2020 brought a profound shift in men’s lives as many transitioned to working from home. Alison Godfrey and Stephen Crafti explore what that means for Australian men’s luxury fashion in 2021.
Stylist Donny Galella is as busy as he was before the pandemic. But instead of organising elegant formal attire for his celebrity clients, Galella is sourcing outfits for a new trend – versatility.
“They are not looking at their wardrobe as workwear, weekend wear, going out wear any longer, instead, people are searching for luxury items that will suit every occasion,” Galella said.
“They are demanding good quality pieces, fabrics that are stretchy and comfortable, jersey fabrics, ponte fabrics, breathable fabrics, especially nice cotton and linen.”
2020 saw a profound shift in the clothes men desired. Many no longer needed the thick woollen coats they pulled on to make the cold winter commute into the office. As they worked from home, men relaxed their ties and sought comfort.
Luxury is still in demand, but it comes from personalisation and quality rather than formality.
“That whole personalisation trend is still huge with bags and travel luggage now you can have your initials placed on your clothes, it makes it that little bit more luxurious and unique,” Galella said.
Casual elegance is a hallmark of the Australian men’s fashion industry, led by designers such as P Johnson and Blair Archibald.
Johnson is known for his refined bespoke tailored suits and they will be at the forefront of his 2021 winter collection, but that doesn’t mean they have to be formal.
“You can still dress casually in a suit, it just has to be the right kind of suit,” Johnson said.
“It’s about making a suit look natural on someone.”
“You can still dress casually in a suit, it just has to be the right kind of suit”
That “natural look” comes from personalised tailoring and quality fabrics. Up to 95 per cent of Johnson’s menswear business is made-to-measure and comfort is at the forefront of his designs.
P Johnson’s winter collection includes knitwear crafted from fine yarn produced in Biella in northern Italy, Japanese denim and garment-dyed trousers in 30 different colours.
His bespoke outerwear, including trench coast with raglan sleeves, field jackets, carcoats and blousons, is expected to be in hot demand as 2021 sees a return to the commute, at least a few days a week.
Johnson says Australian men are looking at their wardrobes with new eyes and aiming to create a bespoke collection that fits beautifully and oozes style without being over-the-top.
“We bring a unique approach to dressing and wardrobe building,’ Johnson said.
“Our garments, whether it’s a single item or a suite, are soft and easy to wear. We build nearly every garment from scratch as a one-off.”
Bespoke Corner Tailors in Melbourne and Sydney are well-known for their sharp suits, some of which sell for between $30,000 and $40,000.
The return of face-to-face meetings and weddings has seen demand for the suits increase. But operations director Michele Boutin said he has noticed a definite swing towards casual wear in Australia, with men opting for chinos and a jacket, rather than a three-piece suit.
The company has seen increased demand for made-to-measure casual suits, sports jackets, and blazers.
After an initial consultation, men thumb through fabrics and consider personalised stitching choices and buttonhole detailing.
“As you can see, we take the same care with our chinos and shirts as we do with our suits,” Boutin said, assessing the hive of activity in the store.
And it’s that attention to detail, that personalisation, that will be the hallmark of men’s fashion in 2021.
Men’s fashion staple, Blair Archibald is famed for vintage fabrics with military detailing.
But his autumn menswear collection, due to arrive at Mason’s in Melbourne in late February, early March 2021, will be a little different.
It will feature jumpsuits, overcoats and highly crafted T-shirts which can be knotted and fixed at certain points to create the right silhouette.
“I’m currently working on some asymmetrical designs, almost three-dimensional and often layering pieces,” Archibald said.
“Menswear has to be functional and comfortable but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish.”
Galella said his clients are also asking more questions about the source of fabrics and the supply chain.
In 2018, fashion giant Burberry revealed it had burnt more than $50 million worth of unsold product “to protect its brand”.
The news caused an uproar and the brand has since committed to allowing unsold pieces to be sold on second hand or clearance websites.
“After Burberry clients have been more focussed on sustainability and designers are upping the ante by working with recycled fabrics and reducing waste, that’s a great trend to come out of 2020 and one we hope will continue.”
This article is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive.