As any wannabe sartorialist or religious fashion follower knows, the fashion seasons work in advance – so when we have blue skies and sun aplenty outside, fashion designers have already set their sights on what wares they can create and peddle come the winter months. Recently, I have decided to imitate the fashion greats and launch a series of articles detailing the upcoming trends and themes for autumn/winter 2012.

However, fear not, these articles are designed to showcase upcoming trends with a spring/summer 2012 twist – so you can start getting involved ahead of the trend and become the forward-thinking fashion visionaries you really are. Next on the fashion agenda is an autumn/winter staple for every man: the coat.

This year, there seems to be a move away from the traditional pea coats and overcoats in monotone colours and a shift towards a more adventurous type of coat – aptly nicknamed by the Guardian as the ‘Blockbuster Coat’.

Men’s Blockbuster Coats

The definition of ‘blockbuster’ is:

‘something that is forcefully or overwhelmingly impressive, effective or influential’ or ‘something that has or is expected to have wide popular appeal.’

When applied to coats for AW12, I think ‘blockbuster’ refers to statement coats and jackets that really garner attention and capture the eye. In the global shows for the coming season, several designers showed that their take on blockbuster coats involved dual or even multi-tone colours and fabrics, and often hybrid creations of different outerwear styles.

The number of design houses that created their own blockbuster coats was numerous, and included the likes of Carven, with their hybrid duffel/puffa jacket and traditional houndstooth blazer with contrasting olive hood creations; Dries van Noten, with their dramatic use of all-over print and pattern; and Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier with their bold uses of bright colour.

It was actually refreshing to see so much colour and pattern on the runways – a welcome change to the dark, monotone shades which often monopolise autumn/winter menswear:

Mens Blockbuster Coats on the runways of Carven, Dries van Noten, Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier

The beauty of the blockbuster coat for AW12 is that it transcends levels of formality; smart and casual looks alike contained an element of ‘blockbuster.’ At the more casual end of the spectrum we had Alexander Wang, whose collection tended to take inspiration from the street and retained a sense of urban feeling.

Parts of his collection were described as ‘shattered patchwork’, which aptly describes his outerwear garments. He featured several patchwork-effect coats with double-breasted and zip-fastened fronts in multi-tones of black, blue and charcoal grey.

Wang also made use of hybrid styling to showcase shearling jackets with a quilted effect, giving them an oversized, snug feel, and also featured an oversized hood spilling down the shoulders and back when unzipped.

Burberry Prorsum followed suit, with a series of parka/puffa jacket hybrids that featured a severely cropped style with oversized puffa collars – contrastingly worn over sleek tailoring to add to the mish-mash of styling.

On the smarter side, Burberry Prorsum featured a stand-out double-breasted, houndstooth overcoat with an oversized shawl collar, creating wonderfully wide lapels. There was also a traditional double-breasted trench coat in a pale stone colour, complete with an ambitious brown and yellow stripe pattern at the foot of the trench, for an unexpected injection of colour:

Blockbuster Coats on The Men's Runways - Alexander Wang and Burberry Prorsum

Runway Highlight: Balenciaga

At the smarter end of the spectrum was Balenciaga, whose outerwear was generally much more refined and tailored. There wasn’t a lot of diversity in the shape of the Balenciaga overcoats – they were all cut in quite a boxy, basic, knee-length style – but the blockbuster effect was produced through the use of colour and dual fabrics.

Several of the overcoats featured a break at the waist, where a horizontal line broke the coats into two, with one colour/fabric being used on top, and a contrasting colour\fabric utilised on the bottom. For example, one coat was grey on top and black on the bottom, another teamed green tweed on top and black wool on the bottom, whilst another had a black leather effect on top and featured black wool on the bottom:

Blockbuster Coats on Balenciaga AW12 Men's Runway

Runway Highlight: Dior Homme

Another highlight came in the form of the Dior Homme collection, which had a military vibe and therefore made frequent use of a beautiful officer green hue throughout.

A belted olive overcoat with a high shawl neckline was a stand out piece, whilst structured double-breasted overcoats in olive and black featured multi-tonal panels in silver, grey and black. One coat also featured a silvery-grey, satin-like quilted chest panel and sleeves, creating an interesting mixture of styles which still retained a sense of smart classicism:

Blockbuster Coats on Dior Homme AW12 Men's Runway

Current Examples
Everyday Inspiration

Of course, blockbuster coats come in all forms, and you don’t have to purchase one that is as theatrical as what you see on the runways. The lookbook below shows how accessible and wearable a piece of statement outerwear is to the everyday male:

Men's Statement Jackets Lookbook

It is clear to see that these blockbuster coats are going to inundate outerwear styles for AW12, and in order to get ahead, we only need to look to lighterweight versions in order to start introducing a SS12 alternative.

Looking to the high street and online retailers – there are a wide range of blousons, bombers and varsity jackets which take aspects of the ‘blockbuster’ outerwear feature and apply them in more lightweight versions:

  • Asos Duffle CoatAsos Duffle Coat
  • Wesc Elian Contrast JacketWesc Elian Contrast Jacket
  • Asos Anorak With Colour BlockAsos Anorak With Colour Block
  • Asos PeacoatAsos Peacoat
  • Asos Stripe Duffle CoatAsos Stripe Duffle Coat
  • Unconditional Biker Sweat JacketUnconditional Biker Sweat Jacket
  • Thom Browne Mens Letterman JacketThom Browne Mens Letterman Jacket
  • Paul Smith Mens Wool Pea CoatPaul Smith Mens Wool Pea Coat
  • Cord Patch Quilted JacketCord Patch Quilted Jacket
  • Allsaints Kotova Pea CoatAllsaints Kotova Pea Coat
  • Topman Navy Jersey Baseball JacketTopman Navy Jersey Baseball Jacket
  • Topman Navy And Stone Cropped MacTopman Navy And Stone Cropped Mac
  • Topman Denim Jersey Baseball JacketTopman Denim Jersey Baseball Jacket
  • Oliver Spencer Navy Pilot JacketOliver Spencer Navy Pilot Jacket
  • Moncler Ghislain JacketMoncler Ghislain Jacket
  • Burberry Prorsum Tri-colour Cropped Quilted Jacket 132214Burberry Prorsum Tri-colour Cropped Quilted Jacket 132214
  • Givenchy Contrast-front Quilted Leather Bomber JacketGivenchy Contrast-front Quilted Leather Bomber Jacket
  • Gucci Suede-front Jersey Varsity JacketGucci Suede-front Jersey Varsity Jacket
  • James Long Quilted Leather And Wool JacketJames Long Quilted Leather And Wool Jacket
  • Balenciaga Panelled Slim-fit Biker JacketBalenciaga Panelled Slim-fit Biker Jacket
  • Burberry Brit Knitted-trim Quilted JacketBurberry Brit Knitted-trim Quilted Jacket

So what do you guys think? Is there room in the AW12 market for a more unique, attention-grabbing ‘blockbuster’ style to steal the limelight? Or do you think this is a step too far and the more traditional monotone colours and styles will reign supreme?

In my opinion, I think it is quite refreshing to have a more colourful, contrast-texture feel to autumn/winter, which traditionally tends to feature darker colours and single-style coats and jackets. But perhaps you think pop colours, dual fabrics and textures and pattern have no place in outerwear and are better suited to garments more regularly associated with the spring/summer seasons?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…