Style Report: What We Learned From Paris, London and Milan

Last month, Esquire's operatives spent three weeks in fashion's hot zones. This is the intelligence they've gathered.

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1 | Recession is not a word that fashion understands
Stefano Pilati presented a brilliant second collection for Ermenegildo Zegna in Milan last week, the highlight of which was a double-faced vicuna camel overcoat (above), rumoured to be worth a cool 150,000 Euros. And for all the fact fans out there, the Vicuna is a distant relative of the camel whose wool was so highly prized by the Incas that only members of royalty were permitted to wear it.

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2 | Clutch bags are in, rucksacks are out
No, we’re not joking. And neither are Balenciaga or Lanvin. Perhaps it’s the schoolboy connotations of a rucksack, or perhaps a clutch just looks better with an overcoat. Whatever the reason,  your new bag is now handheld.

3 | It’s time to shave, men
That’s right, the beard’s popularity looks to be waning. It was inevitable, really: they’re itchy, hot and uncomfortable when carrying out the obligatory double fashion kiss. The first sign was the Gieves & Hawkes show in London, where normally beardy models were sent down the catwalk fresh faced.  The clean-shaven trend was also in evidence in Milan and Paris with Gucci, Prada and Bottega Venetta.

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4 | The pinstripe is back
Pinstripes, so long synonymous with The City, fell out of favour for a while. But if Vuitton and Dior Homme’s shows are anything to go by, they’re due for a comeback. Kim Jones at Vuitton showed tailored, charcoal pinstripe trousers, whilst four of the first five looks at  Kris Van Assche’s Dior show featured pinstriped suits.

5 | Britpop will always be cool
Z Zegna, Dior Homme and Prada have latched on to the best bit of the Nineties. Not only in the look and sounds of Pulp, Suede, Elastica and The Bluetones (alright, maybe not The Bluetones) but also in the return of Mod-ish suiting,  bowl haircuts  and four button blazers. Anyone seen Bonehead lately?

6 | Bigger is better – especially where coats are concerned
Rather than finishing just below the waist, greatcoats  are now coming all the way down to the knees. As seen at Lanvin, Saint Laurent and Paul Smith. Those under 5’9” – this one’s not for you.

7 | It’s all about ‘thief chic’
Witness the ‘burglar beanie’, a hat rolled up so high that it resembles the favoured attire of a man who’s about to relieve you of the contents of your house. Seen at Bottega Venetta, D Squared – and on the heads of the world’s fashion press.

8 | Smart means shoes not ties
The monk strap is still very much in vogue, seen at Gucci, Prada and Saint Laurent, as were  chunky, utilitarian ‘clompers’,  but what we missed were ties. Open neck shirts, yes. Roll necks, yes. But, Dior Homme excluded, not many ties at all.

9 | Big trousers are coming
It’s now official: wider legged trousers are going to be big. Really big. Acne showed enormous,  elephantine slacks  whilst Paul Smith and Topman, amongst others, widened theirs to cover their shoes. (Warning: this is not an excuse to dig your boot cut jeans out of the loft.)

This article first appeared in Esquire Weekly, our new iPad-only edition. Containing 100 per cent new and original content, it’s published every Thursday on the Apple Newsstand.

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