Nicholas Coutts has had quite the year. One of the four African menswear designers invited to showcase at this year’s Imagine Africa event at the 2016 Pitti Uomo, Coutts exaggerated knits made quite the impact and saw him make a triumphant return to SA Menswear Week’s fall 16 showcase held in Capetown, the designer’s hometown. Coutts’ Spring 17 collection sees him build on that level of exposure to craft a collection far less ‘crafty’ than his previous work.
The signature Nicholas Coutts look this season is the jumpsuit. He offers us different iterations of the classic piece that came into fashion after World War 2 pilots took to wearing them post conflict. Jumpsuits have never found proper footing in menswear, thanks in part to the difficulty of finding the right proportions to make them flattering and the fact that even the slightest shift in construction or silhouette can vastly change the fit. But every season designers try to crack the code and be the ones to make the perfect men’s jumpsuit. Coutts comes really close by experimenting with fabric, proportions and color blocking.
Norm core defines nearly everything Coutts shows this season. Save for the jumpsuits, nearly everything shown this season works as separates, a decidedly commercial move as retailers are more likely to buy into menswear collections that have a norm core feel to them. Elaborate construction is avoided in lieu of detailing, like pockets and zippers and contrast paneling. Contrast sleeves are also a huge trend at Coutts this season. As are pop art inspired applique work, used as embellishments. Coutts also throws in a handful of women’s wear looks for good measure.
The styling in what truly sells this collection, Cropped jackets, reworked draw string shorts and slides and bucket hats help sell the images of the models simply rolling out of bed and walking off a street somewhere onto the runway. We might not want all of what Coutts is selling this season but you will definitely something you do want.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo