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Monday, Jun 14, 2021

The Best-Dressed Models, Editors, and Designers at Men’s Fashion Week Share the Stories Behind Their Looks

The Best-Dressed Models, Editors, and Designers at Men’s Fashion Week Share the Stories Behind Their Looks

Ahead of the spring 2022 menswear shows, eight of the industry’s most stylish guys shared the stories behind their best street style looks and told us what they’re excited to wear next.

In the Before Times, Vogue was publishing hundreds, if not thousands, of street style photos each season, and some of the best came out of the menswear shows. As menswear came to rival the women’s industry in terms of celebrity designers, It items, and boundary-pushing style, the scene at the men’s shows transformed too. By 2018, the days of normcore and suits were long over, replaced by newly bold and experimental modes of dressing.

The shift is best represented by a handful of well-dressed guys: models like Alton Mason and Xu Meen, designers such as Charles Jeffrey, and editors including Mobolaji Dawodu, Yu Masui, Ben Cobb, Luke Jefferson Day, and Blake Abbie. As evidenced by the photos here, each one has a completely different approach to getting dressed and is rarely influenced by “trends” or what’s selling online. Their looks feel intuitive and genuine, exactly what personal style is supposed to be.

So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not only do these guys remember how they acquired the clothes and accessories in these photos, but they can also recall precisely where they were going when they wore them, who they sat next to at the shows, and even a few wardrobe glitches too. Ahead of the spring 2022 menswear season in London, Milan, and Paris, we asked them to share the stories behind their best outfits and what they’re looking forward to wearing next. Scroll through their thoughtful answers here, and come back for our spring 2022 street style coverage all month long.



Yu Masui at the spring 2020 ready-to-wear shows in London

Yu Masui


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

A Prada shirt, Marques’Almeida buggy leather biker trousers, a Rose bag by a Thai brand called Kloset, and Asics sneakers.

How did you acquire these pieces? Do any of them remind you of certain memories or stories?

It’s all mine. Some of these pieces were bought in shops, some from designers’ personal orders, some from traveling, and a few were gifted.

I actually have a sad memory of this day! I was seated at a show and felt something sticky with funny peeling sounds when I stood up to leave. Then I saw there was a big black stain on my trousers when I got home. Those bench seats were painted in black for the show. Some parts must not have dried properly.... I was so shocked because these were/are my favorite trousers, and I skipped the next shows. Luckily. my friend altered [and fixed] them.

Is this a typical look for you, or do you like to experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

Every day is an experiment for me. Especially these days. The positive side of social media is that I don’t go out in pajamas anymore. Fashion Week is more about showing respect for and supporting designers, especially young ones. I usually wear their clothes on the days they’re showcasing their new collection.

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

I think I’ll bring back some of these pieces, as I am wearing more of my own archives lately. This is my way of a sustainable approach [to fashion]. I spend time finding nice designer vintage, but I’m still wearing new pieces. For the upcoming men’s fashion weeks, I’ll bring funny designs from Doublet, beautiful jeans crossed with ostrich feathers by Marques’Almeida, a crazy party jacket from Moto Guo, Patou’s cute sailor hat with ruffles, and lots of shoes, all packed in my suitcase!

Has your personal style changed at all in the past year? If so, how?

COVID didn’t [inspire] me to dress down! I think I [now] wear more young or small independent designers from all over the world. Maybe I’ll have a chance to get to know emerging talents through my job as a scout for the LVMH Prize [this year]. But to be honest, I’m sick of show-off culture and everyone doing/wearing the same things on social media. I’d rather wear unique pieces. Because of that, I’ve been searching for designer vintage recently, like ’90s Vivienne Westwood.



Alton Mason at the fall 2019 ready-to-wear shows in New York

Alton Mason


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

I’m wearing Matthew Adams Dolan here. I put it together like this as it felt so comfortable—I loved this ensemble and its silhouette.

How did you acquire these pieces? Do any of them remind you of certain memories or stories?

Matthew is a good friend of mine and invited me to his atelier to try on his collection! It was a gift from him, and I feel it reflects New York’s state of mind.

Is this a typical look for you, or do you like to experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

I love a suit, but I also love to experiment and try new things, always! New silhouettes, textures, moods and aesthetics. It changes all the time, but again, I love, love, love suits.

Do you remember when this photo was taken, where you were going, or the shows you saw that day?

I believe this was outside of the Boss show in New York! [Back] when shows were live with an audience, people were running around backstage and [we had] about 15 minutes to make it all count.

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

I definitely would wear it again—this is a suit that reflects the past, present, and future. It’s timeless.

I’m really excited to wear browns, denim, and, of course, Tabi boots this week [at the men’s shows]. I love discovering new and emerging designers and will definitely continue rocking my signature silhouette: cinched at the top, baggy at the bottom, with a crazy boot.

Has your style changed at all in the past year? If so, how?

