Alternate Realities Dominate Milan Fashion Week
Designers are offering alternate realities for men next winter.
Yes, tailored suits and overcoats, the staples of any wardrobe, have their place on the runways on the second day of Milan Fashion Week on Sunday.
But designers also are recognizing men’s need to escape their urban work-a-day worlds and get in touch with nature. They don’t go so far as to offer outdoor clothing, per se. But there is more than a smattering of short, hooded parkas worn over suits and with backpacks that suggest some other destination after the office. And many collections incorporate active wear, including athletic trousers, often knit, with elastic or drawstring waistlines and gathered cuffs.
Milan Fashion Week runs through Tuesday.
Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier’s details startle with their subtlety.
The quiet bronze plaid jacket appears to have had its hemline dipped in electric blue dye that gently fades at the edge. An argyle pattern is knitted on a bias. The asymmetrical neckline of a soft pullover hugs a shoulder, giving the effect of one-sided shrug.
Some of the details in the menswear collection for next fall and winter have feminine antecedents, like a broad scooped neckline on a sweater, but the overall feel of the collection was decidedly masculine, defined by an athletic silhouette.
"The collection is about versatility and ease," Maier said in notes.
Many of the trousers taper to ribbed cuff, mimicking active wear, and worn often with a bomber jacket and heavy shoes. Two tone knit caps tucked under the ears finish the look with a bit of whimsy. Dark neutral colors dominate.
Bottega Veneta started as a leather goods company, and Maier exploits the tradition with a cross-body satchel that is clutched under the arm, as are large shoppers often in the fashion house’s trademark weave.
Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo’s menswear collection for fall took traditional male staples like jean jackets and trench coats and re-worked them in earthy colors blended with just a hint of ethnic or nomadic pattern.
Long wool trench coats in tan were splashed with bands of sesame and chocolate. Jackets and even suits were sprinkled with stripes or patterns lifted from Native American blankets, keeping things interesting. Peacoats and military jackets came in an unexpected pale mint green.
The collection by designer Massimiliano Giornetti made stunning use of leather, as befits a house which began as a shoemaker to the Hollywood stars in the 1920s.
Boots with thick soles and a strap around the ankle came in different color variations, including a deep blue, and looked great with both suits and less formal looks. Short little jean jackets came in leather or pony skin. But for a house that makes its bread and butter from accessories, there were few bags on the runway except for hefty-looking large totes perfect for a weekend getaway.
British designer Vivienne Westwood’s menswear collection for fall was full of baggy trousers referencing hip hop music, mixed up with environmentalist messages.
There were three versions of the tracksuit, a hip hop favorite: a tight, high tech zip-up in gray, a loose and baggy one accented in black trim, and a full-on gold version with a hood.
Westwood’s clothes have strong ties to music, so the nod to hip hop seemed only natural for the women who invented the safety-pin looks that defined punk rock in the 1970s.
Fond of splashing political messages across T-shirts, she sent several models out wearing shirts emblazoned with the words "+ 5 degrees," in reference to global warming.
Her casual looks often featured low-waisted baggy trousers cut off at the knee, paired with a big sweater and oxfords, or a leather jacket, or just a T-shirt and sneakers. A raincoat as thin as tissue paper looked like just the thing to pop into a suitcase before a trip.
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