Milan takes action on sustainability as plenty of fashion houses looked into their archives to revive classic prints.
Once upon a time in the 1980s, Madonna wore a black T-shirt that said “Italians Do It Better.” The question is, do they? London Fashion Week, for instance, is known for its niche and unusual offerings from fashion’s up and coming designers; but Milan is the place that sets a precedence for the entire circuit. Boasting runway presentations from the likes of Fendi, Emporio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna, Milan Fashion Week has Italian craftsmanship and expert tailoring wrapped in luxury fabrics for the world to see. So, the answer to the previous question is yes, Italians do do it better.
So, what is new that Milan has to offer for the spring/summer 2020 season? For one, Milan is beginning to express its take on climate change. It will be a challenging road to alter customer demand for animal products, but it simply needs to be done. As one of the first designers in the fashion business to embrace a sustainable attitude, Stella McCartney worked with a slew of sustainable materials such as organic cotton and regenerated cashmere and nylon for its spring/summer 2020 collection. The brand’s menswear collection skewed more towards soft-edged tailoring through a boxy double-breasted dusty rose suit with contrasting black buttons and coats with a satellite view of the earth.
For the first time ever, Prada showcased its collection outside Milan—in Shanghai, to be exact. Ermenegildo Zegna opened the Milan Menswear Fashion Week schedule with a show that was held beyond city limits, in one of Italy’s oldest steel factories. Alessandro Sartori delivered a sustainable approach for its collection, using more wool as well as technical fabrics developed in-house to help close the circle of traceability. The suits were made entirely from wool remnants at Zegna’s Achill farm in a clean silhouette. Blousons and sleek three-button blazers paired with soft, slim trousers as well as crunchy nylon suits and full arm-printed jackets and parkas. Many of the pieces were pressed to create irregular pleats and creases.
Over at Marni, creative director Francesco Risso showcased a poetic rebellion with his spring/summer 2020 offering. The show was held in the industrial headquarters of the brand and had guests stand on a floor dotted with giant red and yellow polka dots. There was a large fishnet hovering over the guests’ heads to convey a deeper conversation on sustainable fashion practices. The clothes were clashed: Military shapes combined with tropical, camo slashed into field jackets, trousers were patchworked and buttoned with sleeves bunched up. All in all, the collection itself is still very playful with funny details done in a timeless and refined way.
Milan is in a revival mood, thankfully. The city’s designers are going strong with their presentations, as exemplified by Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina of Sunnei. The duo’s spring/summer 2020 show was staged underneath a giant bridge in the middle of a park in the Rubattino neighborhood. Since the label’s inception five years ago, the pair have successfully established Sunnei as a label known for creative and sculpturally-elegant collections. This season, they honed their signature looks. Case in point: Wide cargo pants that came with giant 3D zip pockets cropped to the ankle and short coats worn over shirts. Layering is still their best trait, together with stripes in green and yellow dashed across the body.
No one can deny Armani’s influence on men’s suiting and style when he moved tailoring towards a totally new direction by making it relaxed back in the 1980s. Titled “Visions and Dreams,” Emporio Armani’s spring/summer 2020 collection is the definition of renewed athleticism. With a sporty and fluid attitude to dressing, the collection also feels intimate, backed with how the show was held in Armani’s headquarters. Single abdor double-breasted jackets were seen in fine faded herringbone, paired with palazzo and parachute pants in organza, linen, jute and silk. Washed suede tracksuits also appeared alongside linen knits, with drawstrings on shirt hems and shawl collars to impart a sporty stance to the whole collection.
“Over at Marni, creative director Francesco Risso showcased a poetic rebellion with his spring/summer 2020 offering”
Moving on to Fendi, Silvia Venturini designed a collection that was inspired by her life outside the city—Rome, that is—where she takes care of a garden and grows vegetables and roses. Hence, the show was held at the gardens of Villa Reale in Milan. Olive, beige and denim dominated the collection, with exposed pocket bags, sheer printed track-pants plastered on top of trousers while leather patches were added to baggy denim shorts. The details are remarkable, with tiny holes on the knitwear, patchwork furs worn inside out and exposed seams to create a rustic windowpane check. The gardening theme was a bit literal in some looks but the use of different textures was artisanal, creating a comprehensive collection for this season.
This season also marks Claire Waight Keller’s debut for Givenchy’s standalone men’s show at Pitti Uomo. The show was held in the gardens of Villa Palmieri in the Florentine Palace, where Queen Victoria stayed during her vacation in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The designer presented a lineup of tailoring-meets-sportswear looks inspired by her own experience working in New York in the ’90s and Korean street culture. The result? Minimalist suiting in a range of styles, with options from wider, looser shoulders to draped coats to neat jackets. There was even a three-button jacket paired with matching ’90s inspired trousers and styled with doubled belts and chains. Furthering this play on the formal and informal, the suited looks were also styled with technical outerwear pieces, like bonded anoraks and flyaway parkas in lightweight Korean fabrics, completed with accessories such as pearl chain jewelry to magnetic webbing belts.
Donatella Versace dedicated the Versace spring/summer 2020 collection to her late friend Keith Flint of Prodigy who passed away in March last year. His style was a big influence on the show; the models sported teal, yellow, hot pink or bright red hair and strutted in black leather outfits. Titled “Contemporary Masculinity,” the collection resulted in a mash-up of tailored pieces, oversized silhouettes, heavily injected by the trends of the ’90s and the signature codes of Versace. The Italian label opened up its archive to source key prints and collaborate with artist Andy Dixon to reimagine and then juxtapose them against seasonal patterns like leopard and checks. In the end, it’s all about the power suit for Versace this season.
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