It definitely has evolved [toward] versatility. I feel more confident in my originality and individuality, so I feel free to play more. I’ve gotten to discover many new and emerging designers from all over the world, and I’d love to continue supporting them and being a canvas to their vision.



Charles Jeffrey at the spring 2020 menswear shows in Paris

Charles Jeffrey


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

I am wearing a Loverboy spring 2019 coat, a Blue Roses long-sleeve shirt, some Loverboy shorts and socks, and Dr. Martens boots. I think this was coming out of the Dior Men show.

How did you acquire these pieces? Are they all your own designs? Do any remind you of certain memories or stories?

Most of them are my own designs, aside from the Blue Roses top, which I adore. I have so many of them, and I’m obsessed with anything Edward Meadham does, so it’s nice to wear something I know he’s designed.

Is this a typical look for you, or do you like to experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

I dress like this all the time, ha ha! Maybe I put a tiny bit more makeup onขit’s Fashion Week, after all.

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

Oh, honey, I have three new seasons of Loverboy to peacock around Paris in. I can’t wait to come back and see all my friends!

Has your personal style changed at all in the past year? If so, how?

I think my hat collection has doubled-I honestly can’t step out of the house now without a total look!



Xu Meen at the fall 2021 ready-to-wear shows in Paris

Xu Meen


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

I’m wearing a Diesel jacket, Bottega Veneta boots, and a Zara beret. Honestly, it was quite cold that day, so I wanted to make sure I was cozy and warm while being out and about.

How did you acquire these pieces? Do any of them remind you of certain memories or stories?

I got the Bottega boots from [Bottega Veneta creative director] Daniel Lee as a gift. I absolutely love them and feel so lucky to have a pair, as they don’t make them anymore. I wore them down the runway when Daniel made his debut for Bottega, so they’re extra special!

Is this a typical look for you, or do you like to experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

Yes, but I love experimenting with new looks, both during New York Fashion Week and when I’m just feeling creative.

Do you remember when this photo was taken, where you were going, or the shows you saw that day

It was taken when I was en route to the Isabel Marant fall 2021 show!

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

Hmm…I’ll definitely be keeping the Bottega boots and the beret!

Has your style changed at all in the past year? If so, how?

Yes, it’s definitely changed. At the moment, I’m really into mixing medieval and gothic pieces!



Luke Jefferson Day at the spring 2019 menswear shows in Milan

Luke Jefferson Day


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

I’m wearing a vintage denim shirt and Levi’s jeans, vintage Frye boots, a vintage Gucci scarf, a lifeguard’s hat, and a lot of jewelry. I’m a big fan of a tonal look, especially a denim-on-denim hustler vibe.

How did you acquire these pieces?

All of these pieces tell a story.… The vintage shirt and jeans I got from a store in Mexico City when I went for New Year’s Eve a few years ago; the lifeguard’s hat I picked up on Venice Beach when I was there for a Saint Laurent show; the vintage boots I got in Las Vegas when I was doing the costumes for a show there; the neck scarf is a cherished item from a boyfriend who passed away; and the Gucci stud rings were purchased on a drunken weekend lunch in Paris when I was having a salacious affair.

Is this a typical look for you, or do you experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

This look is very “me,” from the plunging open shirt to the cropped flared jeans, hat, retro boots, and piled-on jewelry. I do love to debut new looks at Fashion Week-I often save pieces and won’t wear them until then so they feel fresh to me.

Do you remember when this photo was taken, where you were going, or the shows you saw that day?

It was a blisteringly hot Sunday in Milan. I was strolling to the Armani show with the British GQ team and having a great day.

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

I never repeat an outfit at Fashion Week, but I wear these pieces all the time. I have items I was saving for the June and September 2020 fashion weeks that I still haven’t worn; those leather Versace short shorts deserve to be taken for a spin.

Has your personal style changed at all in the past year? If so, how?

My personal style has changed. I loved living in gym clothes for a while, but dressing up is an innate part of me. I think my style constantly evolves anyway. I sometimes look back on photos and barely recognize myself.



Mobolaji Dawodu at the spring 2018 menswear shows in Paris

Mobolaji Dawodu


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

I am wearing a kurta from India, Levi’s 501 jeans (the only jean I wear), and a pair of red suede Isaia lace-ups.

How did you acquire these pieces? Do any of them remind you of certain memories or stories?

I bought the kurta at Vintage India NYC. It’s my go-to spot for Indian attire when I’m in New York. I love the place. My 501s are always on deck.

Is this a typical look for you, or do you like to experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

This definitely represents a typical look for me. I always mix traditional African and Asian attire, always—it’s my go-to summer gear. I also love to try new things, whether or not it turns up at Fashion Week; it’s about a feeling.

Do you remember when this photo was taken, where you were going, or the shows you saw that day?

I remember when this photo was taken-it was a few years ago in Paris, I think outside the Thom Browne show. That’s my friend, the stylist Ugo Mozie beside me.

