Mak­ing it real

In tImes Of glObal upheaval, fash­IOn seems tO be a lux­ury Only the elIte can In­dulge In. but lux­ury gOt real On the run­ways Of mI­lan

DA MAN - Style - - Report -

The year 2016 saw a lot of eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tain­ties. From Brexit to Trump’s pres­i­dency and a host of other is­sues, many felt per­plexed as they grap­pled with the real­ity that fol­lowed. On a some­what sim­i­lar note, the fash­ion busi­ness un­der­went its own share of up­heavals. What with the ris­ing num­ber of brands com­bin­ing their men’s and women’s shows or stream­lin­ing their lines, the sea­son was a door­way to an un­pre­dictable fu­ture. A lot of things are go­ing to change, that’s for sure, and ev­ery­body did their best to get a grip on things. This usu­ally meant re­con­sid­er­ing ev­ery move and staying close to the ground.

Fully em­brac­ing this ap­proach was Etro, which once again fea­tured real peo­ple—not just mod­els— on its run­way shows. While this was not ex­actly new, the brand’s will­ing­ness to give those men a vir­tual carte blanche to pick what­ever they felt suit­able to walk in was a se­ri­ous deal. And this proved to be a huge suc­cess. The lineup kicked off with Pablo Ar­royo, cre­ative di­rec­tor of L’Of­fi­ciel Hommes Paris, don­ning a beau­ti­fully- cut suit with an eye- catch­ing ki­monoshirt fea­tur­ing ikat print, a tra­di­tional tex­tile from In­done­sia. The in­fu­sion of ikat into the whole spring/ sum­mer col­lec­tion was pretty sig­nif­i­cant, al­though the theme for the show was in­trigu­ingly ti­tled “Blue Ikat,” ref­er­enc­ing a fish­er­man-like sil­hou­ette in the styling. There was no of­fi­cial men­tion re­gard­ing the ori­gins of ikat, but in­ter­est­ingly, Etro made an ef­fort to put a per­sonal tag on each item that reads, “Fatto a mano, con Amore, for You, on the Ital­ian Penin­sula”— the first part of the phrase trans­lates into “made by hand, with love.”

Speak­ing of love, Etro’s spring/sum­mer ’17 run­way was quite unique in an­other way. There were de­signer Kean Etro’s grand­sons as well as his brother-in-law strolling down the cat­walk with ease—the lat­ter bare­footed, even. No one, how­ever, could beat the ap­pear­ance of Igor Ramírez Gar­cía-Per­alta, as the bleached-haired founder of So­lar magazine marched in a comfy sweater and bil­lowy pat­terned pants with his beloved dog on a leash. While most run­ways thrive on fierce­ness, this one touched on a per­sonal con­nec­tion that el­e­vated the whole pre­sen­ta­tion.

Ki­mono shirts were also a hit at Diesel Black Gold. Made us­ing fine denim and slapped on with big pock­ets, th­ese pieces by de­signer An­dreas Mel­bostad served as a reimag­in­ing of ev­ery­day uni­forms in­spired by pho­tog­ra­pher Irvin Penn’s “Small Trades” book. A sim­i­lar hodge­podge of in­flu­ences was ev­i­dent on Gucci’s lush, green jade- col­ored run­way. In­spired by Marco Polo’s fa­bled jour­ney to Cathay and Manji (now part of China), the col­lec­tion was rich with Asian icons, such as tigers, dragons, birds of par­adise, but also, oddly enough, Don­ald Duck. Cre­ative di­rec­tor Alessan­dro Michele re­ally knows how to at­tract Gucci’s de­mo­graph­ics, in­clud­ing mil­len­ni­als.

With Prada, it’s never straight­for­ward about cul­tures and lo­gos. Sea­son af­ter sea­son, there is al­ways an ide­ol­ogy un­der­ly­ing ev­ery col­lec­tion. On its spring/sum­mer ’17 run­way, how­ever, many things sim­ply didn’t feel right. Most mod­els car­ried a ruck­sack, sported socks- on-san­dals and wa­ter­proof jack­ets (or fancy rain­coats, that is). They looked, at a glance, al­most like dan­di­fied ver­sions of con­tes­tants from “The Amaz­ing Race.” The fi­nale, then, looked like some sort of fash­ion ex­o­dus where the mod­els trudged in all se­ri­ous­ness with piles of ac­ces­sories, jack­ets and more on their backs.

There was lit­tle ex­pla­na­tion given, but Mi­uc­cia Prada re­ferred to some of the cur­rent prob­lems plagu­ing the world— Syr­ian mi­grants and cli­mate change, among oth­ers—as her point of de­par­ture from the sea­son be­fore. The “mi­grants” theme, in par­tic­u­lar, did rhyme with the ex­o­dus-like fi­nale and some­what ex­plained why some of the mod­els wore rub­ber san­dals while fine leather shoes were hang­ing from their back­packs. There was also a ref­er­ence to global warm­ing in the form of a ny­lon rain­coat and back­pack that were em­bla­zoned with a blown-up print of a weather radar dis­play. While in no way chic, they made a strong, un­con­testable state­ment.

A dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tion of what’s real and what’s now un­folded a new face of Ver­sace Men. Af­ter a “Space Camp”-themed fall/win­ter col­lec­tion, Donatella toned her styling di­rec­tion down to of­fer more wear­able op­tions. It was said that the col­lec­tion fully cel­e­brated the in­fu­sion of ac­tive-wear, hence

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