Men’s Fashion Week Loses Some Luster

Posted June 12, 2018 12:11 a.m. EDT

The menswear calendar feels increasingly empty these days.

In recent years, not a season has gone by in which a trickle of high-profile names did not quietly disappear from the schedule. London Fashion Week Men’s, which began Saturday, is no exception.

Craig Green and Grace Wales Bonner — two of the British capital’s top design talents — are missing from the lineup (Green will be the guest designer at Pitti, the menswear trade show in Florence, Italy, while Wales Bonner will be holding appointments on June 18). They follow in the footsteps of previous fixtures like J.W. Anderson and Burberry, both brands that have now decamped to the womenswear schedule, showing coed collections.

With no big-league names left on the schedule, top billing has been given to Charles Jeffrey, twice an LVMH Prize finalist and winner of the British Emerging Talent Menswear Award at The Fashion Awards in December.

On Monday, he will be presenting his third solo outing for Loverboy, his avant-garde menswear label.

Its playful experiments with conventional signals of gender have been the talk of the town in recent months, an ode to flamboyance at a time when casual, unisex fashion brands have increasingly dominated the emerging fashion scene.

Other names looking to fly the flag for British menswear and its future? A-Cold-Wall (whose designer, Samuel Ross, is another LVMH Prize finalist, and a protégé of Virgil Abloh), Martine Rose (menswear consultant to Demna Gvasalia) and Nicholas Daley, who impressed insiders last season with a collection inspired by great jazz musicians and the way they wore tweed.

On Tuesday, the circus will pack its bags and move to Florence for Pitti, then on to Milan and Paris, before ending up across the Atlantic for New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

Here, in no particular order, are five things to look forward to this season:

1. Kim Jones makes his debut at Dior Homme.

The British designer was confirmed as the new artistic director of Dior Homme in March, two months after he stepped down as artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. He was known for revitalizing Vuitton offerings for the younger generation, and his first show for Dior in Paris has been hotly anticipated.

2. Virgil Abloh presents his first collection for Louis Vuitton.

The same goes for Abloh, the American designer, DJ and stylist who came to prominence as Kanye West’s creative director and is now feted as fashion’s man with the Midas touch (see his wildly popular collaborations with everyone from Nike to Jimmy Choo, Moncler and Ikea). Abloh’s recent posts to Instagram Stories have given fans a window onto what they can expect at his June 21 debut show. Keep an eye on Vuitton’s social presence for more clues.

3. Craig Green heads to Florence as guest designer at Pitti.

The London-based designer is the headliner at the 94th Pitti Uomo fair, and is scheduled to show his spring 2019 collection on Thursday. A dependable highlight of the London calendar (who will be sorely missed this season), known for his impeccably imperfect and innovative garments with a utilitarian look and feel, Green will be following previous Pitti guest designers including Jonathan Anderson, Abloh and Raf Simons.

4. Raf Simons leaves New York for Paris.

After presenting three collections at New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Simons announced last month that he was returning to Paris’s men’s week. His brand’s collection is to be shown on June 20, leaving a considerable hole in the New York men’s calendar. (Rather ominously, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which organizes New York show weeks, has yet to release an official schedule for the July 9-11 event.)

5. An old menswear favorite returns to the newsstands.

Earlier this month Condé Nast Italia announced that it would be reintroducing L’Uomo Vogue, a year after it announced the menswear title would cease publication, much to the disappointment of its small but loyal band of readers. The first revived issue of the twice-yearly magazine, which will have five different collectible covers for each edition, will be released on Tuesday. That’s the opening day of Pitti in Florence, so a party for 500 industry insiders is scheduled — after all, the magazine is ideal reading material for the nomadic front row. The next issue will hit newsstands in October.