It all started on the SS 11 runways. Jill Sander, Gucci and Versace led men’s fashion on a kaleidoscopic journey which was filled with floral prints and tropical imagery. The arrival of colour-blocking, pastel chinos and paisley-print attire marked the end of discreet dressing and the formally polite approach was replaced with a multi-coloured motley of psychedelic prints. Initially, the bold suggestions of Gucci et all were met with ambivalence and uncertainty, but a year later, courageous prints and dauntless dressing have become emblems of Spring/Summer garments.
Our Emerald Isle might look a tad grey this summer, but that doesn’t mean that your wardrobe has to be similarly overcast. With a few key looks, your summer apparel will look nothing short of Caribbean. Now if only the sun would come out!
The Hawaiian Shirt:
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. But it’s here, and boy is it happening! For years, the Aloha Shirt as it’s correctly known was more Hawaii 5-No than a summer staple. They very mention of it conjured up images of naff Dad-dressing, but its dominance on the SS 12 catwalks is a lot less embarrassing. In fact, it’s positively welcomed and appreciated. When Elvis wore this shirt in his 1961 film Blue Hawaii, its induction into mainstream fashion was initiated and down through the years it has been received with mixed opinions from “yeah man, it rocks” surfer chants to “oh my gawwwd” antipathy from fashion impresarios. However, when George Clooney wore the Aloha Shirt in the critically-acclaimed 2011 movie The Descendants, it marked the revival of the infamous shirt. If you thought that this shirt was an anachronistic, almost dated fashion item, then think again! Birds of paradise, tropical beach scenes and traditional palm-tree imagery are spearheading the return of the Hawaiian Shirt and for summer 2012, it’s the must-have look of the season. Buy a good slim-fit Aloha Shirt, team it with some colourful chinos and kitsch trainers for an indie-Elvis inspired get up or wear it on the beach with loose-fitting linen trousers for a relaxed evening stroll. Whether you’re into flowery abundance, or calming beach scenes, the Hawaiian shirt is the most masculine way to rock summer prints.
3 words – Versace for H&M.
Donatella Versace took the Italian label right back to the Gianna-era with her collaboration with the high-street giant last year. And for Summer 2012, her kitschy decadence is available left, right and centre. For guys, this print is better when minimalism is employed – leave head-to-toe Baroque to Jessie J. The print which is famous for its lashings of silk, swirling gold jewels and clashing 16th century imagery is something which can add an air of regality to a guy’s outfit. But if it’s worn in the wrong way, it make a fella look like Marie Antoinette, struggling to escape from a Michelangelo painting. Dolce & Gabbana’s SS 13 collection is trifled with Baroque decadence, so why not get in early and claim the throne with this aristocratic print? Keep it simple with a Baroque print t-shirt or shirt, slim-fit trousers and a smart blazer for a modern take on this Romantic look.
The One Off Print: Picture Postcard Swimming Shorts:
One thing that frustrates me about holiday clothing is buying swimming trunks. If you’re sick of shapeless three-quarter length plain shorts and you’re unwilling to don an infamous pair of Speedos, it’s near impossible to find a stylish option! Enter Orlebar Brown. Photographer-turned-designer Adam Brown has restored my confidence in the ailing market with his picture-perfect range of postcard-print swimming shorts.
The collection was launched to celebrate the brand’s 5th birthday and the innovative idea is a welcomed change from the boring banality of traditional men’s swimwear. The postcard image is one I’ve only ever seen printed on DSquared t-shirts, but Brown’s offerings are even more impressive, as he has sampled scenes from the incomparable archives of Corbis. Admittedly, these are a little pricey, but Marks & Spencers have followed suit with similar styled swimming shorts. However, it’s hard to beat these swimming trunks in the impressiveness stakes.
These babies will make you stand out on the beach, for all the right reasons. The only downside: the beach will probably look inferior next to the picture-postcard perfection of the trunk’s print. Orlebar Brown – je les adore!