Now that the dust has settled a bit after this month’s men’s Fashion Week marathon, I thought it might be a good time to look back over what we saw in Milan and Paris on that nine-day run when we’re less inclined to be swept away by the spectacle of the show or spew bile on a collection because we didn’t have a chance to have our morning coffee.
And by “we”, of course, I mean “I.” I don’t expect to be treated like a princess or anything but please don’t make me look at clothes, even my own, before I’ve had at least a gulp or two of coffee.
The general feeling in the industry over Milan seemed to be that everything was a bit sad due to the current economic picture in Italy and that the collections were workable but uninspired. I tend to think that the Italians excel at tailoring and tradition with slight tweaks season to season so a lack of huge directional shifts was not an issue for me and, in fact, I did see some great advances in collections like Dolce and Gabbana on the first day where they infused their relentless Sicilian theme with a clearly medieval overtone that yielded some great moments. Just leave the crown at home. Unless you’re Kanye, because then you might as well wear it and be a bigger fashion-victim douche.
Later, Jil Sander (yet again without Jil Sander herself at the helm) produced a line of lean, simple basics in rich colors and Donatella gleefully raided the gay leather bars for her silly but somehow irresistible Versace collection. If you are in need of designer chaps over bandanna-printed bikini briefs, you only have a few months to wait, guys! Finally, Ermenegildo Zegna brought out the soon-to-be-ubiquitous oversized outerwear that has been the darling of fashion critics and bane of retail salespeople in women’s for the past couple of winters.
The next day began with Bottega Veneta’s beautifully fabricated sportswear in a dazzling array of greens and grays followed by Prada’s parade of color in simple jackets and full-cut slouchy pants that were really wearable save for the deep scoop neck knits than are just generally wrong. Then came Salvatore Ferragamo’s rug-themed foray into outerwear and the too-tightly belted tailoring that didn’t nearly measure up to their successes of last fall.
Emporio Armani started off the next morning with a seemingly endless offering of gray followed by gray and then some more gray. There was variation in texture from wooly to rubbery to astrakhan and python and, thankfully, they fucking walked faster this season. Gucci’s Frida Giannini then sent out a Swinging Sixties/Mod-looking line in a range of pastels to darks that was kind of awkward and Giorgio Armani wrapped it up the next day with a very classic Armani collection of casual luxury, soft tailoring and rounded shoulders that would be great on your grandpa.
For me, and I say this now after having several days to let it all sink in, the highlight of Milan was the Etro show on the penultimate day. At the time, I felt the presentation with the cartoonish graphics in the background and sending the last models out each with their very own frumpy, little tailor in a gesture of homage to the excellence of this Italian skill was just too hokey to merit real scrutiny but, as is said too often, the proof is in the pudding. Etro’s pudding, on further examination, was delicious. The plaid-on-plain-on-plaid looks that saw one fabric on the jacket, waistcoat, trousers, tie, gloves and even shoes of a look was an exaggeration, of course, but the fabrics themselves were brilliant and the lines amazing. The cut of the jackets will probably work better on a slimmer physique, and the skinnier-than-skinny pants are not for everyone, but, on the right body or substituting a pair of jeans, as one does in Los Angeles, this is brilliance.
And with that, I leave you to ponder the wonders of Milan for Fall 2014.