Gor­p­core, scum­bro or fugly?

What should the fash­ion­able fella be wear­ing this sea­son? At a time when it def­i­nitely ain’t stylish to be stylish, jon wall of­fers his views on the cur­rent men’s col­lec­tions

Prestige Hong Kong - - TRENDING -

turn to the Cat­walk pages of this Run­way sup­ple­ment and you’ll get a fair idea of how the fash­ion in­dus­try reck­ons men should be dress­ing this win­ter. Judg­ing from some of these im­ages, we fel­las will have the op­por­tu­nity var­i­ously to out­fit our­selves like a fire­man, a se­cret po­lice­man, a hiker, a biker, an ath­lete, a camper or a cow­boy – or per­haps in a mash-up of a cou­ple (or even all) of these looks, which re­ally does get the mind bog­gling. Each style in its own way is cer­tainly ar­rest­ing, but I’m still try­ing to get my head around how any of them will be even re­motely ap­pro­pri­ate to a place like Hong Kong. Prada, for ex­am­ple, has reached back to the 1990s for in­spi­ra­tion and, in a stroke of sheer ge­nius, come up with a ny­lon bucket hat. It’s the kind of ac­ces­sory I vaguely re­mem­ber see­ing a youth­ful David Beck­ham wear­ing in his early days at Manch­ester United, though one I’m pretty cer­tain he wouldn’t be seen dead in now. For the full fugly, how­ever, which is def­i­nitely one way to go this au­tumn/win­ter, you’ll want to pair it with a ny­lon Prada out­fit, pseudo-util­i­tar­ian work­wear that should com­fort­ably pro­tect you from what­ever el­e­ments the weather sees fit to throw at you (best wait for next year’s ty­phoon sea­son?) and, if em­bel­lished with re­flec­tive stripes, could even help pre­vent you from be­ing flat­tened by a bus if the street light­ing goes down. Nat­u­rally Prada promi­nently slapped its logo on to the hat, but then brand­ing is ab­so­lutely de rigueur across the full spec­trum of fash­ion this sea­son, with the likes of Louis Vuit­ton, Burberry and Fendi go­ing so far as to cover their wear­ers in mono­gram­ming, which is fine if dress­ing like a steamer trunk hap­pens to be your thing. Lay­er­ing and lots of it is also big, as are shoul­ders – as in big shoul­ders. I ad­mit that lay­er­ing can look cool, though gen­er­ally not if you live be­tween the 23rd par­al­lels, where break­ing into a sweat at even the slight­est move­ment can in no way be con­sid­ered ac­cept­able and es­pe­cially not in win­ter. As for the shoul­ders, that’s surely a nod to the ’80s, when men were men and door­ways were things we had to be care­ful not to get wedged into – though I sup­pose we could al­ways call the fire brigade (clad, nat­u­rally, in this sea­son’s Burberry or Calvin Klein) to pull us out. As The Cut re­vealed back in 2017, the new norm­core is, in fact, gor­p­core, which is based around no­tions that “noth­ing’s more stylish than clothes that aren’t stylish” (the term “gorp”, as you were surely won­der­ing, pos­si­bly de­riv­ing from “good old

raisins and peanuts”). Fash­ion Jour­nal hit back, say­ing this was “the lat­est stupid trend no one needed”, with Vogue.com more re­cently ren­der­ing that con­ver­sa­tion ir­rel­e­vant by ask­ing, “Has war­core re­placed norm­core in fash­ion?” Pro­fun­di­ties such as these are beyond us, but we’re happy to live with gor­p­core for the mo­ment, not least be­cause it con­ve­niently leads to our next cur­rent trend: the ur­ban hiker. For that you’ll be wear­ing over­size Gucci, Gior­gio Ar­mani or Louis Vuit­ton boots, whose con­struc­tion from posh leathers, suede and fabric (not to men­tion the size­able chunk of wedge you just dropped on them) means they’re less Dragon’s Back than dragon-I. To ward off the el­e­ments you’ll also be need­ing a weapons-grade cagoule, anorak or puffer jacket cour­tesy of Ba­len­ci­aga, Lan­vin, Vete­ments or Boss, all rig­or­ously tested in the Alps though equally at home in Ad­mi­ralty. My own favourite vari­a­tion on pro­tec­tive wear, how­ever, comes from Craig Green, who for now ap­pears to have aban­doned the Be­douin-tent schtick he re­cently cham­pi­oned. In­stead, for his 5 Mon­cler Craig Green col­lab­o­ra­tion with the fash­ion­able Ital­ian man­u­fac­turer of win­ter out­er­wear, the ta­lented Bri­tish de­signer has reimag­ined the hum­ble padded jacket as a cross be­tween sa­mu­rai ar­mour and a full-body floata­tion suit, which would def­i­nitely come in handy on a drunken New Year’s Eve junk trip. Thanks to US la­bels such as Ralph Lau­ren and Calvin Klein, the cow­boy is also back in vogue – though of that I can only say that I have no more in­cli­na­tion to go west now than I had, as an eight-year-old, to dress up as Roy Rogers. So, no gun­slinger cos­play for me this win­ter – but I am start­ing to like the Western theme more when it over­laps into leather. In fact, there’s some es­pe­cially must-have garb fash­ioned from hide in the cur­rent col­lec­tions, not least Cer­ruti 1881’s long belted over­coat in brown – a very now colour – leather and the im­mensely cool three-piece biker suit by Arashi Yana­gawa, aka John Lawrence Sul­li­van, that was shown in Lon­don in June (true, I’d never get away with that in a mil­lion years, but I do know a cou­ple of guys who could). In­deed, retro biker chic is all the rage (check some of the lat­est Bel­staff looks, for ex­am­ple), but when has it not been? Which brings us to an­other au­tumn/win­ter 2018 fash­ion trope that – so long as reg­u­lar travel to colder climes fea­tures on the agenda – re­ally should fig­ure in a man’s wardrobe. I’m talk­ing, of course, about a de­cent shear­ling coat or jacket – à la Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo or Gior­gio Ar­mani – an item that, con­trary to the pre­vail­ing ephemeral and con­trar­ian ethos, can look im­pos­si­bly stylish (and even, God for­bid, last for years). And that, I sup­pose (be­cause it re­ally isn’t rocket science), is the co­nun­drum about the cur­rent men’s fash­ion trends. The fact is, we al­ready know what looks good on guys – and that will rarely be out­fits on which we’ve forked out a small for­tune, only to ask our­selves a few years down the line: how on Earth could I have been seen wear­ing that? Yes, we all get the premise that, in or­der for cre­ativ­ity to thrive, rules have to be bro­ken. But I’m none­the­less bet­ting that 50 years from now we’ll still reckon Sean Con­nery’s James Bond is the apoth­e­o­sis of cool, just as – much as we do now – we’ll look at a photo of Justin Bieber (in the un­likely event he’s re­mem­bered at all) circa 2018, burst­ing with BDE (big dick en­ergy) and dressed full-scum­bro in over­size graphic T-shirt, track­suit bot­toms, daft hat and de­signer moun­tain boots, and think, “What a knob.”

Clock­wise from op­po­site: 5 Mon­cler Craig Green, Calvin Klein, Prada, Gior­gio Ar­mani and Prada

Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo (near right) and Louis Vuit­ton

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