada and, of course, Giorgio Armani showed off a succession of looks that featured soft double-breasted suits and trousers with a bit more give, as well as long unstructured coats stretching almost to the ankles. Japanese designers also favoured the softer, more delicate touch.

Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons created ruched silk trousers and light chiffon tailcoats, and Yohji Yamamoto added a dash of colour and some glamorous fabrics to his signature look.

It wasn't just jackets, coats and trousers. Shirts were let out at the seams, with tunics with granddad and regular collars popping up everywhere, with a flash of hem visible from under the jacket.

The tunic proved a hit with British designers, and E. Tautz, Spencer Hart, Lee Roach and J.W. Anderson all looked to soften their more structured English-style jackets.

Glam dandy

The dandy trend may be flagging, but it got a welcome shot in the arm this spring-summer as it went full glam. The fuss around this trend is down to Haider Ackermann, who debuted his first full menswear collection at the Paris spring-summer shows after teasing fashionistas with capsule collections at Pitti Uomo.

Ackermann didn't disappoint, transporting the luscious fabrications that made his womenswear so fêted by creating full suits in Thai silk. He also crossed hip silk blouson jackets with evening scarves and made tattoos and dinner jackets seem like a desirable look.

Not to be outdone, more established menswear brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Yohji Yamamoto, Costume National, Acne and Roberto Cavalli also looked to Thai silk, chiffon and satin. They also went with gold lamé and sumptuous jacquard prints, to inject a bit of drama into their ostensibly formal eveningwear.

The intersection between street style and decadent dandyism became further blurred as brands created silk bomber jackets, oversized shorts and T-shirts worn in combination with more traditional tailoring. DSquared2 were the most prominent purveyors of tailored jackets mixed with shorts and a looser fitting street style.

The wild blue yonder

Pinks, white, ruby red and light grey were some of the colours that stood out. But the overarching colour trend from the spring-summer menswear shows was blue. Cobalt blue, baby blue, cerulean blue, electric blue, indigo blue and even Yves Klein blue was a recurring theme.

Calvin Klein Collection's Italo Zucchelli anchored his show around the trend for blue, with surfer inspired casualwear and more formal eveningwear that ran the full spectrum of blue tones.

Dior Homme's Kriss Van Assche's use of blue sat at odds with prints inspired by Mondrian's De Stijl paintings. Giorgio Armani's signature midnight blue also made a welcome return and was mixed with jacquard textures for jackets and trousers.

Balmain created looks that didn't hold back, with denim shirts, jackets and jeans. Overall, the predominant shade was cobalt blue.

Sneakers from Lanvin and Giuseppe Zanotti, trench coats from Burberry, and many other all used the distinctive hue.