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

Definitely.



Ben Cobb at the fall 2019 menswear shows in Milan

Ben Cobb


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo, and why you put these pieces together?

A double-breasted Gucci suit, Dries Van Noten V-neck jumper, a cheesecloth cowboy shirt, and Saint Laurent boots. I never plan my outfits, so I probably put this together because of the tones—and the jumper adds an important graphic element.

How did you acquire these pieces? Do any of them remind you of certain memories or stories?

The suit was a kind gift from Gucci many seasons ago. The shirt my wife found in a New York vintage shop. Every season in Paris, I head to the beautiful Dries [Van Noten] shop—I picked up this jumper on one of those pilgrimages. More recently I have been wearing it with a super wide-leg check trouser for a Walter Albini look.

Is this a typical look for you, or do you experiment and try new things during Fashion Week?

My look never changes much. It’s always a variation on a theme: sartorial, classic, ’70s-inspired. It’s more about adding or subtracting, depending on the season.

Do you remember when this photo was taken, where you were going, or the shows you saw that day?

I was heading into the Neil Barrett show. I remember sitting next to Bobby Gillespie at the show and having a good chat about experimental cinema.

When Fashion Week resumes, would you wear this outfit again? What else are you excited to wear to shows and events?

I have too many new clothes to wear: two matching patch-pocket blazers in navy and camel, a pile of silk shirts, and a pair of burgundy loafers I’m obsessed with at the moment. I will definitely wear this outfit again, but not for a while.

Has your personal style changed at all in the past year? If so, how?

Not really. Like everyone, I’ve spent a lot more time at home this year, but I’ve not gotten into COVID casualwear. I always wear a shirt, trousers, and proper shoes or boots at home. I’m more about luxuriating than lounging. My wife thinks it’s weird, but that’s how I feel relaxed.



Blake Abbie at the spring 2020 menswear shows in Paris

Blake Abbie


Can you tell us what you’re wearing in this photo and why you put these pieces together?

The pièce de résistance of this look is the amazing double-layer button-up by Marni. It looks like it’s two pieces with two collars, but it’s attached at the hem. It has this lightness in the fabric, which I loved when I got it. Underneath, I’m wearing a Dura Solutions T-shirt, gifted by Peter Dupont, and a pair of OAMC trousers that have zips up the back of the leg. Luke Meier knows exactly how to cut a pair of pants with just enough give [to allow] for freedom of movement, which is necessary for me. Then I just have a chill pair of ski glasses on my head.

How did you acquire these pieces? Do any of them remind you of certain memories or stories?

It’s pretty funny how in recent seasons, whenever I go to Paris, my suitcase goes missing and the airline doesn’t find it until the end of Fashion Week. It’s like the fashion gods want to toy with me and push my anxiety through the roof. So in a chaotic state, I bought these pieces the day after I landed at the Galeries Lafayette Champs Élysées. They remind me of running to the store between shows in the same outfit I wore on the plane. No buyer’s remorse with these purchases, though!

Does this represent a typical look for you, or do you like to try new things during Fashion Week?

I’m pretty chill when it comes to getting dressed: a pair of shorts, a simple T-shirt, a sweater, a jacket. Lots of layers. I’m very much a West Coast dresser, and this is the amped-up fashion version of that. I bike, walk, scooter, and run from show to appointment to show, which is how I get around [the city] at any time of year. So with anything I’m wearing, I have to make sure it’s functional. That said, there have been reports of me biking around in a Thom Browne skirt…

Do you remember when this photo was taken, where you were going, or the shows you saw that day?

This was taken right outside Kim Jones’s spring 2020 show for Dior Men, the one when he worked with Daniel Arsham. It was at the Institut du Monde Arabe. Comme des Garçons Homme Plus had just finished on the complete other side of the city, and I booked it on an Uber Jump bike to get to the show on time. I was definitely out of breath. Even though a lot of us are on the same routes and could take cars, I much prefer this little break between shows—it really is the only way I can get any exercise during Fashion Week!

When Fashion Week resumes, will you wear this again? What else are you excited to wear?

Unfortunately with the borders still closed in Canada, I won’t be traveling to the shows in Europe this season. But I will continue to turn heads in these looks on the beach and out in nature here in Vancouver. I readily wear my fashion pieces outขI don’t think too much about keeping anything precious or away from the elements. For instance, that Marni shirt is really the perfect hiking piece; I’ve worn it hiking to the top of a local mountain. You can take off the top layer and tie it around your waist if you need to strip down just a little bit.

When I do return to the streets of Fashion Week, I’ll be bringing some of my nature-boy looksขdefinitely Birkenstocks and running shorts, plus a few vintage pieces I’m excited about. I’ll mix those with pieces from young designers who are making really researched and beautiful clothing, like Kiko Kostadinov, Chopova Lowena, Pronounce, Wander, and Connor McKnight.

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