It’s a well known fact that the four seasons dramatically affect the moods of the designers and the trends that are carried throughout the year. We’ve progressed through the autumn/winter period, as always, with dulled down tonal looks followed by dark and earthy palettes – so it’s only natural that most of us look forward to the splashes of colour that arrive with the spring/summer sun. However, it seems as though this ‘seasonal fashion law’ is being broken this year, as designers are showing a much darker side to spring/summer.

On The Runways

Founded by Jeanne Lanvin, the French fashion house has produced a range of concealed pieces. Black is clearly prominent throughout the collection, whilst occasionally being twinned with stone greys or dark blues. Lucas Ossendrijver, who is at the front of Lanvin’s menswear, has created looks nostalgic to those of Beetlejuice, using black and white vertical stripes to create the eye catching shirt and trouser combination seen below on the catwalk. Following on from Tom Bloomfield’s article on Sheer, you can see that Lanvin has adopted this emerging trend of 2011 with the inclusion of ever so slightly transparent knitwear partnered again with simplistic black skinny trousers.

The Anti Spring/Summer Trend on the Lanvin Runway


Givenchy has stayed much more loyal to achromatic colour in most of its looks, telling a sinister story through evil inspired motifs and subtle, black leopard print attire – all supported by a truly dark ambience created at the runway show. In more of a formal twist, two piece ensembles consisting of a waistcoat and shorts show how we can incorporate tailoring whilst staying cool and standing out from the crowd. Another highlight was with the black sleeveless jumpsuit, which is a garment that has yet to take off in menswear. Could this be the year it works? It is a simple, “throw it on” approach to summer dressing, but is definitely an eye catcher. Plus the dark tones means that is actually comes off quite masculine.

Givenchy Menswear SS11 Show Featuring Dark Pieces

Tim Hamilton

Well known for his street wear meets tailoring look, his S/S collection for 2011 has stayed true to this ethos whilst proving to be the most practical way of wearing this trend. Hamilton has been much more generous in considering the heat but has still pledged allegiance to the colour black presenting it in shorts, vests and sleeved/sleeveless polos. With most of the looks utilising black hi-tops, it’s a strong suggestion to not rule these out in the sunny and sweltering upcoming months.

Something that you should definitely take away from this collection is the mixing of tones. If you want to go with monochrome pieces in the summer then dark greys and charcoals look great as a contrast when paired with true black, whilst still offering a dark and edgy look. Do not disregard your black military/biker boots so quickly for this season either, as they can work just as well with shorts and substituted in easily instead of your hi-tops.

Tim Hamilton Showcasing Achromatic Clothing For SS11

Get The Look

So getting the look is easy. You will all have monochrome pieces in your wardrobe from past seasons, and all of these can be used to experiment with new darker looks for spring/summer this year. Pair black chinos with a charcoal loose scoop necked tee/vest, use black tailored shorts with a short sleeved gingham black shirt and hi-tops, or you can even utilise black jeans with a sleeveless (sheer?) lightweight knit/hoody. Try to incorporate patterns (such as checks/gingham/stripes) or graphic pieces in order to break up the look a little bit, and if you are going to go all out black then really play on it with a couple of hard masculine accessories such as a watch or jewellery – utilising chunky boots would also be a fashion forward alternative to this.

You might think that it’s easy to be pigeon holed into different stereotypes in attempt to really hit this trend, but the important thing to remember is that trying to depict one of these would be the wrong way to go about it – no-one is telling you to suddenly become a “Biker” or “Goth”. You don’t have to change your whole wardrobe but simply incorporate some of items below and find a level you are comfortable with. I think that once you get over the initial apprehension of using just one colour or very dark pieces, it can become a really edgy look that will definitely make you stand out from the crowd – this really is an anti-trend.

Note: In recent articles you can see how spring/summer fashion has taken a darker approach to dressing with the biker trend being especially relevant. Lanvin also showed how to incorporate the sheer trend within this look effectively, meaning that black pieces this year are not only timeless but extremely versatile.

  • Black Double Layer Y-Neck Tee
  • Ramsgate Raw Scoop
  • Black Smart Polo
  • Black Crew Neck T-Shirt
  • Black Stretch Skinny Jeans
  • Puma Ranger LX Comfort Hi
  • Converse All Star Ox Suede
  • Black Leather Boots
  • Lacoste Legends x Ato Indiana Hi Trainers
  • gucci GG thong sandal
  • ASOS Cowl Neck Button Through Vest
  • ASOS Plain Shorts
  • Religion Denim Shorts
  • Fred Perry Short Sleeve Gingham Check Shirt
  • UNCONDITIONAL R46A Raw Black T-Shirt
  • NUDIE Slim Jim Dry Black Coated Jeans
  • PAUL SMITH - JEANS 399J-754 Black Polo Shirt
  • Lattice Ring
  • Mens Cross Belt
  • Bleeding Ramskull Raw
  • Montag L/s Shirt
  • Hood Crew
  • Detroit Chino
  • Neil Barrett Regular V-Neck Stripe T-Shirt
  • Maison Martin Margiela 14 Replica Fine Gauge Knitted Cardigan
  • Jil Sander Men's Gallery Short Sleeve Formal Shirt
A More Subtle Take on the Trend

Bearing in mind the risk of heat exhaustion it would be dangerous for me to just recommend you go all out with fully black attire, but if you think you can bear the heat then why not? Like our lookbookers [below] you can see that black jeans and a black vest are a popular choice; pair these with bold coloured accessories to make a stand out look for the summer.

If you would rather not swelter for fashion, why not show it from the waist down? Those black boots/high tops and black tailored shorts can still be key items in your wardrobe these upcoming seasons, but feel free to keep yourself cool up top.

Men's Monochrome Spring/Summer Look Book

Your Opinion

So is this a realistic trend for this season? We want your opinion in the comments box.

  • Is this really a practical trend on hot spring/summer days?
  • Do you like the monochrome look?
  • How would you make it work for YOU?
  • Are the designers just striving too hard to be different from everyone else?
  • Is a lack of colour fashion blasphemy?
  • Do you think using a look like this in spring/summer is daring OR boring?