Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada may have gone for a classic approach for the next Autum/Winter season employing natural materials, but trends are pointing towards futuristic fabrics such as neoprene and, above all, innovative techniques like bonding. Construction with bonding allows to modify silhouettes, aethetics and structure, obtaining an improved fit and uniting radically different materials.
One of the main trends that came out during the menswear shows so far was mixing formal and casual/sport moods together, and bonding thermowelded materials to create aesthetic or technical varitations has therefore turned into the best solution to opt for. Let's look at some examples.
Even though Giorgio Armani's main collection (no pictures illustrating it in this post) featured plenty of elegant and classic pieces, three-piece suits ideal for businessmen, luxurious cashmere and mohair knits, brocade waistcoats and velvet trousers and fur-lined outerwear, the collection also included a couple of neoprene bombers in navy blue and burgundy, and jackets with futuristic diamond-shaped printed geometries that hinted towards a more casual futuristic direction.
The latter emerged in a stronger way in the Emporio Armani collection that included more dynamic silhouettes and a focus on the “classic Vs technical” dichotomy.
Suits were matched with roomy cream-coloured bonded jackets in neoprene (a fabric often used in the last few years to commit quite a few crimes against fashion and good taste...) that ended up bringing an innovative feel to the collection, adding a sort of tough element while creating contrasts with different textures and garments such as biker jackets with embossed three-dimensional motifs.
Bonding gave a high-tech finish to classic overcoats, jackets and parkas often matched with rubbery neoprene trousers (worn in some cases with fur or velvet jackets to create further contrasts), or to modern après-ski bi-coloured tops in gray and butterscotch or gray and violet.
At Z Zegna, Paul Surridge explored the mechanical age with men’s classics revisited in a three-dimensional gemstone-like rhomboid motif embossed or quilted on trench coats, jackets and bombers, recreating suits in waterproof materials and adding to the collection thermowelded bonded sports jackets in felt characterised by a curved silhouette.
Quilting was a major theme also at Calvin Klein's where new techniques were used for body-con sweatshirts, jackets and bombers in nylon that gave the collection a dynamism borrowed from sports.
Italo Zucchelli used bonding for the front pockets applied on utility jackets and, in his quest for combining sportswear and formalwear, he reinvented classic elements quilting herringbone and houndstooth patterns.
Marni's main palette - a combination of mustard and browns - for the Autumn/Winter collection was borrowed from the '70s but the the sporty elements were modern and included knitwear bonded with jersey, and fur used as back panel on coats.
The location for Valentino's collection presentation have been Paris' Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the inspiration was London and the moods were suspended between Antonioni's Blow up and La Notte, but the technique behind the garments was once again bonding.
Classic fabrics such as houndstooth and check were thermowelded while black leather bands were bonded to coats and Sixties capes. These innovative techniques were also employed to create three-dimensional textures or give a polished finish to each design.
Bonding, thermowelding, taping, melting or ultrasonic quilting are perfect to create a more minimalist and futuristic look (there will be plenty of inspirations in the Autum/Winter collections for futuristic costumes, in case you ever need them to shoot your own sci-fi movie...), that's why these systems are becoming more popular with fashion designers.
Yet there are further reasons for this growth in popularity: thermowelding can be employed to combine materials and fabrics that couldn't have been previously bonded, besides these techniques allow to create garments ideal for a more dynamic life, pieces that meet new functional needs and that can be worn in harsher climatic conditions.
The good thing about the garments produced with these techniques is that they look more innovative and aesthetically sober while retaining a strong sartorial emphasis; the bad thing is that maybe, in some cases, the designs evoke rather tough and almost militaristic moods (without mentioning the fact that some bonded and thermowelded garments have that undesired Star Trek uniform feel about them...), reminding us they may be perfect for chilly weathers, but they are probably thought with our bleak and chilly economic times in mind.Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
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