At Off-White, A New Era Of Business Casual Begins

Photo: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images.
When it comes to setting trends, it's no secret designers wield the influence. And, in Virgil Abloh's case, the industry is under his spell. At Off-White in Paris, Abloh's fall 2018 menswear offering was a stark departure from what he showed for women last season — the ode to Princess Diana featuring bodycon proportions in flirtatious prints that garnered much industry praise. For men, Abloh's vision for the foreseeable future is much more concise and includes a taking back of Wall Street tropes, finished with the finer details of a more office-appropriate interpretation of ready-to-wear. Long gone are the day of three, four, and five-piece suits — bring on the business casual.
Aptly titled as such, models took to the runway in looks that spoke to the show's hybrid theme. Coat sleeves were removed, T-shirts were twisted and pinned to one side, ties were tugged away from the collars of slouchy button-up, a few sneakers made the cut, and, in typical Abloh quirk, some looks were even replete with additional outerwear in dry clean-esque plastic casing. Has uptown finally met downtown? With the sounds of Weezer overhead, Abloh's message was clear: Despite the trend of men who wear suits to abuse their power, thus tainting the idea of classic suiting altogether and turning the look into something more like a wolf in sheep's clothing, it's nothing a bit of tsuzjing — and some loosening up — can't fix.
On his Instagram, the designer posted his "primary show note": a twisted pocket T-shirt from the collection, with a hint that he was inspired by the closet of an intern. But what came down the runway was much more senior, which is crystal clear in the slideshow ahead. As streetwear expats continue to overhaul the luxury fashion arena and disrupt the ready-to-wear game as we known it — see: Kim Jones, Demna Gvasalia, and Abloh himself — the menswear circuit is more relevant to the greater fashion corporation than ever before. It's a type of polished skill that could see Abloh's rise to the top sooner than we think.

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