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Day three at Milan and color seems to be the magic word for the Milan menswear spring summer 2016 fashion week, with Monday shows including Etro, Fendi and Canali offering up a vibrant palette of pretty hues. Get ready for one more Milan Design Agenda analysis! Starting…
A natural sense of poise and confidence emanated from Diesel Black Gold’s Spring/Summer men’s collection, showing that perhaps its Norwegian creative director Andreas Melbostad has also settled into his own skin at the label’s helm. Rock stars like American singer Joe Jonas and Italian bassist Saturnino Celani were raving about the collection that included fringed leather looks that were paired with clean-cut shirts with either military collars, cinched waists, or puckered hoods.
“We liked the pants. They looked like they take a long time to put on but they looked RAD,” Jonas added, noting that he was dressed in head-to-toe Diesel Black Gold. Fitted pants came in patent leather black, slouchy powder grey or white jeans – sometimes lined with the type of stitching that fastens pigskin footballs.
Melbostad was careful not to overdo it. The occasional appearance of simple black and grey blazers and classic black boots infused the collection with a commercial appeal. Creating a total look for the quintessential rock performer, there were also elements of Melbostad’s Nordic sense of order and zen, in the midst of the chaos.
You could almost smell the fried calamari and the sea breeze at Antonio Marras’ Spring/Summer 2016 show that primed us for the type of Italian summer that dreams are made of and depicted the life of a Sardinian sailor. Aged books by Edgar Allen Poe and Guido Tadini served as the rocks supporting two fisherman boats in the middle of a steamy white-tiled venue on Via Bergognone.
Models dressed in navy blue French berets and polka dot scarves, tablecloth printed jackets, and exaggerated cuffed jeans, illustrated the first chapters of the young seaman’s life. His muse also made an impact on the runway with her roomy a-line mariner stripe dresses with delicate polka dotted lace.
As the young man moves up in the ranks, he becomes more intellectual and set in his ideals as ever. Washed in military green, his uniform was more boxy and his pants strictly tapered. We also see him drift to distant shores, wearing Hawaiian prints reminiscent of the 1950s era films of Montgomery Clift.
An almost autobiographical collection, Marras’ shared his islander spirit with the fashion community, demonstrating that he too has travelled all around the world, he has woven his experiences into his work, but his islander roots are what keep his collections grounded.
The soothing rhythm of deep breathing that opened the sound track of the Gucci Menswear show was a fantastic auditory invitation to the audience to release their collective bated breath and just let designer Alessandro Michele’s new vision for the house wash over them. The acceptance had already started with the new venue for the collection, a dilapidated warehouse with out of commission train tracks delineating the entrance. Inside, bands of blue and purple neon tubing illuminated the cement catwalk instead of the famed Gucci spotlight used since the Tom Ford era. All of it was a clear twist on what is traditionally considered a luxury fashion show.
Twisting, or as Michele called it in his show notes “détournement,” is also what the designer is doing to the Gucci codes. This is how he has decided to reinvent the house. Taking snippets of its past, mostly from its heydays in the 70s, and reworking them into something that feels both reverential of their origins but also distinctly neoteric.
There were, however, a few linking threads in the collection. The suiting all came with shrunken sleeved jackets and slim floor-skimming bell bottom trousers, even if they appeared cut in different wallpaper prints or embellished with embroidered flowers. Michele also incorporated a strong element of nature into his work, adorning sweaters, shear lace tops, and a slim short jackets with embroidered patches in the forms of bees, butterflies, and blooms. He also continued to imbue femininity into his menswear options; both ruffles and bows were part and parcel of almost every look. But at the same time, the addition of spikes on the backs of lace-up flats or across a sky blue leather jacket pointed to some toughening up being done by the designer.
Even those who wistfully remember the easy to understand era of Michele’s predecessor couldn’t help but be convinced by the beauty of a glossy brown snakeskin coat, a red chinoiserie embroidered blouson jacket, or a double G trench with suede accents.
In the “what came first, the chicken or the egg” debate, Kean Etro has chosen his side – the egg. The designer built his entire Spring/Summer 2016 collection around the oval oeuf. But, as always with Kean, the thought process behind his choice went much deeper and broader than just using the round shape in a literal embellishment on his designs. The egg came to represent life before the split between man and woman. The beginning of it all. Infinity.
All these big ideas were expresses on the circular, egg-shaped, runway. There Etro created suits with redingote coat, their lapels MIA to create an unfettered rounded collar line. The brand’s iconic paisley was set in a converging pattern, pulling the eye towards the center of garments. Some were crafted in a pointillism pattern that had an ethnic, almost aboriginal, vibe – a sensation enhanced by a didgeridoo being played on the soundtrack (Etro himself is an avid practitioner).
The removal or hiding away of fastenings was another way the designer streamlined the look of this collection. Even the pointy-toed footwear was of the slide-on-and-go variety. A relaxing tone-on-tone color palette and the use of fabrics like crepe de Chine on easy V-neck tops and chiffon shirts was the way Etro got his men in touch with their feminine side.
Overall, this was a bit of a new sartorial recipe for the house. But Etro didn’t break any eggs while getting the reserved elegance just right.
MSGM’s Massimo Giorgetti has a lot on his plate lately. Recently appointed creative director of Emilio Pucci, Giorgetti threw the fashion world a curveball in Florence with his first women’s capsule collection that showed the MSGM in Giorgetti was going to make an impact on Pucci and not the other way around. Yesterday in Milan, however, Giorgetti surprised us again with his Spring/Summer 2016 men’s collection that was quite a departure from his usual MSGM cocktail of abstract patterns, irony, and color.
