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WTF is going on this menswear season?

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Shows kick off this Saturday (June 12) so here’s your guide to what’s going down between London, Milan, and Paris for SS22

As increasing numbers of designers renounce the official fashion schedule – pursuing co-ed activations, hacks, and a whole manner of phygital brand expressions – the seasonal programming of yore has seemingly bled into an endless carousel of designer drops. 

To call this a year-round model, though, doesn’t quite do it justice because, at least within fashion, the very concept of time has caved in on itself. This week alone, Alexander McQueen and Ashley Williams unveiled their AW21 collections days after Balenciaga sent its SS22 offering down the runway – a proverbial whiplash not helped by the onslaught of Resort, Pre-Fall, and Cruise. Needless to say, our calendars are beginning to look a lot like one of those deranged detective walls from a wintery ITV drama.

Fashion week, however, is far from obsolete. Even if Alessandro Michele might suggest otherwise. And as we look ahead to the incumbent menswear season, it’s clear that the old girl still has some life left in her yet. IRL shows are back – kind of! – with a smattering of in-person events across London, Florence, Milan, and Paris. For the majority of SS22, however, things will remain virtual, with designers looking to new, and increasingly wild, ways to beam their collections through our screens. Here’s a brief guide on what you should be paying attention to: 

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THE CSM BA SHOW IS BACK 

This year’s Central Saint Martins BA cohort are showcasing their graduate collections via livestream today. The show kicks off at 6pm and then repeats at 7pm. Graduating in the midst of a pandemic is probably not what the Saint Martins students had planned when they enrolled back in 2018 – but here we are! If the MA shows were anything to go by, the pandemic, and all its restrictions, will have done little to dull their creative spark. Previous shows have included globular alien balloons and pantsuits covered in bags of blow. Don’t miss it. 

POCKET SQUARES AT THE READY – PITTI HAS BEEN RESUSCITATED

Having been called off the last few seasons, Pitti Uomo, the Florence menswear Mecca, is making a miraculous, IRL return. And joining the thousand of Pitti peacocks in their bright plaid suits, sockless loafers, and trilbys, is Thebe Magugu, who is this year’s guest designer. Marking the trade fair’s 100th iteration, no less, the South African will present his SS22 collection, just as Telfar, Y/Project, Craig Green, and Sterling Ruby have done before him. The event runs from June 30 and July 2. Good luck getting to Italy!

LONDON IS (MOSTLY) URL 

London’s taking a Dua Lipa approach to “stay at home” – which means most shows are digital only but you can go to some in person if you fancy it. Bethany Williams opens on June 12, shortly followed by Qasimi, with Dilara Findikoglu coming through on the following day. Then come the NEWGEN on the 14th – Ahluwalia, Per Götesson, and Robyn Lynch – with Nicholas Daley rounding off the weekend later that afternoon. 

LIKE REALLY, REALLY URL… 

While the aforementioned shows are all digital, Aurorboros are bending the standard video format with an actually ready-to-wear, AR, garment. The – dare we say – phygital garment, is, of course, the work of the Institute of Digital Fashion’s wizardry, whereby the Auroboros try-on will be made accessible via Snapchat. 

…BUT THERE ARE SOME IRL GOINGS ON

That being said, Reuben Selby is making his LFW debut (having shown at Paris last season) with a physical event – and the first FW party in god knows how long – later that evening. And while Di Petsa is technically not on the London schedule, the designer has promised to unveil some of her SS22 collection at an immersive pop-up experience hosted at 50m from June 11 to June 14.

MILAN IS PRETTY MUCH ONLINE-ONLY 

From June 18 to June 22, all eyes descend on Milan, or Instagram rather, because most shows – including Fendi, MSGM, Prada, and A-COLD-WALL* – are to remain digital. There are some IRL runways, though, namely Giorgio Armani, Etro and Dolce & Gabbana, who promise to be very sensible. 

DIESEL IS GETTING ITS FIRST OUTING WITH GLEN MARTENS

Under creative director Glenn Martens, Diesel is making a return to the irreverent flair of the brand’s early years – see all those comically photoshopped campaigns and upcycled capsules he’s pushed out. And come June 21, Martens will be ushering the legacy denim label onto the Milanese catwalk, where it will unveil the designer’s first fully-fledged collection. If the crazed brilliance of Y/Project is anything to go by, you won’t want to miss it. 

PARIS GETS THE IN-PERSON GO AHEAD WITH *PLENTY* OF BIG HITTERS

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has been given the green light to stage physical fashion shows, though the organisation seems to be erring on the side of caution, not yet releasing it’s final schedule. After all, it was only a few weeks ago that the capital was struck by another lockdown. Still, Paris, which runs from June 22 to June 27, is set to be a stonker. On the line-up is Wales Bonner, JW Anderson, Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, Vetements, GmbH, Dior, Hermès, Loewe, Y/Project, and Alyx. The formats of each show haven’t quite been confirmed, but here’s hoping they’ll be short because, honestly, that’s a lot to get through.