Menswear LU­MI­NAR­IES in Mi­lan stick to what they know best while gear­ing up for un­pre­dictable fu­ture trends

DA MAN - Style - - Contents -

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

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