Menswear LUMINARIES in Milan stick to what they know best while gearing up for unpredictable future trends
Milan takes menswear seriously. That is not to say that the rest of the fashion capitals fail to do so, but the shows of Milan Fashion Week always carry a sense of polished execution. No matter the scale of the event, you know it will have been planned right down to the tiniest detail. Another thing about Milan, is the dedication to protecting legacy. Despite the not-so-rosy economic situation, both big fashion houses and emerging designers stay true to traditional and labour-intensive tailoring methods as they perform their respective roles in shaping the future of Milan’s menswear.
With the Pitti Uomo exhibition in Florence embodying a new benchmark in tailoring standards, Milan rolls out trends on the runways rather discerningly. Unlike ambitiously chic artists in Paris, the Milan Fashion Week designers opt for somber tones and a quieter presentation of sartorial novelties. The most memorable instance is perhaps the big, bold words emblazoned by dark earth- colored sweaters of Calvin Klein Collection. “Obsession,” “Escape” and “Eternity” represent not only the house’s successful creations—their fragrances—but also the thematic inspirations that inspire the brand to look forward to the future. The house of Prada, after such a celebratory collection showing last season, turns to deliberate fashionable bleakness that is more downto- earth and introvert. The shawl, scarf and vest add a touch of freshness to the sombre colors and raw silhouettes of the minimalistic looks.
On the other hand, there is a notable element of festivity and sensuality that the Italians simply cannot let go of. The Sicilian pair at Dolce & Gabbana, for example, refuse to tone things down and instead draw inspirations from the past kings of northern Europe that once invaded Sicily. The innovative and intriguing collection presents Norman-style prints and lush separates fit for a king. Versace also takes it up a notch by exposing models' briefs on the runway. Apparently, the cowboys in Versace’s universe are both fighters and exhibitionists.
Probably the most progressive showing of all comes from Ermenegildo Zegna, where its new creative director Stefano Pilati is quickly gaining momentum in redefining the house. For his second collection for the brand, Pilati explores the relationship between city life and nature on stage while also exhibiting an “over suit” menu of outfits: bomber jacket over suit, robe over suit and quilted parka over suit. The most nostalgic performance belongs to Gucci. The swinging sixties is the golden decade of choice, from which Frida Giannini revives pastels and slick English style tailoring of the era. The house’s pale blue, powder pink and peacock green quickly becoming palatable additions to a classic man’s wardrobe. Yet it is not just the colors that go softer, as bags also appear in softer and more unstructured shapes. Meanwhile, Etro is the suavest. It pays tribute to the true art of tailoring—the craftsmanship and the heart poured into the creation. A series of body- enhancing suits cropped to perfection are the frontrunners on the runway, followed by the tailors themselves providing the final seal of approval.
But not everyone is intent on sparking audacious new trends. Both Giorgio Armani and Bottega Veneta keep thinking inside the box: wearable, versatile clothes with high- quality fabrics. Lovers of classics, both houses refine their signatures—Thomas Maier at Bottega Veneta masters “effortlessness” through incorporating dip- dyed accents on suits and knits, while Giorgio Armani delves into shades of grey to design relaxed but elegant pieces. That is, after all, what men continually seek: accessible perfection across a consistently sartorial repertoire. And it is Milan that undoubtedly understands this best.
Men want accessible perfection and a consistent sartorial repertoire. Milan understands this best
etro�s tailors close the show with pride opposite page ermenegildo Zegna visualizes the city and nature on stage
Cowboys and indians are Versace's inspiration this season; the norman kings come alive on the Dolce & gabbana stage opposite page, clockwise from top left Calvin klein Collection, prada, etro, gucci