Joseph Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear
At Joseph, head designer Mark Thomas and creative director Louise Trotter were looking back to the brand’s heyday in the 1990s—a decade that swapped the over-the-top styles of the ’80s for something more simple. They looked at photographs by Corinne Day and David Sims and felt a connection to the pared-down, unfussy dress they wanted to get at.
In essence the formula for the collection went like this: Take a familiar piece, then make it look better than it usually does. And so, a classic white shirt was fitted with vents borrowed from sportswear, while a tracksuit got a beetroot-colored leather treatment. Now, this can easily take you down a route that turns out to be a tricky one, as this kind of luxury upgrading runs the risk of coming across as pointless. After all, do you really improve a T-shirt just by making it in an expensive material? Many times the answer is no. (To be fair, Thomas and Trotter tried the opposite tack, too, with jeans and a denim jacket rendered in light gray nylon.) Luckily, the result here felt more thoughtful than pointless, and the collection drew its power from a feeling of finding pieces you already know and love but with better attention to detail. And in the end, even the leather tracksuit bottoms and tee worked.
Pieces were generally unstructured, so that they could be more easily layered, and this had led the team to use materials with a bit of “memory,” like a suit in a wool and mohair mix. The idea of crease-free, lightweight suiting seemed right for spring/summer. The shirts with a white sports stripe running from collar to sleeve were technically complex but had a simple and powerful graphic effect.
Joseph is working hard at establishing what their identity and relevance should be for today’s man. They are trying to appeal to a guy who wants to stand out but who feels most at ease when the proposition isn’t too challenging and out there. That man should be able to find much to like with this collection.