Ver­sace of­fers dar­ing mas­culin­ity

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE - By Colleen Barry

MI­LAN: By now, the two Mi­lan Fash­ion Weeks ded­i­cated to menswear have trans­formed them­selves into plat­forms for co-ed shows and up-and-com­ing brands be­yond the menswear stal­warts.

The lit­tle more than three days of pre­views for next fall and win­ter that launched Fri­day evening in­clude 52 col­lec­tions in 27 run­way shows and 25 pre­sen­ta­tions. Eleven brands are show­ing mixed men’s and women’s col­lec­tions dur­ing the less hec­tic week ded­i­cated to male ap­parel.

While menswear cre­ates less of a spec­ta­cle than the wom­enswear shows, the lines still carry bot­tom­line weight. Ital­ian menswear reg­is­tered a turnover of 9.5 bil­lion eu­ros ($10.9 bil­lion) last year, a 1.5 per­cent in­crease over 2017.

Here are high­lights:


The Gianni Ver­sace fash­ion house has changed own­er­ship, but not style. Donatella Ver­sace ex­plored bondage in the fash­ion house’s lat­est col­lec­tion, the first since be­ing bought by the U.S. fash­ion group Capri Hold­ing Lim­ited.

The open­ing look had a bondage im­age printed cheek­ily on the front of a shirt, worn over dark trousers and with a leather over­coat. Re­peated as a mo­tif, bondage be­came as ba­nal as a ban­dana print on a blou­son. Then, there was win­ter bondage for her, un­der­neath puffer jack­ets, and of­fice bondage for him and her, with the back of suit jack­ets held to­gether with O-rings, show­ing off col­or­ful satiny prints.

The looks also veered to­ward cozy, with warm scarves and fuzzy sweaters bear­ing a new Ver­sace logo, a V en­cir­cled by a G. But the Ver­sace man also is not afraid of fem­i­nine touches, like col­or­ful boas peek­ing out of suit jack­ets, be­jew­eled broches, crys­tal en­crusted jeans and least of all, col­or­ful em­broi­dered silken box­ers with a prom­i­nent Ver­sace la­bel peek­ing out of trousers, or on their own with a sober black suit jacket and but­ton-up dress shirt.

Ver­sace said in her notes that the im­age of mas­culin­ity has evolved since the ’90s “when there was a spe­cific idea of ‘A’ man.”

“What I wanted to show in this col­lec­tion are the dif­fer­ent faces of a man, who … has gained the courage that he didn’t have be­fore. If I had to find a word that de­fines to­day’s men, it would be dar­ing,” she said.

Ver­sace also pre­viewed a col­lab­o­ra­tion with U.S. car­maker Ford, in­clud­ing the oval-shaped blue Ford logo on leather jack­ets, trousers, sneak­ers, hood­ies and but­ton-down shirts. The lat­ter was lay­ered kinkily with a silky lace top and a leop­ard-print fur coat. For good mea­sure, the model’s hair was col­ored in leop­ard print.

Un­der­lin­ing some of the fem­i­nine touches, Ver­sace sent out women’s looks worn by top models Bella Ha­did, Kaia Ger­ber, Vit­to­ria Ceretti and Emily Rata­jkowski. Ac­tor Luke Evans and Ital­ian rap­per Sfera Eb­basta were in the front row, along with fel­low rap­per Fedez and his wife, fash­ion blog­ger and in­flu­encer, Chiara Fer­ragni.


Menswear fash­ion house Ermenegildo Zegna showed Fri­day evening un­der the cav­ernous arched ceil­ings of Mi­lan’s fas­cist-era train sta­tion, of­fer­ing cups of mulled wine to warm spec­ta­tors be­fore the show.

The space in the en­trance hall was re­plete with sym­bol­ism. Thou­sands of com­muters and trav­el­ers rush through each day. But the hall’s mez­za­nine was also used as a way sta­tion for thou­sands of mi­grants who had ar­rived by sea in the south and were mak­ing their way to north­ern Europe from 2013-15.

De­signer Alessan­dro Sar­tori seemed to have both in mind, writ­ing that he chose the venue as “a place of ar­rivals and de­par­tures, but also in­te­gra­tion and ac­cep­tance of di­ver­sity.” The col­lec­tion aimed at Sar­tori’s vi­sion of a “mul­ti­cul­tural gen­er­a­tion of global cit­i­zens” com­bined clas­sic suits, sports­wear and mil­i­tary de­tail­ing. For the trav­eller, the looks were fin­ished with easystrid­ing footwear in­clud­ing Zegna’s first sneaker, called Ce­sare.

A pur­ple suit closed slightly asym­met­ri­cally, the tight sil­hou­ette com­pleted with a rid­ing cap and a leather bag with Army-sur­plus vol­ume. Cropped puffer jack­ets and rich pile hood­ies added vol­ume over slim trousers. An over­sized plaid notched-lapel bomber jacket paired with match­ing cargo trousers gave a neat day­time look. Mil­i­tary de­tail­ing in­cluded ribbed knits, calf straps and a touch of cam­ou­flage.


