Retro Chic

Updated: 2012-04-22 07:36

By Xu Junqian (China Daily)

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Retro Chic

Menswear reaches back to the '20s to define the "modern gentleman", reports Xu Junqian in Shanghai.

Street fashion is no longer all about ripped clothing and flared trousers this year, at least not for men. On the contrary, the vintage style that has swept from film screens to runway is spreading quickly to male street fashion, which has long eschewed the "much too scrupulous looks".

Woody Allen is writing about traveling back to the 1920s Paris (Midnight Paris).

Leonardo DiCaprio is getting back into his handsome black tux for the upcoming film The Great Gatsby, one decade after he dressed himself with the borrowed black tux to meet Rose at 9 pm at the clock in film Titanic.

There's no doubt that looks inspired by the first half of the 20th century are back, and trendier than ever," says Xu Jingcheng, an independent fashion buyer in Shanghai.

Echoing the trend, for example, Mark Fairwhale, a domestic male fashion brand tailored for "new urbanites", introduced and named its new season collection "Modern New Gentlemen" of 2012.

Retro Chic

"Mark Fairwhale has always been styling for gentlemen throughout the years," says Zhang Zhaoda, the chief designer of the brand and president of China Committee of Asia Fashion Exchange. "But this year, we are taking a step backward to the original, the most classic image of the golden time gentlemen (the 1920s)."

To be considered a new modern gentleman, as Zhang puts it, must-have items include thin lapel jackets, skinny ties, French cuff shirts, cap toe shoes, and more.

"The most important thing about an outfit for a 'modern new gentlemen', is of course, and must be the material used," Zhang adds.

Ann Sofie, head of design of H&M, one of the world largest fashion retailers, offers a younger style for menswear this season, if not the year.

"For men, I'm going for preppy essentials to start off the season - perfect classics like a granddad collar striped shirt and some great navy chinos, to build the foundation of a seasonal wardrobe. Along with accessories like brogues and gray-rimmed sunglasses, they will create simple and functional spring style," Sofie says about their new collection.

"On runway, high-end brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Prada portrayed us an elegant, sophisticated and sexy Sicilian gentlemen, with delicately embroidered patterns on suits and gold-painted buttons. While for street fashion, we may just take one or two elements out of the look," says Xu, the fashion buyer.

"And blue is the color of the year, from nautical blue for summer to royal blue for special occasions," adds Xu, the fashion buyer.

For Sofie, it's sailor stripes that set the tone for menswear this spring. "A modern take on nautical is perfect for the transitional season," she comments.

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