Blame it on actor Timothée Chalamet, who sparkled in a silver and gold Tom Ford suit at the premiere of his film The French Dispatch last year or rapper Lil Nas X, who wore a pearl Balmain suit at the Grammy’s this year — unapologetic shine is eclipsing the once-stagnant menswear space. The likes of Harry Styles, Jared Leto, Cole Sprouse, and back home actors like Ranveer Singh have made sparkle emblematic of the new-age masculinity and rock & roll.
One glance at the AW 22 menswear collections, and it’s hard to overlook the fact that designers have leaned into the spirit of maximalism, favouring a freewheeling celebration of holographic sheen, techno fabrics, and statement-making surface texturing.
At Dior men, Kim Jones added a hint of shine by embroidering jackets with lily-of-the-valley motifs and styling ensembles with satin berets and jewel-encrusted derby shoes. Hermès, too, couldn’t resist the allure of hard materials like the high-shine croc and patent leather in ensembles.
Moreover, Courrèges nodded in favour of vinyl trousers, and it was hard to overlook sequinned suits at Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana.
Known for extrapolating sheen-inducing engineered textiles, designer Amit Aggarwal observes that when it comes to red carpet appearances, the idea is not just to get the maximum eyeballs but to also ensure that the vision of the designer is not diluted.
“In this context, shine plays a crucial role because even now, many people associate luxury with a certain refined shine. When it comes to red carpets, we keep our outfits dynamic, so that the shine does not come across as too solid or rigid. We experiment with silhouette and scale to ensure there is enough dynamism to keep everyone engaged without it being just one of the many outfits in that space,” he quips.
Some of Aggarwal’s best-selling menswear outfits in his previous collection ‘Victore’ have been metallic ones. “In ‘Pedesis’ (recently showcased at India Couture Week), the menswear was cut with
the interjection of a classic man suit and the deeply metallic, fluid forms. There was ample colour in our menswear this time because I don’t feel menswear necessarily needs to be confined to just two colours of a palette,” he explains.
More Indian men are looking for outfits that resonate with how they feel at their very core, regardless of their age. “They don’t want to make a statement everywhere they go, but they definitely want clothes that align with their energies,” he shares. At Amit Aggarwal, most sheen-inducing textiles undergo major fabric engineering to truly blend with the personality of the wearer as opposed to sticking out like a sore thumb.
Designer Rimzim Dadu’s textiles are celebrated for controlled fluidity with sheen structure, which makes them impactful and red carpet ready. “We are getting a good response from our metallic menswear
collection. Indian men now don’t just stand by, they are in with the trend, and they want to experiment and experience the glamour fashion has to offer,” says the designer, who clocks in 15 years in fashion this year.
She adds, “Indian men are open to experimenting and they have been experimenting for ages, India enjoys shine and colour, and with our metallic progressive surface texturing, it takes it one step above. Our clients are enjoying our creation and it fits well with the contemporary world of fashion.”
Designer Rohit Gandhi of label Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna observes that for most people, shine resonates with glamour. “It’s easier to connect to your audiences as well. We have always been pro innovations in menswear designs.
With fashion and weddings evolving every day, our grooms and even the family members want new ideas, and appreciate it,” says Gandhi.
While we’ve always seen elements of shine in either a brooch or a bow tie, cuffs or shoes, we’re finally seeing men embrace head-to-toe sparkle in their outfits that well. “Globally, we’re moving into a more fluid and neutral stance when it comes to fashion choices. So, whether it’s the choice in silhouettes or
fabric, both genders have a variety of options if they’re ready to dive right in,” says stylist Bharat Gupta.
“What you wear is a reflection of you, so if you aren’t the bling kind, then don’t follow a trend that you aren’t ready for. Certain trends require a certain personality to carry it off. You can work with a certain percentage of sparkle that you’re comfortable with.
Also, such outfits work better for an indoor event. The likes of Styles in the west and Singh closer home have made shine a part of their regular wardrobe. But are you also that fearless to carry it off, ask yourself this question before diving right in,” he cautions.
Both globally and back home, celebrities and their stylists have been trying to push the envelope when it
comes to shine-on outfits for men. From shirtless suiting in sheen-heavy fabrics to layering with chunky statement necklaces, with every outing, icons like Styles and Singh have been redefining the menswear
Crafted in luxe chainmail fabrics and embroidered with three-dimensional elements, they are a nod to the indulgent style of dressing that has become a hit post-pandemic.
(Featured Image: L to R: Jared Leto and American rapper Lil Nas)