Winter Fashion Male Week

By Natasha Aftandillians

Staff Writer

The parade of men’s fashion shows for the Fall 2012 collections kicked off with a bang in Florence with Pitti Uomo, the week-long fair devoted to those preening peacocks and dapper dandies of the boys’ fashion club.

For a girl like me, events like Pitti Uomo are the ultimate spectacle of male beauty.  The general assumption may be that men are oblivious to the world of high fashion, but fashion week proves this wrong.

Men can be just as obsessed with their clothes as women; look at any good street-style blog and you’ll see boys strutting their stuff outside the tents at fashion week right alongside the pretty girls in sky-high heels.

But sadly, the percentage of men in the general population who are as fashion-obsessed as women is woefully small. Men tend to put a minimal effort into making sartorial choices, but whose fault is that? I blame the fashion industry at large.

They produce the same items every season, with very little stylistic variation. You get the same button-downs, blazers and boots every year; has men’s fashion really become this static?

Because the women’s fashion industry is so much more expansive and pervasive in mainstream markets, it’s much easier for average women with average budgets to find clothes that follow runway trends for affordable prices. But because the audience of men who follow fashion is so small, there’s a lack of affordable and uniquely trendy men’s clothes for the general market.

Men’s fashion has traditionally been a showcase of impeccable detail, tailoring, and craftsmanship. [JT1] Just look to the bespoke tailors of Savile Row in London; designers put as much time and effort into creating garments for men as for women. You can blame the downfall of quality men’s clothing on mass production and overseas manufacturing. Sure, women’s clothes are for the most part made in the same conditions, but there are more options for places to find well-made, trendy clothes.

The looks from the fashion shows don’t translate quite so well to the mass consumption market; good luck finding kilts (Rag & Bone), furry scarves (Band of Outsiders) or neon parkas (Calvin Klein) in your neighborhood Urban Outfitters or H&M.

But for those boys who love getting themselves decked out in the best fashions that they can afford, then look to the Fall 2012 runway shows for inspiration.

For those of you who lean toward more rock ‘n’ roll-inspired looks, Diesel Black Gold is a good place to start. Leather pants, pinstripe skinny trousers and suede motorcycle jacket-inspired vests provided a more mature edginess, tempering the long hair, tattoos and piercings of the male models.

For those who appreciate cool simplicity, Alexander Wang provides the essential wardrobe for the urban style watcher. Monochromatic skinny jeans provide the foundation of a wardrobe of sleek, hooded overcoats, peacoats and upgraded windbreakers.  Accessorized with duffel bags and baseball caps, the collection has a youthful, sporty feel. Wang has mastered the art of creating practical yet stylish pieces that men and women covet.

Christopher Bailey at Burberry Prorsum takes the cake for most polished collection; the British designer proves that his roots are forever planted in English tradition; charming lads with umbrellas and canes peered out from under the brims of their newsboy caps. The devil is truly in the detail with menswear, and Bailey definitely had a handle on all the elements here. Polka-dotted ties, studded leather gloves, toggles and belts all added depth to the classic pieces.

There was one show that truly left fashion watchers with a smile on their faces; in Florence, Miuccia Prada took the worlds of celebrity and fashion and sewed them together into a spectacle of famous faces. Actors Gary Oldman, Adrian Brody, Tim Roth, Emile Hirsch, Garrett Hedlund, William Defoe and Jamie Bell strutted down the massive red-carpeted runway. The collection was an ode to masculinity, as these handsome Hollywood stars walked the “red carpet” in high-collared overcoats and stiffly starched waistcoats in rich jacquards and cashmere. The pocket squares, flowers in buttonholes, and creepily red-tinted sunglasses added to the intensity and severity of the looks.

Overall, men’s fashion this fall is going to be inspiring; a variety of styles — from edgy urban streetwear to formal and traditionally tailored outerwear — will be represented from Milan to New York. Let the world of high fashion serve as your inspiration for a more stylish wardrobe in the fall.