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Velvet Suits – Your Knight In Shining Armour.
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Velvet Suits – Your Knight In Shining Armour.

It’s Saturday morning. You’re walking down the street, to grab some coffee at your favourite place around the corner, wearing a relaxed pair of jeans. You bump into a 1D fangirl group, screaming and gawking at one guy. While scanning the boy from head to toe you find yourself gazing at his sporty and loose cut velvet jacket, that features sparkly fireworks on the front. The daring piece matches his casual white T and black skinny jeans to perfection. Your trained fashion eye pins the piece with Nick Cave and Prince, reminding you of gothic rock vibes and ‘Purple Rain’. At the same time, it comes with a swift of old-fashioned elegance recalling you of Oscar Wilde. Your mind tags Harry’s look with #80s and #rebel.

Now that the AW 16/17 menswear shows finished off a few days ago, velvet got introduced as a part of the 70’s retro vibe. Big fashion names like Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta and Topman Design proved the shiny fabric from head to toe, with the view of shifting it from occasional evening wear to everyday style. “I think you can wear velvet at daytime like a sequence of a 16-year old boy at school.”, says Toni Glennville, a lecturer at London College of Fashion.”I don’t think the fabric has anything to do with occasional wear anymore”.

Both, Alexander McQueen’s and Bottega Veneta’s collection were kept in dark moody colours, from black to teal-turquoise with a touch of romance. Good old narrowed suits were waved goodbye and got replaced by casual blazers and extra long semi-fitted pants. The two collections screamed sporty and relax. Bottega Veneta’s casual yet Bond-look-a-like suit suddenly reminds us of the movie ‘Casino Royale’ and the velvet green dinner jacket worn by the daring bad guy Le Chiffre aka Mads Mikkelsen.

The nostalgic look is changing, from the young daring man to the rebellious one that moves from lux side to guerrilla manner. Topman Design and Alexander McQueen had the most obvious hippie ingredient in common: Flower embroidery and flocking on suits. Topman Design presented its version in shiny turmeric colour, mixed up with a pair of white kicks while ladder kept the colour dark in a deep warm red.

Velvet suits as all-in-one look might get a go on the comfortable side but could be a bit of a challenge for the dandy bloke in the office. “Colour options are bolder than usual business wear that is mainly classics of grey, navy and black,” says Toni Tran male blogger at Fashitects.

The velvet fabric scores without any doubt in leisure wear and could be the perfect outfit for the fashioned boy who doesn’t fancy narrowness at all. Whether worn as a classic two-piece to pick up your girl for prom night or the just the jacket for a night out with your mates: The new version proves to have many sides to mix and style.

However, the sporty loose cut pants are not very well received by experts. “Keep the trousers tapered with little to no break”, suggests Alex Woodhall, contributing editor of ‘The Gentleman’s Journal’. You don’t want the look to be confused with dad’s prom getup, right?

But Alex believes they make an appealing option to the mainstream suit. “I wouldn’t quite say that velvet suits are everyday wear, but since the neo-seventies revival trend they have been a rakish option for the sartorially inclined man to stand out among a sea of penguin suits at evening events.”

Seriousness is a key ingredient when it comes to designing suits. In terms of rule breakers, the mid 70’s were demanding in menswear history. The bloke’s world got introduced to deconstructed tailoring and bloody awesome leisure suits, including the Glam Rock era and Peacock revolution, the Youthquake and Mods. A time when it was about the teen ruling the fashion and music scene and about floppy loose collars mixed up with lux fabrics like satins, lurex and velvets.

Nowadays, when looking towards the handicraft of tailoring Sarah Hollebon believes a comeback was urgently needed. “Menswear is becoming much more diverse in the creative fields.”, says the 20-year-old Bespoke Tailoring student at London College of Fashion. “Velvet was already big last year, especially for AW’15 as evening wear. It’s a very wearable fabric, not only due to its warmth fibres but very settling on the human eye. I feel this year it will be bigger and better”.

Will the velvet suit make it to the streets anytime soon? Opinions vary. “You’ll notice more of the velvet blazers at night. As for the generic consumers and fashionistas on the streets, we have to narrow it down to the real consumers,” explains Toni Tran male blogger at Fashitects.

Somehow velvet suits need some time to trickle down and settle.“I think velvet particularly with the whole 70s thing going on, hasn’t got the mainstream yet not as good as it can be.”, explains Toni Glennville, a lecturer at London College of Fashion. Maybe it’s still too early for velvet suits for the big stage? We’ll wait and see.

Now that sportiness and comfort set the tone in menswear this season, suddenly it makes sense why the shiny fabric has found its way back to the runway. The new velvet suit is not to be confused with Granny’s grandson, whose suit just looked a number too big. Menswear is changing and so are velvet suits. In the end, it depends on how you put it together and add your own attitude but the style options to choose from are huge, giving you for sure more than one reason to challenge your insi-De rebel.

*Target publication: i-D STYLE Print


Fashion pen behind the Wearabelle Journal │Fitness junkie who lives by the Wine Not Wednesday rule and cheese.

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