David Jones has kicked off Melbourne Fashion Festival with their sights set on a more engaged sense of style. The extravaganza of a show gave us a sneak peak at the trends predicted to shape how we’ll be dressing over the coming months.

David Jones Gala. Image: Lucas Dawson.

To give a voice to the what menswear is looking like, the team curated four styled themes: Ivy League for retro collegiate pieces that bring a street-edit to smart casual with brands like Tommy Hifliger and Nautica; Not-So-Classicism or those iconic pieces with a modern twist; Work-Leisure, a nod to our new hybrid lifestyles; and Bold Optimism, that looks at bright colours to uplift your outfit.

Suffice to say, while the demand for clothes that were dedicated to comfort are still very much high up on the agenda, the final cut is something that is equally suited to leaving the house.

Tailored pieces blend with sport-inspired details and accessories and the art of getting dressed to go out is back on the table. Chris Wilson, General Manager for Menswear at David Jones says that the curation of the fashion gala shows that people are not just ready to get back outside, but also find clothing that’s more adaptable.

David Jones Gala. Image: Lucas Dawson.

Out of the four categories, or themes, DJ’s incorporated in the show and really hit the nail on the sartorial head with just the description was work-leisure.

“The last two years, we’ve been dressing for comfort for that whole casual element and what we wanted to do was see how we could bring that into smart dressing,” says Wilson. “How do we bring that relaxed fit back into the workplace. I look at this pretty simply – it’s now blazers rather than hoodies. We have deconstructed blazers with different fabrications and softer silhouettes that help with that. Add to this the relaxed trousers which come with a drawstring. That’s where this work-leisure dichotomy comes through.”

David Jones Gala. Image: Lucas Dawson.

Wilson explains that the styling of the show is also a chance to relearn how to buy clothing that belongs to more than one purpose. Smarter, more adaptable styling will be the key to creating a wardrobe that works perfectly in the new culture of comfort first but also a return to our social lives and getting dressed for an occasion. Bringing this into play are brands such as Paul Smith and Calibre, where blazers and trousers are mixed with casual pieces to create a hybrid wardrobe that brings together the best of comfort with elevated style.

“I think event dressing has very much evolved so you’ll see elements of that utilitarian dressing going through, to the jackets in particular. That is very much a part of it. But I also think dressing up to go out is about to evolve once again.”

David Jones Gala. Image: Lucas Dawson.

Maybe the biggest trend that Wilson sees happening is a return to the investment piece – big ticket items that cross purposes like a BOSS leather jacket or silk shirt by Australian brand COMMAS. “A jacket you can wear to work, to dinner or to the pub – guys are definitely getting more conscientious about what they’re buying.”

Helping bring these trends to life is David Jones ambassador Tom Derickx. The footballer-slash-musician-slash-carpenter-slash-burgeoning ceramicist and RUOK Day ambassador has now been part of the DJs family for four years and has been instrumental in helping the brand reach a broader male audience.

“I don’t quite fit the mould of your typical model. And I think that’s the relatability of [David Jones] because they can relate to me, see what I’m wearing and and they see a guy bigger in stature who looks more like a guy from a building site.”

The big man himself, Tom Derickx. Image; Lucas Dawson

He may not be your typical model but the job still requires Derickx to dress like one on the runway. He recalls how during his first outings on the runway clothes were sitting more on the formal end of the spectrum. Now, he says, the clothes feel more like something he wears himself on any given day.

“Remembering back to my first runway, it was very tuxedo, suiting and corporate looks. But now, the progression has really been towards more relaxed fits. It’s definitely more what I’m about wearing. Especially the Ivy League trend, that’s something I wear every day.”