Draped in eco-conscious, simple zen ensembles, ribbed knitwear, and knee-high striped socks, the MSGM Spring/Summer 2016 man is the peaceful, introverted loner of the playground. A tribute to the simplicity of fine fabrics was paid through Giorgetti’s choice to use the work of Anton Alvarez – a Swedish, Chilean-born architect, who is famous for his threaded sculptures – as a starting point for the collection.
Along those lines, Giorgetti played with lace for men’s like he did with women’s in February. This time, the lace was woven into metro maps of New York, London, and Milan – all the while opening our minds as to what is actually considered lace. Buddhist monk-like ensembles were made out of linen, hemp, and rough cotton. Potato sack-like, drawstring eco-leather and jumbo plaid shorts were paired with eco-leather shoes and henleys.
Rope straps were randomly draped over ensembles and bare-chested models – a quirky element that enforced an image of a modern-day “Peter Pan Lost Boy,” who wears his clothes like a protective barrier from societal ills. A confusing twist in Giorgetti’s living history… It is safe to say there are more surprises from Giorgetti on the horizon.
For a menswear brand like Canali, where excellence in fabrics, tailoring, and attention to details are at the core of their business, a runway show can be problematic. The nature of this sort of staging makes all those elements that much harder to appreciate. But a year into his new job as creative consultant and designer for the family-run brand, Andrea Pompilio came up with an astute way to help his audience hone in on his work. At the same time as the models walked the catwalk, a kaleidoscope of different sized videos screens that lined the walls of the show venue generated close up, slow motion images of each ensemble.
In that way, the audience was able to appreciate the crisp beauty of a lilac organza safari jacket and the precision folds of its pockets. They could almost touch the spongy cotton terry cloth textured fabric used to craft a horizontally striped brown jacket or a short sleeve cream top. And all the show’s luxe suede briefcases proved to have a strokeable decadence at the heart of their design.
Pompilio also proved that he is plugged into what is trending in menswear. This was seen in his faux denim ensembles. A number of brands in Milan have been trying to trick their audiences by creating pieces that look like denim but are crafted out of jacquards or printed onto cotton. At Canali, the dark denim was crafted from a cool wool and linen blend, making it both urban and elegant.
This collection pushed the brand ever so gently. It clearly didn’t alienate its core customers, but it most certainly will convert a few new ones.
As the classical piano echoed through the expansive halls of the industrial venue of Milan’s Via Tortona, Paris-based Damir Doma turned the crowd’s attention to the simplicity of live instrumental music. With “Prima Aria,” as the collection is called, Doma started the first chapter of this Milanese story on a quest to revive the purest values of fashion.
The clothes were bare bones and inspired by earthly treasures like the Agate rock that is dark and unsuspecting on the outside and bears a myriad of colorful rings inside. This was highlighted by the sliced slabs of amulets dangling from models’ necks. Linen and cotton floor-length looks slowly made their way down the runway. A-line tank top looks for men were fastened on the sides of the torso, lining the body with an architectural sense of structure.
A fluid navy blue jumpsuit was among the highlights for women, while trousers with exaggerated creases in the form of painted stripes represented one of the hallmarks of the men’s array.
In the midst of the chaos of Milan fashion week, we were served a reprieve with the avant-garde classicism that defines the progressive world of Damir Doma. We were also reminded of the potential of France’s designers to penetrate a younger demographic with the sheer basics.
On what appeared to be a rain-slick gravel runway, designer Silvia Venturini Fendi sent out a menswear collection that was just as deceptively cool. Where the catwalk was coated in a polymer that gave the effect of glassy water pooling on bumpy asphalt, the clothing used precious materials and state of the art fabrication techniques in combinations that were trying hard to look casual. But it just couldn’t help from screaming its sophistication.
How else could you describe python coats that shaded into a color treated rubberized texture two-thirds of the way down? Then there were all the traditional short sleeve roomy t-shirts that just happened to be developed out of liquid looking metallic fabrics. Those gave off some serious high class urban attitude, just like the elastic waistband sweatpants in the show. In the Fendi universe, sweatpants can only exist in supple black leather. And as for sun visors, well you can have them in any material you like as long as its python.
Fendi shows are always quite impressive in terms of the craftsmanship displayed in the collections. And it is understandable why the house would want to cater to the urban market and offer up pieces that felt younger and more approachable. However, it was almost as if the collection was a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing.
Fendi can try and dilute its power in simple silhouettes and modest concepts. But this is an Italian brand that can only stifle its howl for so long.
A De Stijl-esque art movement took hold of Brioni for its Spring/Summer 2016 collection, of which the hallmark was an urban geometric print that looked like a 21st century rendition of Piet Mondrian’s “Tableau.” Perhaps the main driver was designer Brendan Mullane’s recent move to tap four contemporary artists to appear in the brand’s autumn advertisements.
The “Creative Minds” campaign includes shots of John Armleder, Tobias Madison, Seth Price, and Karl Holmqvist in Milan and Paris wearing Brioni. While last season’s man was for a preppy blueblood, Spring/Summer 2016 caters to a true power player, who has no qualms about breaking deals in belted blazers and tie-less silk shirts. Confident about his manliness, this ace would wear vibrant patterns to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange or to meet the Pope.
For leisure wear, anything goes. Silk pajama shirts with suede shorts, foulards for lounging or weekend drives. This Brioni guy would never risk ruining his impeccable gelled coiffure by getting stuck in the rain without an oversized parka of the same cubist motif as his evening wear.
With real commercial appeal and numerous ensembles, it was hard to find fault within Mullane’s collection. Chic, contemporary, and urban, it really checked all the right boxes. And by throwing some neoplasticim prints in the mix, there are even a few conversation pieces to boot.
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