Oh, how the once rigid fashion calendar has been upended. As the final outing of haute couture autumn 2021 wafted beautifully down the runway in Venice, elsewhere in the same city, Saint Laurent was showing off its spring / summer 2022 men’s collection.
Fittingly in the midst of a pandemic, the show was held on one of Venice’s many islands, Isola della Certosa, in a purpose-built all-mirrored set created by the artist and filmmaker Doug Aitken, and that echoed the Venice Architecture Biennale, happening simultaneously.
In an interesting take on what men’s fashion means today, director AnthonyVaccarello plundered the huge archive of Yves Saint Laurent for inspiration, in particular, the womenswear. Given that the founder rethought menswear for women, there is a pleasing symmetry to those same ideas now returning to men’s.
Click through our gallery above to see menswear spring / summer 2022 looks from Saint Laurent and Comme des Garcons.
In predominantly black, (a Vaccarello signature) shrunken tailored jackets arrived worn with fragile silk shirts with frilled fronts and cuffs in more than a nod to the New Romantics of the 1980s. Every top was worn open to the navel, while trousers, either super skinny or single pleat, were teamed with skinny belts and 1980s era buckled winkle pickers, or Glam Rock-esque platform boots.
The bohemia of the 1970s arrived as flowing blouses and floor-length capes, while the few jolts of colour mirrored the sun-drenched tones of Saint Laurent's Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, as a dazzling suit in cobalt blue, or punchy blouson jacket in pink, orange and lime.
Recycled from previous women’s collections, Vaccarello dressed his models in lace shirts and padded bolero jackets, as one look was taken straight from the archive with a golden yellow silk cape, which first appeared in the fall 1983 haute couture collection. With a frilled front and pie crust collar, it was mixed with tiny trousers and a huge attitude.
Comme des Garcons
At Comme des Garcons, Rei Kawakubo’s deconstruction was softened with pretty flowers and shown via video from Toyko. Famous for taking apart everything from suits to parkas, for spring / summer 2021, the effect was blended with the type of ditsy florals normally seen on kitchen aprons and girl's dresses.
The collection was a splendid mix of hard-edged tailoring, and soft, feminine touches. An oversized suit jacket came with the lower third replaced with pretty blue fabric, and came worn over a silk polka dot shirt that had been elongated to reach the knees, and flowery leggings.
Elsewhere, an overscale pea coat was now a 50/50 hybrid with a cherry yellow and pink daisy cloth, as baggy trousers in vaguely chintzy flowers were pushed up and gathered at the knees, and topped with an embroidered waistcoat and a long coat in a black on pink brocade. The pattern was flowers, naturally.
Opting for leggings rather than trousers for much of the collection, these were worn with shorts that barely peeked out from underneath long shirts, or from underneath layered, belted coats that were decked out in flowers.
A double-breasted suit in crisp white was covered in black blooms, that also lined a collarless leather coat, as another suit – this time with blue on white flowers – was rolled up to the knee with flowery leggings peeking out underneath. The sharp tailoring of a tuxedo in striped pink silk was carved with scalloped edges and was worn with a trench coat in a jaunty upholstery pattern.