Summer will summon bright swimwear for men, but muted tones in casual wear – that was the clear message at last night's David Jones SS16 runway launch at Fox Studios.
The runway was jam-packed with bold boardshort prints and '50s Cuban-inspired patterns, while plenty of gelato stripes in mint green and pink dominated the beach look.
But the strongest look to emerge from the major department store's runway was 'athleisure' wear, and no bright colours could be found here. It was all about black and white tones with a smattering of grey and khaki – think muted street style meets urban fitness warrior. And if you don't own a cool pair of sneakers or sandals to match, you'll be out of step this summer.
The push for casual wear was evident in the parade via relaxed silhouettes, chinos with elastic cuffs, looser leg fits but still cut to the slim side and shorter lengths all round. Natural textures dominated shirts and tops, while boiler jackets made a comeback.
Calibre stood out as the winner, taking in key European trends to blend into the Australian fashion market with a refreshed silhouette for the modern man. The Calibre message was all about white linen jackets matched with white chinos, earthy tones of caramel, grey hues and drawstring pants.
Rush to relax
The brand has moved away from the ultra-slim shape to align its solidarity with Europe by embracing high crotch waists and sticking to a simple palette of white, grey and softer shades.
According to head designer Ty Henschke, the label's new look is all about picking up the pace with Europe. "It's the biggest change we've made. We have a more relaxed cut and fits," he says.
"You'll see this right across the brand. Trousers are shorter and more tapered, while casual pants feature drawstrings. The Australian guy has been slow to pick it up. We can't go on like this forever, we gave away the tight for this new direction."
Sports luxe lives
The luxury athletic market is an essential staple for a summer men's wardrobe and can take the Aussie man from café to beach or gym to weekend hangouts with ease – where relaxed tailoring and sporty chic rules.
If you want pops of colour you'll need to check the international brands such as Paul Smith [for paisley shirts] and Sandro Paris for adventurous European flair. Bomber leather jackets with sheepskin finishes and mesh lightweight jackets also featured in this space. It was all about red and yellow high-top sneakers, too.
The department store chose New York for its inspiration – a city that swelters in summer, abounds in concrete landscape and skyscrapers, and thrills with its fast-paced energy.
Aussie menswear brands who captured the pace of NYC include The Upside, Project A by Zanrobe, Jac+Jack, and Bassike – where grey monotones, black and white layers and casual wear is most at home.
Hip to be fit
It's fitness freak meets hipster – as if your favourite musician discovered the gym, got fit but still wore it like a slacker who doesn't really care. Long sleeve marble grey tops in lightweight cotton spilled below the wrist, while black and white pants and cropped knits with hoodies filled the athletic ring.
When it came to dressing up, the department store continues with its youthful messaging [Jack London] where 80s Michael Jackson-inspired leather Thriller jackets in black and white took to the runway, while very fitted dinner pants, glittery dinner jackets and check pants matched with contrast check shirts broke the fashion rules.
No socks were to be found on the runway – all men strutted in sneakers or lace-up shoes with ankles on full display.
For the more conservative gentleman there were grey pinstripes and light brown suits worn with brown lace-up shoes. Silhouettes were cut slightly looser in the thigh for a European nod.
But the most fun was had with Camilla's animal print-inspired board shorts for guys, sailor stripes prevailed at Jet, and The Rocks Push Sydney was all about playful prints in the sun. Boardies were shorter than usual; and trunks were butt-hugging and will surely turn heads on sandy beaches.
Scroll through the gallery above to get a glimpse of what the guys wore on the DJs runway.