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Most innovative menswear designers?

RainCityClotheshound

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Gentlemen, Given the massive consolidation of designer houses,and the consequent pressure for profitability-as demonstated by the increasing number of diffusion lines,with varying degrees of craftsmanship-there seems to be a lack of truly exciting,innovative,and well made menswear these days. However,I don't have near the knowledge of menswear that many of you do. What do you think? ? Â Which designers best exemplify the combination of both vision and manufacture to you?
 

thc

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Gentlemen, Given the massive consolidation of designer houses,and the consequent pressure for profitability-as demonstated by the increasing number of diffusion lines,with varying degrees of craftsmanship-there seems to be a lack of truly exciting,innovative,and well made menswear these days. However,I don't have near the knowledge of menswear that many of you do. What do you think? ? Â Which designers best exemplify the combination of both vision and manufacture to you?
For me, the designers who still continue to make visionary clothes are Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein. I'll probably get a lot of flak here because I know there are a lot of "anti Calvin Klein-ists," and neither are exactly "new designers." However, with each collection, I'm impressed with both the style and the efforts to move forward with each season. I'm probably a little biased because they happen to be my two favorite lines. Jil Sander (pre-Prada) would be on my list too. And perhaps Yohji Yamamoto, Neil Barrett and whoever designs for CP Company, if I had more experience with them. Everyone mentions Hedi Slimane and Marc Jacobs, but I don't see what the appeal is, really. HS's clothes do not seem wearable. And MJ, while I have really tried to like him, produces clothes that are too "thrift-shop" for me. I would name Chris Bailey of Burberry and Roberto Menichetti of Cerruti as designers-to-watch. In terms of "well-made," I would name some different designers. From my personal experience with different brands, I would say that the most well made clothes in my closet are from Comme des Garcons, Jil Sander (before Prada ownership) and John Varvatos. In fact, all of the Japanese designers (Issey, Yohji) produce very well-made clothing. You can tell the excellent craftsmanship even with the fact of a lot of the clothes looking ridiculous--at least in my opinion. Just my 2 cents. Rebuttals or agreements welcome.
 

Joe G

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I would have to say that, for me, the ones with history of getting it right in "fashionable" menswear are Martin Margiela (sp?) at Hermes, Paul Smith at his epon. lines, and whoever's doing menswear at Salvatore Ferragamo. The only problem with Hermes is that it's SO expensive, whereas Paul Smith and Ferragamo are more in line with "typical" high-end fashion prices.

I'd also include all of them as good to excellent quality, although in terms of tailoring quality none really compares to my "three K's" (Kilgours, Kiton, Knize). Except for Hermes, none costs as much, either...

There are some other lines with individual pieces I quite like (the vulcanised zip cardigan and vintage racer's jacket from CP Company this year, for instance), but I haven't seen enough of them over time to make a judgement. Fashion can have one-hit wonders, too.

Thc also had some great suggestions. I definitely think he's on the right track regarding Slimane and post-Prada Jil Sander, although I'd extend his reasoning about quality (of manufacture, not design) to Helmut Lang as well. I though his debut Dior collection with the stand-up collar suits was interesting, but I haven't seen much of merit since then. (And even there, I think Hermes did the stand-up collar jacket better with their cord stuff last fall.)

Marc Jacobs is harder to judge; his own lines are uneven, but his work for Vuitton is usually quite good.

I'm not entirely convinced about Christopher Bailey. I haven't seen anything I really liked from Burberry Prorsum's since Roberto Menichetti left.

As for ones to watch, I agree with thc that Roberto Menichetti at Cerruti is the rising star, even though he's been a star twice before already. His prior work for Jil Sander and Burberry was wonderful, and hopefully is Cerutti stuff will be, too. Also Martin M. seems to be expanding his own line; although some of his older pieces like vintage jeans reconstructed into formal trousers were neat, they were also fairly limited in terms of scope and wearability.

Peace,

JG
 

Renwick

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Contrary to the other replies, I really like Slimane. His suits are nice and the quality is very good. I really like the way his suits seem to lengthen the body and make you seem more thin. Other than his suits though, only his ties (how many others make so many thin ties) and his odd jewelry/pins interest me. I hate the sleeveless shirts. Margielas stuff is awesome. Although I doubt he even wants the celebrity enough to be called a "star" he is definitely an innovator.
 

Renwick

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I would have to say that, for me, the ones with history of getting it right in "fashionable" menswear are Martin Margiela (sp?) at Hermes,
Margiela does only the womens clothing for Hermes I think, although he does mens stuff for his own line.
 

thc

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In terms of well-made, I'm going to add Michael Kors. I had forgotten about him. The quality of his knits is amazing. Obviously there are those lines that are in a league unto their own--e.g., Borrelli, Kiton, etc. I just didn't mention those because I don't own anything from those type of lines yet. Haven't made the big bucks yet for that.
 

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