This weekend, the A/W19 menswear shows will commence with London Fashion Week Men’s – here’s what you should keep an eye out for
1. The womenswear
Contrary to what the name suggests, menswear month – spanning London, Pitti Uomo in Florence, Milan and Paris – is no longer for men alone. Continuing a recent shift in fashion, numerous houses and designers will hold co-ed presentations, showing their menswear and womenswear for the season at once. In Milan, Dsquared2 and Neil Barrett, among others, will host co-ed runway presentations, while in Paris Paul Smith will show his vision for the season in a dual-gender show on the month’s final day. Elsewhere, expect the appearance of women on the runway – not least at Versace, where last season models Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Adut Akech walked among Donatella’s fluoro-toned Spring/Summer 2019 menswear offering.
2. Hedi Slimane’s first menswear show for Celine
In 2001, Hedi Slimane showed his first collection for Dior Homme, causing a seismic shift in menswear, the reverberations of which continue to be felt today (namely: super-lean tailoring and the still-ubiquitous “skinny” jean). 18 years on – and after a four-year stint at Saint Laurent – he continues to refine his fastidious aesthetic at Celine, where later this month he will present the Parisian house’s very first menswear show. It follows a co-ed show last October, his first since beginning his tenure as artistic director, where the men’s looks – as announced post-show – would be available in-store for women, too. No word yet as to whether the same will apply for this month’s menswear show in Paris, though Slimane superfans (female or otherwise) will likely find plenty to covet nonetheless.
3. Grace Wales Bonner’s exhibition at the Serpentine
Though London Fashion Week Men’s will have finished by then, on January 18 Grace Wales Bonner will open the doors to an self-titled exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. The first of what will become a series of short-duration exhibitions curated by creatives from multiple disciplines, the designer will explore mysticism and rituals the world over – particularly those from the Black Atlantic – reinterpreted by a series of artists, including longtime collaborator Eric N. Mack, who will each create a shrine for the exhibition. Much of the exhibiton centres on research for her her upcoming Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, Mumbo Jumbo, inspired by West African shamans and intellectual gatherings at America’s historically black Howard University.
4. Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh’s sophomore ready-to-wear collections
On January 15, eyes will turn to Paris once more, with Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh preparing to show their second ready-to-wear collections at Dior Men and Louis Vuitton respectively (though Jones did recently show a pre-fall collection in Tokyo). Once again, we’ll see the designers marry the French houses’ storied world and their own distinct aesthetics, and are likely to do so with spectacular shows – Jones’ first collection at Dior Men centred around a vast floral sculpture by American artist KAWS, while Abloh sent models down a rainbow-coloured runway that stretched the length of the Palais Royal gardens (and past an emotional Kanye West). Both designers have avid female followers, promising plenty of pieces ready to be co-opted into next season’s wardrobe.
5. The agenda-setting female designers
Numerous female designers now work under the umbrella of menswear – not least in London, where designers Martine Rose, Grace Wales Bonner and Phoebe English all live and work, alongside emerging talents Bianca Saunders, Paria Farzaneh, Bethany Williams, Robyn Lynch and Mowalola Ogunlesi (the last two will debut at talent incubator Fashion East this season). Elsewhere, Clare Waight Keller will host her first solo menswear show at Givenchy (previously, under her tenure as creative director, it has been shown co-ed), while in Milan Miuccia Prada – who won the Outstanding Achievement Award at December’s Fashion Awards – is sure to demonstrate her ability to set an entire season’s agenda with her Autumn/Winter 2019 Prada menswear collection.