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Your rolling guide to what’s going down at the AW21 menswear shows

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From RPG-inspired films to fruit-and-veg photoshoots, COVID-19 can’t keep Rick Owens, JW Anderson, A-COLD-WALL*, and more down

Fashion week as we knew it may still be off the cards thanks to COVID-19, but creativity carries on regardless. This month saw the menswear season get underway in Milan and Paris, with Haute Couture set to continue into next week – meaning you might be starved of human contact, but it’s unlikely you’re going to be starved of beauty. With Virgil Abloh breaking boundaries via his poignant AW21 show, Raf Simons making his Prada homme debut – all long-johns, chunky knits, and more than a few signature triangles, just in case you missed it – and Fendi enlisting Bake Off icon Noel Fielding for a collab we in no way saw coming, Rick Owens, Vetements, JW Anderson, Y/Project, and Wales Bonner are all set to drop new collections via ever-more creative means in the coming days. Want to keep up with it all? You’ve come to the right place. Welcome to our rolling list of everything happening at the new-season menswear shows, which we’ll be updating as each presentation happens.

A-COLD-WALL*

When Samuel Ross decamped his A-COLD-WALL* shows to Milan two seasons ago, London’s loss was truly the Italian fashion capital’s gain. Making his debut in the city back in January 2020 – when the world was still vaguely normal – Ross’s first show on the MFW calendar saw him refine his offering, as he moved away from the structured outerwear and reconfigured casualwear he made his name on, and in the direction of a slicker, more tailored approach. This season, despite adversity, he’s keeping it moving, with a balanced collection featuring pieces that will appeal to both his existing, younger fans, and a new, slightly older audience. 

With fresh lockdowns around the world stamping out a return to runway shows for AW21, Ross presented the offering via a short film that felt almost voyeuristic. With a series of “hopeful, positive” brilliant white looks opening the show, the collection moved through slick tailoring with bold industrial elements, and remixed overcoats – designed as part of a new collab with Mackintosh – to signature windbreakers bearing the ACW logo, punchy knitted sweater vests, and t-shirts, shirts, and jackets bearing architectural graphic motifs. While Ross usually favours a highly conceptual approach when it comes to his clothes, this time around, he added a few words into the mix – open, portal, reach, saturate, which echoed on top of the show’s banging Kelvin Krash-curated soundtrack – but otherwise left the whole thing open to interpretation. AW21 was all about dropping great clothes people want to wear – from our persepctive, it looks like he’s got a success on his hands. Watch the film above to see for yourself.

JW ANDERSON

After presenting one collection via ‘a show in a box’ and providing editors with the means to redecorate a small room through another, all eyes were on Jonathan Anderson ahead of the debut of his AW21 offering – literally, what will he think of next? We got the answer we were looking for earlier this week, when the London-based designer released a series of posters, shot by Juergen Teller and featuring Ratched star Sophie Okonedo – after both JW and Teller were blown away by her scene-stealing performance in the show. Shot around London, the images see Okonedo – and a few other faces – slip into cartoonishly wide trousers, dramatic fuzzy gilets and tunics in candy-bright colours, and slick but slouchy tailored suits. Dotted throughout were an assortment of fruit and vegetables, with Okonedo brandishing a pair of squashes in one, and an extremely aesthetically appealing Romanesco cauliflower in another. The harvest festival theme continued across the clothing itself, with mohair sweaters embroidered with bright pink radishes, and juicy halved peaches sliced open on the chest of oversized sweatshirts. All in all, very into – and ever so slightly hungry. 

RICK OWENS

After presenting his SS21 womenswear collection in Venice, Rick Owens decided to stick around long enough to drop his AW21 menswear offering there, too. Staged at the water’s edge, masked models stormed up and down the makeshift runway to a pounding Ghostemane soundtrack, wearing wide-shouldered, billowing overcoats, blown-up tetris-like bombers, ‘biblical’ hooded robes, and the kind of butter-soft button-down leather jackets dreams are made of – many of which were paired with nothing more than tighty-whitie Y-fronts that were emblazoned, quite geniusly, with pentagrams. Owens explained he was dipping into darkness again this season, which is not surprising given the times we’re living in, and revealed the name of the offering as Gethsemane – which, in case you’re not familiar, is the name of the garden where Jesus prayed before he was crucified.

Drawing inspiration from one of his fave bands, The Ramones, Owens previously ripped off Converse’s signature Chuck Taylor kicks – this season, however, he officially teamed up with the label to debut a collaborative style that mutated the style’s toe cap to more Owens-esque proportions, and featured yet another pentagram where the brand’s All Star would usually be. It was a wild, yeti-like pair of thigh-high boots that shone the brightest, however – landing in rich forest green and inky black (duh), the style transformed the models wearing them into mythical, half-human hybrids. 

BORAMY VIGUIER

AW21 took us deeper into Boramy Viguier’s fantasy world, as the rising Paris-based designer presented his latest film, Resurrection. Rich in symbolism, the short followed a caped protagonist on a quest to take down evil priest King Atlas – who reigned over his kingdom with darkness and malice (sound familiar?). Supporting characters encountered along the way were draped in ecclesiastical robes, tunics bearing more of his spiritual iconography and signature tarot-inspired detailing, clean velvet overcoats, and voluminous satin smocks. Rooting things in the now were the sharp tailored trousers in wool and leather, crisp shirts, and panelled gilets and waistcoats. Check out the film above.