It’s the end of the summer, which can only mean one thing: it’s fall.
OK, so it’s not quite fall—in New York, the subway is still a swarming swamp of betrayal and pain—but the fall collections are arriving in stores, and boy, do they have a trend story to tell us: trends are over.
At Celine, Hedi Slimane’s beguilingly bourgeois latest collections of womenswear, men’s tailoring, and outerwear, are finally on the racks and ready to be coveted, tried on, and maybe even bought (wowee, is it is expensive).
In person—or maybe with the gift of time—these clothes tell a much different story, at once slower and more urgent than things seemed on the runway. “This is just the perfect jacket,” I thought, trying on the Tournon, a two-button blazer in checked wool with a notch lapel. (The jacket, among many other things, smartly comes in a men’s and women’s version.) It hung next to a pair of jeans, not too skinny, and a cotton poplin shirt—a seductively simple outfit suggestion. I found myself thinking, against all my styling instincts, of just the “right” belt for the ensemble, which of course Celine makes, too.
I thought of a grandparent who might stress the “right” bag with the “right” shoe. “Right” is a word we haven’t heard in fashion in a long time, since personal style and self-expression have trickled up to the runways. But “the right thing” is like a mantra at Celine: the jean jacket, the tweed coat, the jean—each piece is not trying to say too much. It’s there to be the highest possible version of itself. At Hedi’s Saint Laurent, I always felt, “This is cool.” The new Celine makes me think: “This is really nice.” Of course, Slimane always tosses in something to throw us off a little, to show us that just when you think you’ve got his number, he can make a studded checkered fur-coat look smart. But even the more rock ‘n roll showpieces are done, the aforementioned grandparent might say, “in good taste.”
Celine may be leading the good-taste charge, but that house isn’t the only one moving in this direction. Mr. Porter has beefed up their offering of Charvet "to a full haberdashery offering—including slippers, socks, knitwear and accessories.“ Charvet, of course, is the 181-year-old French brand known for its custom shirting and silk ties, but it also makes beautiful cashmere sweaters and knit polos, which you can now buy on Mr. Porter. People also seem to be wearing the haberdasher’s cult-favorite house slippers—also for sale on Mr. Porter, though very often sold out—on the street, like a more, well, tasteful version Gucci’s purposely over-the-top fur-lined slides. Burberry is embracing the garment that made it famous with a trench-packed ad campaign released earlier this week (and is now being sold at Totokaelo, the palace of avant-garde brands). Alessandro Michele’s Gucci has always been great at digging through its own archives, but it’s those ’60s and ’70s jetset heyday pieces—like this rhombus cardigan—that look better than ever.
Also hot: new brands that behave old. The Row is another menswear line that moves quickly on Mr. Porter ( menswear launched last summer), but the Olsen twins work like a heritage house, making carefully considered tailoring and shirts that change little from season to season, unmoved by novelty. Like Celine, each item approaches its Platonic ideal. These are clothes engineered to stand the test of time. Even jeans, which have become one of the more experimental garments in fashion over the past few years, are looking more and more like “instant classics,” with one of the prime examples coming from, of all places, the artist Sterling Ruby’s new brand. (This I love: Celine’s jeans are called the “Regular.”) And chinos? Why not!
It seems counterintuitive that “anti-trendy clothes” are...trending. But it was only natural: for a few years now, fashion has been about bad taste. Things had become ugly—on purpose!—mostly thanks the irresistible mandate of Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga and Vetements. You could wear whatever you want! So why wouldn’t you?
But suddenly, the idea that there is a correct way to do things, an exactitude required of your styling, is back. Tilda Swinton in Joanna Hogg’s movie The Souvenir is sort of the perfect example: a woman with an Hermes scarf tied around her head, with the time and attention to spend on finding just the right table for her daughter’s apartment, who, when she has to tell her daughter the most horrible news of her life, simply says: “The worst.” A tasteful delivery, you might say.
Crucially, we’re not looking to the past for the vibes of a better time, but with an admiration for well-made things. Or think about it this way: people have been going wild for Patagonia, New Balance, and Carhartt because they’re simple and well-made, brands that stand for something outside the machinery of fashion marketing. Now, instead of looking laterally, consumers (or buyers and designers who read consumers’ minds) are glancing up.
STATEMENT SWEATERS: PRAIRIE DRESSES FOR MEN
Which brings us to our next trend: the statement sweater. Verging on novelty knits, statement sweaters are personality pieces, and I do not overstate the situation when I say that statement sweaters are prairie dresses for men. Wear them proudly. Wear them like grails. The daring fall man will drape them over his outwear. Wear a cardigan over a crewneck. The sweaters should look like your entire personality, whether that’s soft, crazy and casual, like this striped mohair cardigan by Marni, or buttoned-up crazy conspiracy theorist, like this Undercover x Valentino flying saucer turtleneck. Sweaters should feel and look, in terms of their craftsmanship, like something a cool Irish grandmother made 60 years ago. But they should speak to the strange whims of the modern man.
New sweater-only brands are obviously the holy grail of statement sweaters, with the very best one being Judy Turner. Buy wisely (aka all of it).
LONG GORGEOUS HAIR FOR MEN
No tasteful, sweater-forward look is complete without a long lustrous head of hair. Are you Rick Owens? Or this Totokaelo model? Probably not. But maybe you started growing your hair out a year and a half ago, and you’re exactly where you need to be. A gorgeous head of extremely long hair, beautifully brushed but not overly groomed, is the ultimate fall accessory.
SHAKER FURNITURE: THE NEW MINIMALISM
Walking around with all that hair will tire a guy out. But the new fall man is not sitting in the mid-century modernist chairs that brought him joy only a few years or minutes ago. (Sorry, Supreme fans.) Instead, he’s reaching for the demonically simple chairs of the Shaker movement. Plain-ness has never been so appealing. The moment to buy four ladderback chairs and oh heck why not throw in a pencil post bed is now. This is the new minimalism. Austerity is here—seize it.
Originally Appeared on GQ