Revenge of the Nerds: Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall 2013

Salvatore Ferragamo by Sonny Vandevelde

Gentle reader,

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Milan Men’s Fashion Week strikes again.  The timing actually seems to make more sense this year because it’s so fucking freezing in LA right now that I wouldn’t mind wearing one of next year’s coats over the one that I bought this season.

Saturday was a big day with a lot of important shows beginning with Jil Sander’s for Jil Sander in the morning.  Her collection is simple with boxy, minimal shapes and featuring the double-breasted jackets and large-scale plaids that you’re going to see everywhere next fall.  I was a little disappointed by the Ermenegildo Zegna show after their slim, sexy collection for Fall 2012, which was my favorite in Milan last year.  This year’s is more rocker than usual but struck me a bit cold with its pale grays and shiny silk fabrics.

Moncler Gamme Bleu by Sonny Vandevelde

Moncler Gamme Bleu by Sonny Vandevelde

Messrs. Dolce and Gabbana hit us again with the Sicilian Catholic stuff and just to make sure we didn’t miss the point, they put big Madonna faces on everything.  Otherwise, the collection is sober and dark with a few highlights like wild black shearling coats and some beautiful floral tapestry jackets that you should not buy if you plan on wearing it more than twice.  The predominant silhouette is a high-waist, pleated pant paired with a slouchy shirt that makes the models look short and awkward but that could also be due to casting about two hundred Sicilian villagers who walk like the runway is glass and they have baby oil on their feet.  I’m so over it.

The mood was elevated by Burberry Prorsum’s cool collection of skinny pants, skinnier coats and tortoiseshell nerd glasses.  Camel, gray and olive drab were overriding colors but huge-scale animal prints and oxblood put in an appearance, too.  And them came Versace.  If you ever wanted to dress like a Dick Tracy cartoon, your moment has nearly arrived with the bold plaids, enormous shoulders, super wide neckties and bold animal prints of this collection.  There were also opulent fox coats that will go over big in Moscow and some sheer lace onesies (yes, I said onesies) paired with some amazing biker boots that I must have as soon as possible.  I guess you could say that offerings ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous; those boots are sublime and almost everything else?  Yeah, you guessed it.

Things were looking up on Sunday with a dark, stunning show at Salvatore Ferragamo.  Coats and outerwear with oversized collars and lapels were the major focus in deep blue, dark green, gray or black.  Paired with skinny cropped trousers over boots, the look was strong and sexy.  It made me wish that I lived in a really cold climate again until I remembered that I didn’t like having damp socks all the time.

The Prada show was equally brilliant but in a completely different way.  I’m not a die-hard Prada fan but watching the army of chic nerds who looked like David Hemmings in Blow Up traipsing through Rem Koolhaas’ stylish mid-century penthouse apartment set turned me into a temporary enthusiast.  The colors were all over the place but so perfect and the deconstructed coats and jackets over skinny cropped pants and big, chunky brogues pulled the whole collection together.  I’d wear almost anything off that runway and, oddly enough, I’d also wear a few things from the Moncler Gamme Bleu show, even though they tried to make the whole thing as Scottish Highlands freaky as possible.

Giorgio Armani Men F/W 2013-14


Monday’s Emporio Armani runway was awash with some of the sportiest clothes so far, with neoprene “ski” pants and tops and nice knitwear in gray, camel and mustard but color was taken to a new level at Gucci, where the show opened with a fantastic Wedgewood blue coat over winter white skinny pants, cropped again at the ankle and worn over boots.  This was followed by more blue, pops of orange-red and an apple green pea coat that I haven’t stopped thinking about.  Military shapes in outerwear were balanced by round, unpadded shoulders in suiting and the whole thing had a slightly 60s feel with big plaids and soft turtlenecks.

Etro, in contrast, was rather depressing with something like an Old West-meets-Outer Mongolia thing happening.  The pattern on pattern styling that often works well for them looked overworked and messy this season.

The final day saw a characteristically cheerful DSquared2 show, set this time in a post-World War II jazz hall.  Soft-shouldered frock coats in many colors seemed to be a focus, along with weathered, rolled-up jeans and fun hats.  The Giorgio Armani collection also centered on a variety of jackets in many shapes—double-breasted, of course, but also knitted, velvet, one-button, two-button, shawl-collared and just about everything else you could imagine.  The palette of gray, blue, burgundy, bottle green, olive, and so made for a rich looking collection until you arrive at the knitwear, some of which veers a little too close to Bill Cosby territory.  Otherwise, it was a pretty successful outing.

Overall, this was one of the most normal, wearable seasons I’ve seen, which is kind of exciting for me because I’m not one for fashion stunts, especially in menswear.  Everyone stayed true to his or her DNA, the styling was clean and handsome and I was impressed that so many designers could work within more reserved guidelines and still turn out such beautiful clothes.

Trends to watch out for in Fall 2013 thus far include double-breasted jackets and coats; big collars and lapels; oversized outerwear; checks and plaids; shearlings; and cropped pants.

Let’s see what happens in Paris!

Much love,


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