The biggest trends in menswear right now

A big trend in the luxury industry right now is that consumers are spending up on luxury experiences – not just high-end goods, such as watches and bags – so brands have to understand that their customers are travelling to new places, seeking new experiences and need clothing that is up to the task and relevant for their time and place.



Across the fashion capitals, in the beautifully lit windows of the boutiques on the most exclusive shopping streets, there is a new movement. Modern tailoring is being merchandised with sportswear items such as sneakers and technical knitwear to help redefine it as an appropriate choice to wear for experiences outside of the corporate world or that don’t require classic ceremonial wear. Suits designed with enhanced movement through clever fabrications and body-conscious silhouettes are incredible to try on – you feel active and sporty, although conscious that this sportiness requires time spent in the gym. But it also says something about an attitude of getting out there and enjoying new experiences. Having fun while wearing active, sports-inspired suiting doesn’t make sense when worn with a pair of leather-soled tasselled loafers.



This has led to the inevitable global trend for brands to create a luxe sneaker range, which has hit the suiting market. Every brand worth its salt now offers a sneaker (a concept already a couple of seasons old) but now it is considered plausible to pair a sneaker with tailored garments and not look like a university lecturer. Not only does this trend encourage activeness and embrace the notion of seeking an experience, it also makes sense when doing business in a modern city increasingly dominated by time pressure and short commutes by foot.

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

I saw the light last month. My boss Tim and I were preparing for a day’s business in New York during the worst snowstorm the city had seen in 28 years. I was wearing a tailored flannel blazer, cashmere knitwear and trouser combo and my “Zabriskie” boots from Saint Laurent; it was a particularly strong look for a hotel lobby. However, the meeting was two kilometres away, no taxis were on the road and there was a serious blizzard outside. I only had the Cuban boots with me so I had no choice.



This first instance of sport shoes being relevant as a modern tailoring solution hit me hard as I took a tumble on black ice. Tim, wearing appropriately sporty, stylish, rubber-soled boots, got through completely unscathed and looked back to see me buried in the snowdrift on the sidewalk. A not-so-stylish, or comfortable, moment as I sat through the day’s meetings with soaking trousers.
I will definitely not be encouraging men to wear sneakers in the boardroom with their classic suiting, as I love formal footwear and tradition too much for that. What I will be encouraging, though, is the addition of an excellent pair of sports-inspired shoes for those times when it is entirely appropriate and makes total sense to wear them: and yes, that can be with the right kind of suiting.

Were women banned from Cannes for not wearing high heels?

There’s a rebellion brewing on the glitzy, properly glamorous red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.

In response to reports that a group of 50-something women had been turned away from a film screening because they were were wearing flat shoes instead of teetering on high heels. Some of the women reportedly had medical conditions. In an ironic twist the film in question was Todd Haynes’s Carol, which, based on Patricia Highgate’s novel about a shop assistant in the 1950s who has a lesbian love affair with a married woman, carries a strong, feminist message.

The backlash to the reports has been immense, with movie stars in attendance at the invitation only festival joining in the condemnation.

Emily Blunt, who was on the Cannes press circuit for her FBI film Sicario,

“Everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels,” she said when she was asked about the controversy at a Sicario press conference. “That’s very disappointing, just when you kind of think there are these new waves of equality.”

Sicario director Denis Villeneuve joked that he and Blunt’s co-stars, the very masculine Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin should don heels in solidarity.

Asif Kapadia the director of the Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy tweeted that his wife had also initially been denied entry to the screening because she was wearing flat shoes, but that she was eventually allowed in.

However the Cannes’s director, Thierry Frémaux,  said in response to the claims that the rumours were unfounded and that high heels are not obligatory.

The Guardian sought to get definitive understanding of the dress code at the festival, however staff seemed unsure whether high heels were compulsory.

As The Guardian discovered, guidelines were difficult to come by but were understood to mean black tie for men, and women were to be elegantly dressed with smart footwear.

Insiders say that the footwear rule is long standing.

Sydney Morning Herald film writer Stephanie Bunbury wrote of her own experiences at Cannes,

“The festival’s rule on high heels has been in force since anyone can remember. I have been turned away from a screening on these grounds myself, after being openly jeered by a couple of security guards for my temerity in wearing strappy gold flats.”