Following our feature on New York’s essential spring/summer looks, this time we take a look at what Milan has to offer to the fashion-forward gent
Donatella Versace described her brand’s collection “like a homecoming,” and it certainly was. It’s the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s passing, after all, and this collection was entirely retrospective—an homage to a brother whose creative estate is now overseen and nurtured by the sister. It was also an attempt to rewrite his codes for a new generation of consumers that is buying into Versace. This collection, with its bright silk shirts, gold coin and gargoyle patterns, pinstripes and swirls, are all for them. And since Donatella was “at home,” the house codes were naturally all there, as were nods to the good old days. Versace believes that what the kids want today is the attitude and full-on pizzazz of the early Gianni years.
Comics both inspired and illustrated Prada’s collection for this season as the brand went all in with storytelling. The aim was to celebrate the human touch in an increasingly digital world with streamlined jumpsuits, tech sneakers with Velcro straps, and nylon hip packs. While the comic-book-style visuals calls to mind everything from A-ha’s “Take On Me” music video to “Akira” and even “X-Men,” the universal takeaway is that these clothes are as heroic as they are quirky.
Alessandro Michele’s friendship with Elton John was one of the touch points in Gucci’s collection. David Furnish—Elton’s long-time partner—confirmed that Michele had been invited over to go through Elton’s archive of starry early ’70s glam rock stage clothes. “He has all the things Bob Mackie and Annie Reavey made,” said Furnish. “Elton loves Alessandro, and really appreciates what he’s doing.” One of the keys to Michele’s complex personality is that he lives and works in Rome with its layers upon layers of history—and the evidence of people who have lived before are ever-present. Yet he’s also one of the fashion masters of the digital universe.
The phrase “Made in Armani” beautifully captures the spirit of this collection. Curve-hugging tailored jackets, languid work wear pieces and Far Eastern-inspired silhouettes all took a turn on the runway. This man can make a suit, and most importantly his suits make a man look great. After more than 40 years of carving out his own fashion identity as the single shareholder in Italy’s greatest privately-held house, it makes perfect sense. It’s that simple.
Masculine executives used to be very rigid, in a box. But now it is different. Fendi’s fun collection channeled a fifties-meets-seventies stance based on spins on masculine classics from the wardrobe of a nouveau riche executives whose level of taste is so bad it’s cool. With Silvia Venturini Fendi’s updates on business dressing, and new way of envisioning a suit, Fendi’s proposition for what a guy’s to wear in the modern world was compelling and much more forward-looking than many designers who believe everyone will be ditching their suits to don streetwear. It also chimed with the season’s childish mood and desire for escapism, to go back to an age of innocence and problem-free times.
Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna reminds us once again why the name’s had such a lasting impression on the industry. This season, the brand delivered an impeccable menswear collection that deconstructed the formal codes ingrained in Zegna’s DNA. The clothes were made to breathe breathe, creating an airy, outdoorsy feel. Silhouettes were light, like the silky shirts that inflated in movement, volumes had a soft allure, highlighting the weightless substance of sport-inspired blousons worn with tailored joggers. The sense of ease and freedom of movement was definitely perceptible.
Tomas Maier gave the season a much-needed dose of shiny embellishments like studded perforation, disc sequins and snakeskin. The base for Maier’s decoration was the delectable fabrication in which this house excels, warped towards streetwear in American sportswear references, elevating sporty to the next level. Maier went all-out sporty in the spirit of that old fashion cliché, with a twist—a flamboyant, shiny one. The result was a smart, refreshing collection, one of the designer’s best for the house.
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