Deveaux Spring 2022 Menswear

In years past, Tommy Ton would’ve been heading to Milan and Paris right about now to photograph street style at the men’s collections. Instead, he’s in Napa Valley, California, celebrating the wedding of Deveaux’s designer Andrea Tsao. The change of events feels symbolic of the work he’s doing as creative director of this label.

On a Zoom call before his trip, he talked about functionality and ease. He said he’d been looking at ’90s silhouettes, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s sleek green knits from Great Expectations and Jennifer Tilly in her Bound tank top. “Back then it was about feeling good in your body, not looking good for Instagram,” he explained.

The rise of street style photography in the late ’00s played a part in the development of the influencer culture we’re still living with today: the endless selfies, the staged photo shoots one stumbles upon in Williamsburg and SoHo. There’s no turning back the clock on the internet or social media, but it does feel instructive that an arbiter like Ton has rejected the performative fashion of recent years in favor of making clothes that feel more personal.

Will the pandemic accelerate this trend? It’s just as likely that we’ll see the opposite happen; headlines at the fall shows back in March announced glamour’s return. But there’s an audience for Deveaux’s more subdued fare. Dresses featuring adjustable waistlines and shirts whose sleeves can be zipped off at the elbow point to the line’s inbuilt versatility, as does a new twinset in the form of a tube top and shrug that got styled in multiple fresh ways in the look book.

A V-neck dress with a built-in bralette is no reproduction of Paltrow’s famous Great Expectations knits, but it treats exposed skin in the same alluringly offhand way. In the men’s offering there’s a pair of trousers with a detachable kilt. It feels very much a product of this time. “Men are becoming more liberated in their choices,” Ton remarked. Feeling good in your body is a guy thing too.

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