AW12 Men’s Colour Trend Preview: Burnt Orange & Maroon

As any wannabe sartorialist or religious fashion follower knows, the fashion seasons work in advance – so when we have blue skies and sun aplenty outside, fashion designers have already set their sights on what wares they can create and peddle come the winter months. Recently, I have decided to imitate the fashion greats and launch a series of articles detailing the upcoming trends and themes for autumn/winter 2012.

However, fear not, these articles are designed to showcase upcoming trends with a spring/summer 2012 twist – so you can start getting involved ahead of the trend and become the forward-thinking fashion visionaries you really are. The use of colour in menswear has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years and colour seems to be being embraced by the modern man more and more.

Today, I want to take a look at 2 of the key colour trends which are due to make an impact in menswear collections this autumn/winter: burnt orange and maroon.

AW12 Colour Trends

I was inspired to write an article on these two particular colour trends following Alex Woodhall’s recent excellent summary on the impact of olive as a key colour choice this season. I couldn’t agree with this more and really do see olive as a colour that will be leaving a huge impression on menswear this season.

However, I think it is also important to illustrate the importance of other colour trends that are due to become popular as the evenings get darker and the weather gets cooler. Both burnt orange and maroon are fantastic colour choices for autumn, as they reflect the shades of nature during this time. Simply put – orange and maroon are traditional autumnal colours and often labelled ‘seasonally appropriate’.

Burnt Orange at AW12 Fashion Weeks

On the designer runways for AW12, several collections featured burnt orange as a colour highlight, from full-on block colour pieces to the use of orange in more subtle accesories.

The collection that embraced orange the most was Pringle of Scotland, which featured several orange outerwear pieces – such as orange leather jackets and orange overcoats – complete with matching orange leather gloves. They also included several variations of burnt orange knitwear pieces, from chunky-knit round-neck jumpers to orange v-neck and roll-neck sweaters:

E Tautz utilised orange in their collection by featuring a burnt orange overcoat and a bold black/orange large-checked hooded coat, as well as a jumper in the same checked pattern. E Tautz also pushed the colour block trend via their knitwear, which featured a horizontal black block used on the chest and shoulders and an orange block use on the lower part of the abdomen.

Ports 1961 in Milan preferred to utilise orange in a much more subtle way, by adding sparks of colour to their otherwise monotone grey tailoring. Burnt orange v-neck pullovers were layered beneath the grey blazers, for a contained and carefully considered flash of autumnal colour.

At the more extreme end of the orange spectrum was Walter Van Beirendonck, whose adventurous collection featured a lot of bright orange – perhaps not too practical for everyday wear, but eye-catching and bold nonetheless:

Maroon at AW12 Fashion Weeks

Maroon, burgundy (or ‘claret’ as the seriously sartorialist savvy are saying these days) was the other colour to make a big impact at the AW12 Fashion Weeks.

Again, Pringle of Scotland featured a lot of maroon knitwear pieces – from oversized pattern-knit v-necks to chunky waffle-knit round-necks – whilst Balenciaga featured a burgundy two-piece suit, which was shown both as a single outfit and in other looks as separates, proving just how versatile the hue is when it comes to tailoring:

Dolce and Gabbana featured silk patterned pyjama-style trousers and shirts in maroon print alongside a two-piece maroon velvet suit, with interesting effect. Moschino followed suit with the use of maroon velvet in both single and double-breasted jackets and trousers. Moschino put a fresh twist on these pieces though by including them as separates and pairing them with more muted tones, making them much more wearable and relatable:

Key Show: Tommy Hilfiger

By far, my favourite collection to seriously embrace the use of maroon was by Tommy Hilfiger. The way they applied maroon and burgundy tones to their outfits seemed a lot more mature and sophisticated than some of the other designer collections, and the understated military vibe running through the collection was impressive and right on trend.

The collection featured a lot of outerwear pieces in maroon and burgundy, including a double-breasted burgundy coat with black cuff panels and a black fur neck detailing (and a similar coat in reverse colours). Hilfiger also made a nod towards the ‘blockbuster’ coat, with the inclusion of dual fabric outerwear pieces – namely a maroon overcoat with contrast quilted, leather-look sleeves in black, and a muted burgundy blazer with similar quilted, black, leather-look sleeves.

Interestingly, the Hilfiger collection also featured two distinct tones of maroon – a brighter maroon that would be good for statement pieces or accents, and a muted burgundy tone for a more subtle effect:

On the High Street

If we turn to the high street, it is clear to see that these two colour options have already started having an influence. Ben Herbert’s recent summary of the new French Connection AW12 collection featured several references to maroon, and the lookbook itself showcased maroon and orange hues prominently, for an authentic autumnal feel.

The AW12 Lookbook for Topman also features a lot of patterned items – but several of these patterns feature shades of maroon as their base colour while burgundy colour themes run throughout. Department stores such as John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser have also supported these colour trends with their recent ad campaigns featuring burnt orange chinos, maroon trousers and deep burgundy knitwear pieces.

Finally, the H&M AW12 Lookbook includes several items in both maroon and burnt orange for an apt autumnal feel – including a striking orange overcoat, burgundy tailored trousers, an orange two-piece suit, a burgundy double-breasted blazer and thin, orange roll necks. The H&M accessories also support these two colour trends by featuring maroon socks, a slim orange belt, maroon leather gloves and an orange neckerchief. All of these looks can be seen in the H&M video lookbook below:


I think the difference between olive and maroon/burnt orange for this coming season is that olive is a subtle enough colour to be worn head-to-toe, as we saw in the Dior Homme collection at Paris Fashion Week, whereas, in my opinion, burnt orange and maroon work better as separates paired with more muted tones for a real impact.

I think the only exception to this is the maroon two-piece suit, as featured by Balenciaga and Gucci, which can work as an overall outfit to offer a dynamic and different look to traditional suiting in black, grey and blue.

It is undeniable that both maroon and burnt orange offer two fantastic colour choices for autumn and I think the use of these colours in both high fashion and high street collections is clear to see.

But what do you guys out there think? Can you see yourself adapting to either of these colour choices? If so, do you think these work better as separates or would you be equally happy to drape yourself in burnt orange of maroon from head to toe?