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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

The Nouveau Nomad

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Wanderlust is a common side effect of fashion. Often, the best collections are transporting, evoking far-flung locales and the lives lived in them. Just packing for a trip can be an experiment in sartorial role play. Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg describes the relationship between travel and fashion as “a fantastical one—wearing clothes you might not wear every day that reflect the mind-set you want to be in while on the road.”

Especially this spring, as the menswear collections conjured more bohemian bons vivants than a Woodstock commune. Such free-spirited style was best displayed at Louis Vuitton, where Kim Jones drew on the Beatles’ 1968 pilgrimage to their guru’s ashram in India. For today’s enlightened explorers, Jones showed safari jackets and flight suits along with a decadent shearling-lined guitar case, all embellished with the mantra volez! voguez! voyagez!, an emphatic call to fly, sail, travel.

That sense of adventure turned up elsewhere, with designers combining the rugged and refined in styles seemingly made for life on the road (albeit a rather heady trip, where the backpack is Brunello Cucinelli and the bandana is Hermès). Certainly the modern man is a citizen of the world, his style a bricolage assembled like so many stamps on a passport. As Salvatore Ferragamo’s Massimiliano Giornetti explains, his eclectic spring lineup “sought to create a feeling of sentimental elegance, comprised of recollections,” with colorful printed shirts and richly textured layers for “the modern flaneur.” It may be an elaborate way of saying that the collection’s inspirations are vast and varied, but it’s an appealing idea: fashion as souvenir. Even if these pieces don’t recall one’s own experiences, they undoubtedly give the look of a life well lived and well traveled.


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