Milan Men’s Fashion Week is in ruins. Long spread over four days, it now has only three: a long weekend instead of a week. Many houses have followed the lead of Gucci, which has showcased its men’s and women’s collections at Women’s Fashion Week in February for the past year. After the loss of Bottega Veneta (who is exceptionally featured in New York this season), Calvin Klein (returned to New York since the arrival of Raf Simons), Missoni and Jil Sander, the 2018 winter season took place without Moncler, Roberto Cavalli or Salvatore Ferragamo.
Moncler, which has just discontinued the Gamme Bleu and Gamme Rouge lines designed by Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli respectively, will open Milan Fashion Week in February with a mixed event. Cavalli will also present the first menswear collection by brand new designer Paul Surridge in February.
At the same time, menswear is undergoing a major transformation. It’s as if the street has sent the costume to oblivion. Streetwear has taken over, the sartorial is just an anecdote. Corneliani and Canali disappeared from? catwalks† Brioni, for his part, is trying to make a comeback, but the Kering group’s brand has chosen Paris over Milan for the relaunch.
Ermenegildo Zegna, one of the rare luxury brands devoted entirely to men, is still there. Its artistic director Alessandro Sartori tries to rejuvenate the product as much as the customer. He succeeds quite well, with a Couture collection that exudes itself by being both chic and contemporary. Zegna, who controls every link in the production chain, from raising sheep in Australia and New Zealand to weaving yarn to tailoring, has developed a natural cashmere dyed with flowers, herbs and vegetables found on the land of the brand in Trivero in Piedmont. Chanterelle yellow, crocus blue. Only real false note: the snowflakes from the parade, they are very artificial.
Does the Camera della moda (Italian Fashion Room) expect a merger with Pitti Uomo, the important men’s fashion fair in Florence? According to president Carlo Capasa, fashion week now starts in Florence and ends in Milan.
It’s true that “Pitti” has become a fashion week in its own right, with a calendar of shows in perpetual motion, featuring different designers each season. After JW Anderson and Off White in June, Florence welcomed the Japanese brands Undercover and The Soloist. Jun Takahashi and Takahiro Miyashita, their respective designers, had presented their collections around the same theme of order and disorder. The result was presented during a long joint parade in Stazione Leopolda, a large unused station a stone’s throw from the Arno.
Both collections evoked a post-apocalyptic future, between The route by Cormac McCarthy and 2001: A space odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, who very literally inspired Takahashi with prints of phrases and photos from the film. For Miyashita – who spent several seasons walking her cult label Number (N)ine in Paris before dropping out and returning with The Soloist – the dominant reference was a Nine Inch Nails song: “The Day The World Went Away.”† Phrase repeated on neon orange capes during the finale. It was dark, but beautiful, even moving.
The end of the world seemed near at Prada too. After years of parading in its headquarters via Fogazzaro, the brand had invited its guests to a warehouse in the shadow of the Fondazione Prada. In the huge room, shelves were filled with plastic or cardboard boxes with stickers that played with the Prada logo.
Collection Highlights: Chunky industrial black nylon anoraks worn with a plastic ID card – the perfect uniform for a doomsday scenario, on Earth or elsewhere. The mutated side caused by an atomic explosion was reflected in prints that Miuccia Prada recycled from previous collections: the bananas from a few seasons ago combined with the flames of another year.
At the same time, the show was a lesson in the history of Prada: especially black nylon, but also the recycling of old prints, or the unexpected reintroduction of the red Prada Sport logo, launched at the moment when Patrizio Bertelli, the boss of the label, took part in the America’s Cup with his boat Luna Rossa† In 2018, almost every brand collaborates with more or less legendary sportswear labels (from Gosha Rubschinkiy with Adidas, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini to Damir Doma with Lotto, not to mention Vetements, who more or less invented the practice).
Aggressive looks and a touch of bourgeoisie
By integrating Prada Sport, a somewhat kitschy and almost forgotten sub-brand, into the Catwalk collection, the Italian house is once again making itself desirable. Fans will love it. Just like the black nylon pieces conceived by designers Konstantin Grcic and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, or architects Rem Koolhaas and Herzog et de Meuron.
Francesco Ragazzi of Palm Angels, for his part, gathered his guests in a somewhat claustrophobic, disused basement, lit by hypnotic green and red lasers. Rather aggressive looks, between punk and street for boys and girls, with a touch of bourgeoisie: each model had a nice handbag. At Moschino, the invitation was an old video cassette and the show was inspired by a sex tape from the VHS years: latex masks, black leather at will and definitely less funny fashion than usual.
The season was not entirely bleak. In a replica of an airport arrivals hall, Fendi delivered Rimowa suitcases and other luggage decorated with the famous double F logo, while the models sported a 1970s jet set look, updated for 2018. Soundtrack: “Follow Me”, disco hit by Amanda Lear. At MSGM, Massimo Giorgetti summoned the students of an imagined University of Causality, with Franco Battiato on repeat. Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo from Sunnei confirmed their talent with an unpretentious show in the warehouse of the design gallery Nulifar – jeans with fringes, bright colors, youthful stripes and the t-shirt of the season: We should all be Sunneia nod to Dior.
The best show of the long weekend in Milan: that of Marni, where Francesco Riso continues to take the brand founded by Consuelo Castiglioni on new adventures. A majestic room dotted with a collection of found objects that serve as makeshift chairs: a buffer car, a vacuum cleaner, an old television set on pebbles. Riso was inspired by memories of his own childhood. In the end, a mix and match sometimes unbelievable, prints and colours, stripes and checks, nylon and tweed, suits and sportswear, wool blankets and rubber fishing boots. Gucci in the approach (we stack and we add), in a young crazy version, less baroque. A parade that we watched with open eyes, happy to be there, waiting for the end of the world.