Go to hell: the evolution of the printed trouser trend

Posted on 21st June, by Colin Chapman in London Collections: Men. No Comments

The trend for loud printed trousers emerging on the street and in presentations, is being tipped in the fashion media as being the next big trend to break. As ever with fashion, there has been a snowball effect with this one, albeit a very colourful snowball. And given the seasonal nature of fashion, there’s no obvious place to go for printed pants yet, as those appearing in designer collections being previewed now won’t be available until next spring.

Whilst everyone seems to be crediting Burberry Prorsum‘s prescience in producing this summer’s Ikat trouser, I think the credit is more deservedly due to Prada for opening the flood gates to really LOUD trousers. Prada SS12 features some really acid bright, floral, golf inspired pants – designed to give any minimalist severe anxiety attacks. By the time I’d picked up the courage to try a pair on, the Prada Store in London was sold out, both of the florals and the jazz-print currently being duplicated on shirting across the high street. Featured in the advertising campaign with Michael Pitt, Prada’s  ‘go to hell’ pants (pink centred green flowers against turquoise and white) were elegantly paired with a fine black cardigan and a retro printed silk scarf.

Reversing the convention that a loud printed shirt is acceptable, as long as its balanced by neutrals (think Liberty print shirt under a summer suit), the idea of making your legs speak louder than your top half looks genuinely fresh and exciting. Whether worn with a top featuring elements of the same or a different print (e.g. the Prada Western shirts with their floral panels) or an entirely neutral top (personally I think a T-shirt in a rich accent colour from the trouser print is hard to beat) loud printed trousers are a way to reverse expectations.

Not since Jean-Paul Gaultier and  Moschino were producing statement print jeans in the mid-90s, has a specific item of clothing had so much potential to look genuinely new and of the time, the newness being emphasised by the slim cut of today’s printed trouser.

On the high street, so far, only Zara with their paisley print and H&M with their online-only batik cocktail pants have risen to the challenge.

Vanguard bloggers like Bryanboy and Pelayo Diaz have been wearing womenswear from Zara, whilst Bryanboy actually pre-empted the trend altogether with his own custom-made-in-India trousers almost a year ago.

On the street, printed pants were everywhere during London Collections: Men, from the pack of Japanese buyers bowling around in tasteful Italian-tailored micro prints to street style photographer Tommy Ton in his rolled-up florals and numerous sightings of the Zara paisley. Despite being tipped to explode in SS13, as the trend is being discussed right now it may well have peaked by late summer, as the early-autumn-heatwave wear of choice. And as there actually aren’t many out there yet to purchase, what happens next will be very interesting, as the fashion hungry are forced to become creative with vintage, lucky finds and perhaps some self-commissions bringing the trend on. Go to straight to hell boys.

Some of my favourites spotted during the London Collections: Men

Kit Neale’s fishy ‘deep sea’ pant (tagged rather archly by the New York Times as being reminscent of children’s bedsheets, miaow!)

The larger than life prints are contained by the familiar jean and jean jacket shapes in Kit Neale’s brilliant collection.

T.Lipop’s beautiful florals, part of a stunning tableaux vivant Mexican day of the dead presentation at Fashion East.

In a brilliant spin on the trend, everyone’s favourite grandsons, Agi & Sam, used carefully positioned floral elements in place of all-over print.

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