Trainers - Yves Saint Laurent
Remember when people used to lament the ascent of the trainer in the modern world? How it was a symbol of all that had become juvenile and scruffy about the British male's style? We don't either. Perhaps the past few seasons of heavy boots and brogues have battered our senses, because it really wasn't long ago at all that sneakers seemed unassailable as our default daywear.
That's what made natty neo-tailors like Tom Ford, Adrien Sauvage and Patrick Grant so radical when they first started spreading their 21st century style gospel. They talked up and reworked all the elegant gent touches and nuances we'd all but forgotten.
The art of fashion is, of course, in the clever ways that it finds ways to make desirable things we think we've outgrown. A few seasons back, the pocket square re-emerged with a flash of defiant colour to prove smart didn't mean square and now a host of bright, but not brash, trainers are bouncing into buyers' and fashion plates' estimation. And that's despite autumn/winter normally focusing on heavier, more weatherproof wares.
Between Prada's golf-inspired collection and Nike and New Balance's latest retro-renaissances, trainers are getting back on track. This season, Lacoste, K-Swiss, Supra and Puma by Hussein Chalayan have played blinders with refreshingly straightforward styles. Established directional designers including Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, Marc Jacobs, Dior Homme, Gucci, Versace and Lanvin focused on that sportswear staple, the high-top.
Yves Saint Laurent's clever cranberry red trainers are made from patent leather with a nubuck trim, the upper given an especially pleasing aspect by the white leather soles below. No, we do not recommend going mountaineering in them. But in a British winter and an economic ice age, menswear seems to have wisely divined that bright tones beat dour pragmatism. When nothing else is going to help much, it's surely right that our wardrobes colour us glad.