It is a new era for men’s fashion. Go mad, men: Your suit-and-tie days may be behind you. Today’s luxury men’s brands are sanctioning your break from the mold.
It is a new era for men’s fashion. Go mad, men: Your suit-and-tie days may be behind you. Today’s luxury men’s brands are sanctioning your break from the mold. by Rachel Felder TRADITIONALLY, MOST MEN’S DAILY FASHION CHOICES HAVE REVOLVED AROUND WHAT’S ESSENTIALLY A UNIFORM: a suit and tie for work, jeans and a T-shirt on weekends and a blazer and button-down shirt for evenings out. These days, however, a growing number of style-savvy guys are opting for clothing that’s less predictable and a bit edgier, creating looks that are decidedly unique. And where fashion brands have traditionally aided men in sticking to their uniform, some of the most luxurious of men’s brands are now giving men permission to break out of the mold.
“A well-dressed man who pays attention to the details, is creative in combining styles and adds his own unique touch creates a personalized statement rather than a fashion statement,” is how Brunello Cucinelli, founder and CEO of the eponymous luxury brand, puts it. Cucinelli recently opened a sleek and expansive store on the Encore Esplanade, filled with separates that encourage each client to combine them in his own way. Standouts include polos in unexpected shades of coral and grape, a trim, sleeveless down jacket that’s cut more like a formal suit vest and safari jackets in extra-soft tan suede and fluid cornflower linen. The core sensibility of Cucinelli’s offerings is quite classic; the way each client pulls the pieces off is what stands out. For men who lean toward making a bolder statement with their clothing, there are many options available at the moment as well. At Philipp Plein’s brand-new store, for example, there are assertive leather jackets and a wide array of message tees. At Louis Vuitton’s men’s boutique in Wynn, the only LV boutique in the country devoted to men, the focus is on street-smart luxury. A street sensibility at Balmain, too, lets men go as far as they want—from zipping up an outfit with an accessory or going head-to-toe rock star. At Alexander Mcqueen, even a two-piece black suit makes an impact, tweaked, as it has been for this season, with scarlet red pinstripes and an extra-trim cut. The trend of these notable pieces especially resonates with luxury customers, who don’t necessarily need new clothes but appreciate items that express confidence, style and an eye for quality, craftsmanship and design. “Our job is to make pieces that are so beautiful that when a gentleman puts them on, he can’t resist—he has to buy them,” says Nicolas Bijan, the vice president of Bijan, which opened its first Las Vegas boutique a few months ago. “These gentlemen are used to seeing the best of the best.” The Bijan boutique offers many one-of-a-kind items, like a kangaroo leather blouson jacket with an ornate, hand-painted image on the back, priced just under $19,000. “We display them like pieces of art in the store,” he says. “It’s why we call our clothing ‘wearable art.’” With recognizably upscale fabrics and tailoring, pieces like these offer men an alternative to wardrobe mainstays like an expensive suit. “Guys are realizing that they don’t have to wear a suit to look successful, that there are ways of being much more creative with the way you put things together,” says Nick Sullivan, fashion director of Esquire. “A suit is the easiest thing in the world to wear. It’s a no-brainer: You have an expensive suit and you’re done. With sportswear you really have to think about it: You have to think about what colors go together, what textures work together, what looks too casual, what looks too dressy, what clashes with what, and that requires a degree of knowledge. That’s what’s changed. Men have realized that done right, they can be both comfortable and look the part.” As the popularity of salient separates continues to grow, followers of fashion are keeping a particularly close eye on Céline, which is opening its first-ever men’s store in Las Vegas this fall. Earlier this year, Hedi Slimane joined the brand after stints as the creative director of Saint Laurent and Dior Homme; he will be introducing ready-to-wear menswear to the house for the first time. Where fashion has historically been a bit more confining for men than for women (at least in the post-corset years), gentlemen can now rejoice: Your fashion liberation has arrived.