Here is a headline for you—tailoring is back. Now, if you are wondering if tailoring had ever disappeared from the menswear universe, the answer is yes. It wasn’t too long ago when streetwear ruled the closet; men were given a free pass to dress more casually and still be considered stylish. We’re talking hoodies, sneakers, T-shirts and oversized clothing replacing wide-spread collared shirts, a well-cut double-breasted suit and leather brogues.
While some celebrated the rise of streetwear (ie, this writer), others missed the good old days of tailoring (ie, this writer). That statement might come across as oxymoronic but the truth is, it is impossible to not love a good suit.
The reason why the trends come and go is that the creative directors of the fashion universe create in response to the world we inhabit. But the beauty in the ebbs and flows of the fashion trends, and in this case, why tailoring will be sticking around, is in the transition. Streetwear’s pivotal moment was the cumulative effort of Supreme’s partnership with Louis Vuitton under the watchful eye of Kim Jones, Demna Gvasalia’s subversive transformation of everyday clothing and Virgil Abloh’s meteoric rise.
The cumulative effort of the designers of that era subverted the functionality of clothing. It changed the notion that a specific type of garment was only made for a specific purpose by democratising and elevating everyday apparel. It destroyed the idea that you are only important and stylish if you wear a nice tailored suit.
Which begs the question: if you have successfully killed tailoring, why bring it back? Because the pinnacle of menswear will be the suit. There is nothing like it in our humble universe because the fact remains that there is no man who looks bad in a suit. This season, and the reason why tailoring is back in a huge way, is that more designers are looking at the suit not as a symbol of power, but as a canvas for their creativity.
Case in point: at Dior Men, Jones has wonderfully melded elegance and sexiness into the suit; Abloh’s strongest collection to date at Louis Vuitton sees a series of languid pastel tailoring co-existing with streetwear staples; while at Balenciaga, Gvasalia continues his subversive streak by transmuting the power suits worn by politicians and businessmen.
The list could go on, with Alessandro Sartori pushing the boundaries of fabric technology and his in-between take on casual and formal; Silvia Fendi’s summer musing on where a suit can take you, and Anthony Vaccarello melding Parisian chic and Malibu’s chillwave.
Tailoring is no longer something that you wear because you have to; these designers have made the suit into something you wear because you want to.