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August 1, 2011updated Feb 11, 2013

WIDE RECEIVERS

By Chris Boyle

Men who overindulged this summer will be relieved to learn that fall’s fashions are giving them a little breathing room.

For years the staple silhouette for men has centered around a slim pair of slacks. We have designer Hedi Slimane, who spent about seven years redefining menswear at Dior Homme in the nineties, to thank for the ultra-slim style. And even though Slimane left the house in 2007, his lean collections revolutionized the industry and their trickle-down effect has been felt for years. So it’s somewhat ironic that the man leading the charge for a more relaxed shape is none other than Kris Van Assche, the designer hired to replace Slimane at Dior Homme. In the brand’s fall collection, the full cut pleated front pants Van Assche sent down the runway were complemented by long, unlined jackets devoid of any artifice. Cut to ride low on the hip bones to accentuate and lengthen the torso, the effect is youthful yet tailored.

At Dries Van Noten, the wide pants found balance when matched with more fitted jackets and coats. A double breasted navy pea coat, its lapel elegantly outlined in fur, came paired with full cut pants that pooled at the model’s shoes. A sporty car coat with an off-center zipper was shown with a pair of classic grey flannel pants that enveloped the legs. Leading menswear label Lanvin, designed by the clever Lucas Ossendrijver, also matched slouchy gray slacks with fitted blazers and velvet dinner jackets. Ermenegildo Zegna’s fashion-forward Z Zegna label tapped into the trend with trousers that were cut generously through the thigh yet tapered at the ankle.

Young designer Damir Doma has, in just a few seasons, garnered a cult following for his loosefitting menswear. The brand’s first collections have been such a success that Doma recently ventured into womenswear, bringing his forgiving garments to a new market of admirers. For fall, the designer cut some of his trousers so wide they could almost be considered palazzo pants.

Another menswear brand creating some serious buzz with its most recent collection is John Lawrence Sullivan. Designed by Arashi Yanagawa, who was a professional boxer in his native Japan before launching his menswear label, the collection’s baggy checked pants are a sporty compromise between corporate and casual attire. What these brands did best with their fuller cut trousers was keep the volume under control—the trend should not be viewed as a return to the lowslung, drop-crotch cuts that dominated the early nineties. With so much flowing fabric below the waist, it’s crucial to keep shirts tucked in, jackets buttoned up tight and the torso looking taut. So perhaps it’s time to put down that cocktail you’re sipping by the pool and dive in for some muchneeded laps.

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