If Dolce & Gab­bana are still sting­ing over a back­lash in China, they sought to salve it in Mi­lan with quiet el­e­gance.

The run­way show Satur­day was the brand’s first ma­jor out­ing after be­ing forced to can­cel a Shang­hai show in Novem­ber amid ac­cu­sa­tions of cul­tural in­sen­si­tiv­ity. The pace of the Mi­lan show was slow and de­ter­mined, as de­sign­ers Domenico Dolce and Ste­fano Gab­bana subbed out Mil­len­ni­als for mil­lion­aires.

The col­lec­tion con­tained an ar­ray of time­less looks for the global dandy, from an Amer­i­can Great Gatsby, a Si­cil­ian no­ble or, yes, even a Chi­nese ty­coon. The de­sign­ers fo­cused on work­man­ship, with tai­lors stitch­ing in the back­ground.

From back­stage flowed silk twill robes and pa­ja­mas, bro­cade suits whose pat­terns were in­spired by Ital­ian cathe­drals, rich vel­vet day coats over trousers and warm, se­quined knitwear bear­ing geo­met­ric mo­tifs.

Coats, jack­ets and trousers were ex­pertly tai­lored with her­ring­bone, Prince of Wales and hounds-tooth pat­terns. Looks were fin­ished with touches like sheep­skin out­er­wear, fringed silk scarfs or el­e­gant um­brel­las with grips carved in an­i­mal shapes. There were some signs of the fall­out from the China con­tro­versy. Gone were the Asian fans that once swarmed a tram sta­tion out­side the duo’s venue, and some seats were re­moved to shrink the show­room ca­pac­ity.

But the crowd in­side showed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion with a rare round of ap­plause dur­ing the show at a se­ries of jack­ets with se­quin em­broi­dery and warm ap­plause for the de­sign­ers at their cur­tain call.


The fifth col­lec­tion by the M1992 la­bel founded by for­mer DJ Do­rian Taran­tini fea­tured so­phis­ti­cated streetwear looks that ap­peared at home against the pas­tel shaded ball­room of one of Mi­lan’s most el­e­gant ho­tels, the Principe di Savoia.

The ho­tel was also where the late Gian­franco Ferre showed in the ’70s and ’80s.

Taran­tini said the col­lec­tion was in­spired by the British sub­cul­ture of past decades, with equal part glam, tar­tan and sport.

The co-ed col­lec­tion was more likely to bare male midriffs than fe­male, with slightly short sweaters barely meet­ing the low-waisted trousers. Women wore mod ’60s printed tu­nics and leg­gings fin­ished with dizzy­ing plat­form shoes. An Austin Pow­ers’ vel­vet suit with peeka-boo ruf­fle on the shirt sleeve was for the man not afraid to de­clare “Dan­ger is my mid­dle name.”

“This col­lec­tion re­calls my ado­les­cent sum­mers spent in Lon­don learn­ing English, but also to re­search mu­sic,” Taran­tini said. “This is a reawak­en­ing of Lon­don, a city I love and that I visit of­ten. I wanted to bring this touch to Mi­lan. It is not a form of ap­pro­pri­a­tion, but it is part of my back­ground.”


Ger­man de­signer Philipp Plein staged a game of polo in the cen­ter of the run­way for his Bil­lion­aire col­lec­tion, giv­ing a plug for his spon­sor­ship of the Monte Carlo Polo team.

For four min­utes, polo play­ers on horse­back played a fast-paced match on a court­yard cov­ered with faux snow in what is likely a Mi­lan Fash­ion Week first. More horses were brought on to the field after the match, form­ing a cen­tral run­way for the models.

It was lit­tle sur­prise, then, that the col­lec­tion for ma­ture men fea­tured eques­trian looks, in­clud­ing tight-fit­ting jodh­purs, rep­tile rid­ing boot and match­ing caps and even sad­dles. Blaz­ers had leather or fur lapels, and fur coats draped over silken pa­ja­mas, per­haps to take a last look at the stable. Flashier looks in­clude bold medal­lion print suits fea­tur­ing the Bil­lion­aire logo al­ter­nat­ing with the stal­lion pro­files. They were worn with leather gloves, a neck­er­chief and a blan­ket draped over the arm.

After the show, the fash­ion crowd had to be di­rected away from the horse drop­pings on their way out.


British de­signer Neil Bar­rett cel­e­brated his 20th an­niver­sary with an ex­plo­ration of what he called “the uni­form of re­bel­lion.”

The co-ed show was set against a video pro­jec­tion of a city scape with of­fice build­ings lit up and a plethora of flash­ing neon, which were re­pro­duced in bright prints on trousers and trenches. Worn to­gether, they formed a mov­ing cityscape.

The col­lec­tion also fea­tured tar­tan and an­i­mal prints, leather and fur ac­cents, with ref­er­ences to the British punk scene of the ’70s. The sil­hou­ette was crisp and dis­ci­plined, with cuffed trousers and long blaz­ers, or trans­par­ent PVC trenches eas­ily trans­fer­ring from men to women.





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