“When I first started cutting, my biggest seller was the single-breasted, button-three in grey or dark blue; ten years later, it was the same; today it’s the same; in 1980, it’ll still be the same.” That was the response of a Savile Row tailor back in the Sixties, when a journalist asked what he thought of Carnaby Street’s menswear revolution. The tailor wrote it all off as a passing fad; four decades on, he may have had a point. Pretty much every other aspect of British life has changed since then, but in men’s fashion, suits still rule - in magazines, on the streets (and on the street-style blogs), and, above all, in the shops.
Over the four days of London’s menswear shows there were plenty of suits, both on and off the runways. Matthew Miller splashed his versions with red paint, Agi & Sam added prison stripes, and Richard James layered on vivid tropical prints. At the more classic end, Paul Smith put his on stunt cyclists, and Burberry teamed theirs with old-fashioned lace.
The only alternatives, really, were at the extremes; things like Astrid Andersen’s hip-hop streetwear covered with silk, or Sibling’s jockstrap-flashing sports kit, or Craig Green’s neon-coloured martial arts robes. In the middle, there were some sensible t-shirts and jumpers and trousers, just like there are every season. But compared to the suit, nothing else seems to stand a chance.