It’s hard to truly represent the menswear zeitgeist these days. You’ve got everything from Saint Laurent skinny silhouettes to over-the-top Gucci prints for the more daring; Vetements’ deconstructed sportswear to Yeezy’s straight up streetwear for those more inclined to be ‘cool’. And nothing says tailoring like a crisp Tom Ford or Wales Bonner piece.
It seemed like there was no perfect balance between the modern silhouettes of the sports- and street-wear worlds and the nonchalant vibes that permeate the womenswear markets that speak to well to a modern way of living.
At least, that is, until now.
Charlie May’s eponymous womenswear line has been a roaring success of modernity since it launched not too long ago – five years, in fact. Employing luxurious knitwear and boxy shapes that simultaneously envelop and hug the body, May’s work has exuded a level of minimalistic wonder that hasn’t been touched upon for many seasons, and one that speaks to every woman. So what does the designer who has mastered the way modern women dress do next? Why, launch a menswear line, of course.
Launched for SS17 with a succinct capsule collection, the Charlie May MAN is a minimalistic masterpiece that really encapsulates a different type of man. The duality between tailored lines and relaxed silhouettes is one that doesn’t sound like it should work – after all, it’s too contradictory – but somehow, May masters this with a flick of her wrist. It’s a level of style that hasn’t really broken through to menswear yet, and one might even dare to say that menswear hasn’t experienced this level of style, simply because May wasn’t around to introduce it. Employing supple silks and her signature denim, it’s no wonder that people have been clamouring for Charlie May MAN to be a thing since the inception of her womenswear brand.
We grabbed a chat with May to talk us through why she introduced MAN five years into the game.
What motivated you to branch into menswear?
I’ve had the womenswear brand now for 5 years and there isn’t a day goes by where a man doesn’t comment on my socials or even send me a personal email to ask if I would ever consider doing menswear. I’m very excited that for SS17 this was my first foray. We have started with the classic Charlie May pieces that the men buy even [from the] women’s – that is, the wide leg denim trousers and shirt jacket
How did you take the codes of your established, luxe womenswear and translate that into the menswear?
I always design very androgynously as that’s the way I dress. I never think about men’s or women’s when I’m buying or even making clothes. I prefer oversized silhouettes, and denim and knitwear is perfect for this.
What’s been the hardest – or the most interesting – part of designing Charlie May Man?
I think the sizing. I can’t try it on of course so it’s been hard work getting the fit executed perfectly, but we nailed it!
Finally – what can we expect from Charlie May Man going forward?
For AW17 we have designed a full ready-to-wear collection including knitted alpaca tracksuits, boucle reverse raw pullovers and chunky drop shoulder coats, also long split coats in asphalt and sakura blush. The black denim peacoat with contrast stone stitching has been a hot ticket too! All landing in July of 2017.