Fall 2021 Men's Trend Report
The highlight of the fall 2021 menswear season is that, for the first time in the history of runway fashion, men's shows rival women's in excitement, innovation and artistry. What was once easily done packaged under one banner is now a cult obsession. The old skinny suit is now streetwear!—while it may seem like a sideshow now, it's actually a mainstream thing.
As seen in the brilliant summaries of our colleagues, the Fall 2021 menswear season has given the opportunity for such seismic change because it is at the center of an existing and global conversation with political, social and economic turbulence. The politics of masculinity, gender, diversity and identity. But good timing is nothing without good talent. The designers who defined the look and feel of the season have been so effective that they really only need a name (or maybe just two letters); Thank you, Kim, Hedi, Raf, Virgil, Dries, Rick, and JW.
As soon as this trend progresses, and how much more it fills our lives, it is a fact that it is back for now! And if one day we have a story to completely disappear from our lives, it won't be a complete story. Presented in a modern man's wardrobe, with different visions—Rick Owens' fashion idol, Jun Takahashi's sinister horror and poetry, Craig Green's pepto-colored plastic of vulnerability and strength—is not all about a single glance. It's about a new air of masculinity present in every trend we chronicle: compassion. In the long and soft lines of Clare Waight Keller's first stand-alone Givenchy menswear collection, cozy core knits at Marni and Sacai, sweet hearts tied to the strong suit at Prada. Even the most aggressive shows of Hedi Slimane's Celine tapped into an underlying sweetness with New Romantic shapes and delicate beadwork.
Selling clothing and accessories is, of course, the whole point of this multinational, multi-week effort, but menswear brands have started doing the same thing for womenswear collections: Sometimes selling a mood is much better than selling products.
Bold and Beautiful
Cute and glamor aren't usually words associated with menswear, thanks to designers like Givenchy Dior Men and Clare Waight Keller de Kim Jones, the season's top vocabulary terms are emerging. The new spirit of menswear is louche and elegant, such as Lemaire and Ludovic de Saint Sernin, epitomized in Dior and Givenchy, but also a tailored suit à la Loewe or subversive sexy appeal.
Major credit should be given to Prada, which was revived last year by linea Rossa in flying neon colors. A return to synthetic, technical materials has taken menswear by storm, transforming ideas from streetwear and activewear into a new, futuristic look. Like Craig Green, or survivalist, like Alyx—whatever vibration you choose, it will definitely be swishing and lighting your way through the fall.
Secure Your Bag
Waist bags made up 25 percent of the accessory market in 2020. In 2021, the must-have men's bag has become the garment itself. Virgil Abloh, Off-White and Louis Vuitton turn a monogram body into a monogram jacket. Bags at Fendi are huge and side-bodied; At Balmain, they helped secure iPhones; and at Dior, the smartest solution to not losing those damn AirPods: a small leather carrying case, and here's the solution. Dior with logo, bien sur.