Jun 25, 2014
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Milan men’s fashion week: hybrid fashion geared toward comfort

Jun 25, 2014

A transitioning sense of style has been at the heart of Milan’s Fashion Week, which began on Saturday, June 21 and ended on Tuesday, June 24. The summer 2015 men’s wardrobe has been updated, yet it is still deeply rooted in tradition, with evidently no big new surprises. Buyers also seemed to have left Milan sooner than expected. Several seats at the foot of catwalks were left empty, while cocktail hours and parties held over the course of the week were a bit dull and rather forgettable.

Gucci’s take on the polished sailor

Despite a few splashes of color and a strong sense of inspiration coming from the world of sports, it was restraint that dominated. For certain presentations, it even seemed like it was already winter given the dark palette, with overcoats and big sweaters from Prada, Fendi and Ermenegildo Zegna, as well as Diesel Black Gold which championed velvet, while Salvatore Ferragamo opted for autumnal tones.

As far as rebelliousness goes, there were still hints of past seasons’ rock n' roll attitude present in some fairly somber ensembles. The black biker jacket has continued to maintain its standing among the most important pieces for next summer’s male wardrobe - preferably embellished with white embroidery (Diesel Black Gold, John Richmond).

Generally, pants took precedence over shorts, while it seemed compulsory to wear jackets, windbreakers, parkas and coats with lightweight knits, or simply on a bare torso. That’s without forgetting little sweaters and cardigans, while shirts appeared to be losing momentum. Raincoats were everywhere, including ensembles matching them with shorts and bare legs. Even jeans have become a classic - generally in the original indigo blue version with conspicuous 70’s-style stitching (Prada, Andrea Pompilio, Dsquared2, Frankie Morello).

Milanese designers seem to have been searching somewhere between innovation and tradition, elegance and performance. But next summer’s man aspires more than anything to a certain level of normalcy, stripped of excess. He likes to dress well, wearing beautiful cuts of wonderful fabrics - preferably soft materials. He’s natural and chic in immaculate white suits (Etro, Corneliani, Costume National, John Varvatos, Neil Barrett, Versace). With that in mind, it’s worth noting that polka dots, with their retro charm, have come back into fashion at Ermanno Scervino and at Dolce & Gabbana in particular.

Retro jeans made fashionable by Prada

Navy blue has replaced black, the Royal Navy having inspired more than one stylist. At Gucci, Frida Giannini offered crisp white jackets with blue laces around the sleeves, as well as a navy version with epaulettes and metal buttons, as did Philipp Plein, who added pocket insignias. The sailor sweater became an essential part of the summer 2014 wardrobe, appearing in both classic and updated versions (Ermenegildo Zegna, Ermanno Scervino).

"I haven’t seen anything really innovative. In order to get away a little from all this classic formality, designers have put together a few pieces with striking colors primarily focused on shoes with very aggressive sandals and sneakers. The real innovation this season is focused on footwear," said Cesare Tadolini, who owns two shops in Modena. "Everything is still quite restrained. We always expect to see great innovations, which unfortunately never come to pass. We would like some pieces that are more fashionable and a little less timeless in order to encourage customers.”

Strappy leather sandals like you might see in ancient Greece, or versions with big soles and extra large straps, as well as flip-flops will be next summer’s must, while the sneaker has clearly dethroned the loafer. The focus on casual footwear has helped lighten things up. A casual sense of style permeated the shows. Silhouettes were fluid. What seemed key was that garments be comfortable and functional.

A part suit, part windbreaker suit by Antonio Marras

In that respect, jackets adopted the looks of dressing gowns, while joggers made notable appearances in gray or decorated with vibrant prints (Ermano Scervino, Etro, John Richmond, Zegna, Philipp Plein). Several pants even featured double sidebands in the way of tracksuit pants. Also designed with function in mind, phone headsets appeared on a few catwalks (Fendi, Dirk Bikkembergs), as well as multi sacs slung diagonally across chests with pronounced straps

Hybrid clothing has become the norm. That doesn’t only mean mixing materials, but also putting together ensembles that are part sporty and part formal. There was a suit with zip-off sleeves from Moncler Gamme Bleu. There was also a great deal of elastic waistbands. Antonio Marras somehow managed to fuse a classic-style shirt with a windbreaker.

In general, the Milanese designers happily drew upon sports. Versace and Roberto Cavalli were inspired by Miami Beach, Missoni by surfers, Moncler Gamme Bleu by boxing, Dirk Bikkembergs borrowed from triathlons, Dolce & Gabbana from bullfighting, Antonio Marras from football, etc. Several shows were even set up next to a pool, at the foot of a boxing ring or on a playground!

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