Thursday 25th April

| BY Michella Oré

The Future Is Now as Menswear Designers Look At Tomorrow For Inspiration

Whether it’s a dystopian take or a space-age fantasy, fashion has its sight set on the present day– that takes place in the next thousand years. Kim Jones kicked it all off with his Tokyo-set pre-Fall 2019 show at Dior Men’s, sending models striding defiantly across the room in steely trousers, technicolor harnesses, and rubber combat boots to a thumping house mix. Centerstage, a massive female robot created by Japanese contemporary artist Hajime Sorayama overlooked the show happening below at her feet. It was a depiction of the future that was optimistic if gritty, sensual and serious.

It is no secret that the current state of the world is precarious, to say it nicely. Entire species face extinction as a result of climate change and the rapid depletion of resources like food and water is exacerbating tensions amongst nations. Our interpretation for what futuristic fashion will be has been varied over the years, from Thierry Mugler’s metal robot suit to Philipp Plein’s skin tight leotards. While we can’t be certain what will happen going forward the consensus, as demonstrated by the runway, is that whatever comes next, we’ll need to be prepared

To launch the pre-fall collection, Dior just released a selection of exclusive pieces designed in collaboration between creative director Kim Jones and Sorayama. T-shirts and the high-top B23 sneakers are covered in cherry blossoms while a robotic T Rex make as if to jump off the fabric. While the overall collection is ready to handle business, this series is an appreciation of beauty within nature at the intersection of a bionic future.

Jackets, like Yoon Ahn’s lightweight trenches and shells featuring reflective strips for Ambush, provide the multi-purpose utility that we’ll need more than ever looking forward. Generous turtlenecks, sleek goggles and leather gloves will make sure you’re well protected. Balenciaga‘s take on the future is a bit less dire and significantly more colourful. Giant, oversized coats, billowing sleeves and oh-so-high collars seen this AW19 season almost take on a character of their own, and yet they serve as a protective barrier around the wearer.

In very much the vein of the future is now, Samuel Ross’ Fall collection for A-Cold-Wall was cut-outs, pragmatic sneakers, and loose joggers. Models with matted hair and grime-covered faces walked the AW19 show which served to comment on the current political state Britain has found itself in. Fragmented communities and a sense of fear mixed with anxiety permeate the news. A-Cold-Wall reflects things as they are — it’s not a shiny depiction but it’s far from being inaccurate and there are glimmers of hope. Loose cuts give way to freedom of motion, reminding us that we can still maintain our sense of agency in these times.

Perhaps the most notable look seen in Xander Zhou’s latest collection was that of a faux-fur one piece worn on the runway with a baby carrier featuring an “infant” sporting the mini-version. It was Yeti takes baby on a stroll – in the midst of a snowstorm. Following after, models appeared to have just emerged from underwater sported Nike tights and shoes with protruding flippers. In the middle, everyday civil servants were sent on display, smartly put together in simple button down tucked into desert brown slacks.

Being warm had to be top of mind as there is no shortage of padded quilting and stunning (faux) fur topping jackets, vests and boots in Emporio Armani‘s AW19 collection. This is menswear for a very cold (albeit luxurious) future. Thankfully, while strapped in fur pelt harnesses and checkered co-ords, sacrificing style and succumbing to frigid temperatures will be two things you won’t have to consider.

While technically shown for spring, rubber galoshes and and patent leather pants round out GMBH‘s SS19 collection is still very much for the next age. The brand’s offering a stylish and sensible prep kit, with garments that can easily transition from out in the field to a cavernous rave i.e. the baby blue sweatshirt with “Survival Strategies” written across the chest. If the future is going to be full of toil to preserve what’s left remaining, letting off steam will be a mandatory.

The Dior x Hajime Sorayama capsule collection is available exclusively online