The Best of SS12 Menswear from Paris & Milan

The Spring 2012 looks are all just about done now, which means you and I can sit back take a look at what’s on offer and start drawing up a big long list of things we want, need, and are prepared to kill for

In short it looks like the backlash against skinny jeans is in full swing, wide leg trousers, palazzo pants, flares  – and dare I say culottes – are everywhere. 

Pastels are big, as are high-waisted belted trousers (I can’t do this look, childbearing hips you see, don’t get me started on that) and socks with sandals… comfy! I was much happier to see plenty of snakeskin, clutch bags and beards (who knew beards were cool again!?)

 Here are some of my favourites…


Since the sad passing of McQueen himself, I’ve had a very close eye on what’s been going on at the label. Designing in the ‘style’ of someone else is no easy task and Sarah Burton has done a great job for womenswear so far – but has it followed through to menswear? For many fashion labels there is a whole team of designers at work and it’s often impossible to know how much input comes from each person involved, but this collection looks, quite clearly, like it was designed by someone else. I’m a little disappointed, it’s altogether too wearable, and dare I say, a little plain? I had always thought McQueen’s menswear was a little on the unwearable side, but there was always the joy of the avant-garde, even if it was unwearable, it was better than this. 

Damir Doma
Damir Doma has been doing some genuinely fascinating things of late,  and it’s no surprise as he trained under Raf Simons. There’s plenty of Simons’ aesthetic on show – half the collection was black and white the oversized tops and drop crotch shorts added volume to the male form, while straps, harnesses, buckles and belts made the clothes seem almost fitted and tailored. The collection is genuinely innovative, effortlessly chic and undeniably challenging. 

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton was by far my favoutrite collection of the season. I remember Kim Jones as a young emerging desinger, I remember his Umbro collaboration, but I would never have imagined he’d end up at Louis Vuitton. Thank God he did. Louis Vuitton is about luxury, and while I appreciate it, it’s more than a little out of my price range and  often looked a bit too ‘old’ for me… Something I might wear when I grow up, but not anymore. Jones has injected the menswear with a youthfullness that in no way compromises the labels exclusivity or aesthetic. It was everything the collection needed to be, covering all bases from tailored suits right down to casual ‘t-shirt and shorts’ looks. The accessories, from neckerchiefs to sunglasses were all pitch-perfect, the new logo bags are to die for. A beautiful example of a collection that has both formal looks, casual looks and one that treads the line between streetwear edge and haute couture luxury.

Victor and Rolf 

There was a strong 70’s vibe at Viktor and Rolf, and while I defenitely don’t mind that, the sharp velvet suits and bow-ties were paired with white socks and sandals which made it look like the models were perhaps on their way to the Prom and forgot to put on their proper shoes before they left the house. We’ve all had a dream like that right? While everyone else went for the wide legs and high waisted trousers, Viktor and Rolf had slim flares, big collars and patchwork denim. The collection stood out, but not necessarily for the right reasons. 

The colour palette over at Acne was gorgeous, bright pastels stood out against muted shades but the collars, crops and high waisted trousers looked better here than anywhere else. 

Jil Sander
Snakeskin was a big feature at Raf Simons’ Jil Sander show, it’s been on plenty of catwalks this season but seemed to stand out more at Sander against the sea of black clothes. The ‘wearing a bag around your neck’ trend was seen only at Jil Sander. I think I remember doing this in the early 90’s but I can’t remember why.

Vivienne Westwood
A very good menswear collection from Westwood, a beautiful blend of tailored suits, and edgy streetwear in the inimitable Westwood style. Shoes were a highlight, with everything from ballet pumps with bows to gorgeous hi-tops. There were plenty of references to next year’s Olympics too.
Words by Warren Beckett
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