Whilst most of us at this time of year will be still enjoying the rebellious British summer or planning a last-minute holiday, in the fashion world we are well and truly into autumn/winter. High summer clothing will most likely be on sale in most retailers, whilst outerwear and winter accessories will be becoming more and more prevalent.
So a bit of forward planning is necessary, in order to avoid panic buying when the weather takes a turn for the worst – nobody wants to spend money on a winter coat that they end up hating but are forced to wear to battle the elements.
In terms of autumn/winter clothing, a big trend that has emerged from the runways is fur, faux fur and shearling in menswear.
Editor Note: Before we start, it must be pointed out that in no way does FashionBeans condone the use of real fur within fashion. We are, however, dedicated to making you aware of all the latest trends within menswear, and as such will present an unbiased account and report. Many of the items featured or described in the piece are actually faux fur, although from here we will describe all variants as simply ‘fur’ for ease.
Mostly reserved for outerwear, but cropping up in accessories such as scarves and gloves, this trend is not for the faint-hearted – and many of you will be surely reject the very notion. However, there was a large presence of fur on the runways at this season’s shows, and it seems there has definitely been a paradigm shift in recent times from simplicity and minimalism to extravagance and opulence within men’s fashion.
One of the all-time champions of this maximalist sartorial style has to be John Galliano, who has always been famous for his larger than life design aesthetic and personal style. For their autumn/winter 2012 collection, the house’s first since Galliano’s very public fall from grace, was a 1930s inspired gentlemanly affair, with luxe fabrics and vintage cuts and construction taking centre stage.
The use of fur ranged from the subtle to the overt – trench coats and aviator jackets came with fur collars whilst all-over fur coats provided the most extreme take on the trend. The look here is regally masculine with an upper class military edge, The Great Gatsby eat your heart out:
Vivienne Westwood and Giorgio Armani both showed fur in similar ways, giving wearers the same option as at Galliano. Westwood’s Arctic explorer models were clad in fur trimmed coats and gloves or full-fur creations, albeit more casual than those from John Galliano. The models here painted a political picture, which has become a signature for Dame Westwood season to season – this time the issue of global warming was highlighted. The fur evidently kept them warm whilst working in the field in icy conditions.
The show from Giorgio Armani however failed to slam any global crises, but the collection was a modern take on dapper dressing, and materials were again experimented with. Fur was used for statement outerwear, which when worn against smart suiting gave a rich and successful air to the wearers:
The most interesting use of fur, in my opinion, came from Damir Doma and Viktor & Rolf. Whilst both collections were vastly different from each other, the same spirit of originality was present.
Damir Doma presented an exotic, far-flung collection inspired by the Eastern cultures of Mongolia and Tibet. Fabrication was again key here, with wools and silks used to create a rich amalgamation of textures. Fur was also a heavy player with gilets, gloves, coats and hats all made up of shaggy, rough furs which contrasted the cleaner versions used by other designers.
Viktor & Rolf also played with fur, mixing it with leather (another key material this season) to create a juxtaposition between hard and soft that worked well on the runway. Aviator styles were key here, with fur-lined pilot jackets or fur coats worn with leather trousers and fur hats. This military construction helped to keep the pieces looking masculine, which is a fine art when considering the materials used:
In terms of styling and how to actually wear fur, we have two very clear options in my opinion. It will be very easy to get on board with this trend in a subtle way by updating your winter coat or accessories slightly come the colder weather.
A winter trench coat in thick wool will be complimented by a fur lining or collar and will remain masculine and refined. Alternatively, choosing fur accessories such as scarves, gloves or hats will be an even more cautious nod to the trend – just be careful not to match accessories and try to stick to one at a time. Add a fur scarf to a wool trench worn over a pinstripe suit, for example, to update your current look without straying too far from your personal style.
The other option is to go all out and wear show-stopping outerwear in full fur, for the ultimate peacock effect. As I said earlier, this option is not for everyone and a certain masculine swagger will be necessary to pull this off. I am of the opinion however, that this will be a gamble worth taking and the rewards plentiful. Heads will turn, trust me.
Team a fur coat with dark jeans, and for the icing on the autumn/winter cake add some leather gloves and black boots for a smart-casual look that just cannot fail to make an impact.
So there you have it, I fear this trend will be somewhat of a Marmite, with no middle ground opinion wise. But what do you guys think; will you be rushing out to buy a statement fur coat a la Galliano? Or will you be sticking to something more low key this season?
My advice is go for it this autumn/winter – men’s fashion is becoming more and more free for experimentation and the further we can push things the less stale and old fashioned it will become.
We’ll see if I have the balls to rock a Mongolian fur jacket once the weather turns though… I’ll keep you posted.