"Milan Men SS13 - Day 1"
23rd June, 2012
While the hot temperatures keep being a typical characteristic of the Spring/Summer "Italian" Men’s Fashion Shows (but trust me, guys, it seems they have never been so high and warm like this year...) and I am still concerned about my overall feelings on the upcoming Euro Quarter Final match on Sunday between England and Italy (how and which one really support??), the Milan calendar kicked off, this time around just concentrated in a 3-days and a half marathon among presentations, shows and cocktails that does not make justice to one of the most interesting events for male customers.
Anyway, as I started my day, I picked up my calendar and looked at it.
I had the following key appointments to follow up for this blog, and the most worrying thing was that I had to adopt my London wardrobe to one of the hottest days in Italian history!!
Following the advices on this blog, I opted for a "jacket-T-shirt-shorts" look, in different shades of the same colour, excluding the T-shirt which was a basic white (of course).
And then I noticed, the calendar for the day was pretty tight...
Here it was, as follows:
9am - Corneliani fashion show
10am- Jil Sander fashion show
11am - Ermenegildo Zegna fashion show
12pm - Break and quick run to see Ballantyne presentation (and possibly lunch over there...)
1pm - Costume National fashion show
2.30pm - Dolce&Gabbana fashion show
3.30pm - Frankie Morello show
4.30pm - Burberry Prorsum fashion show
6pm - John Varvatos fashion show
7pm - Neil Barrett fashion show
8pm - Versace fashion show
8.30pm - Carlo Pignatelli
Do you think this is possible? Well, it is... Like me, thousands of other operators in the sector (journalists, buyers, etc.) run from one place to another, occupying all the taxis in town and swearing against the first unfortunate person who tries to stop them from this run.
And tomorrow is going to be nearly the same, if not worst, until Tuesday, 26th of June.(Then we have Paris which is slightly less condensed, but still quite hectic...).
This example above is just provided to give the proof to a lot of readers that the fashion business is not made only of parties and models (as, naively I always thought of when I was a teenager and wanted to get into this world...), but there are a lot of meetings to attend, and each one of those means money, so it is in your own interest to participate to as many as you can.In my case, with this blog, money is not the main priority.
At least for now, I am doing it for fun and for the purposes of combining what I find useful (e.g. a list of styles and looks from which taking inspiration for my seasonal wardrobe) with what I find informative and worth to be monitored and followed.
So, in the next few days, I will try to encompass as much as I can from all these shows for your own pleasure.
You just need to sit back and relax... And possibly enjoy, as usual.
Remember, the most important thing is: don’t be tricked by the thousands of images that are in a fashion show or presentations. There is always a clear line to be followed, which will tell you the main spirit of a collection, or what the designer really wants to say to you (because, I don’t know if you realised it or not, all of this is aimed to YOU at the end, the consumer...), or, finally, the subtle trend you may want to follow, in order to feel updated in your look and style.
With regards to this, I already gave you a hint of one of the key trends of this season, from the initial posts of this blog...
You remember: shorts. I told you these were going to be a key item to have in the wardrobe and I forecasted it will be shown by many designers...
And, indeed, check it out...
Let’s start from one of the greatest and most expected collections here in Milan.
The return of Madame Jil Sander as original queen of her reign.
You would say: what do you mean, Lorenzo? How could she return in a brand that has her own name?? She should have been there all the time... Can someone be SENT OUT from the company that bears his or her own name?
Well, that is possible, my friends. Especially when finance gets into the fashion business and in order to assure more capitals to a company, mergers and acquisitions by other companies interested in that specific brand come across.
OK, I am not going to tell you now the whole story of Jil Sander and the different owners this company had in the last ten years. You can find that easily by simply looking for Jil Sander in Wikipedia (if you are interested).
Or you can wait when all the madness of these fashion weeks will end, and I will have some time to put together a nice BIO for each brand here in this website with regards to their menswear business (so just in relation to the part we are really interested in, right?).
For now, you just need to know Jil Sander came back as Creative Director of the brand keeping her name in the last few months, and this Menswear collection is the first one she had designed again after different years from her forced separation.
Now, the important thing to remember here is that, if you think you like Jil Sander’s style, this means you like the following: cleanliness, neat details, precise cutting, comfortable but elegant fit, clear cut shapes, focus on main basic colours (especially black and white). Basically, what used to be called “minimalist” look in the 90s (which, indeed, was the first years of success of this designer).
But let’s start with the looks.
The first look I have selected is the one at the opening of the Jil Sander section: a clean look with an oversized jacket (almost up to the mid-thighs) which possibly represents the main item of this collection. In an amazing grey-blue colour which is light and elegant at the same time.
The second look is a yellow jacket, always paired up with a pair of elegant shorts.
As I mentioned earlier, shorts seem to be the main item of this SS13 (and it is actually also the main item of this current Spring/Summer 2012 season, as I will show you in some pictures taken from the streets in Milan, London, Ibiza and Paris). The shorts of Jil Sander are peculiar for their shape and fit.
You can just figure this out by looking at the two pictures I just posted: they are comfortable in the fitting, like a pair of tailored trousers cut at the knees. So they are ideal to all of us out there who hate the “too stretchy, too tight” feeling of many trousers from the past three seasons...
And to strengthen the concept, here you have another look made of an electric blue double breasted jacket and dark grey shorts.
I also picked up a look I just liked because of the way the colour is simply put together: it is the deep blue total look made up by a nice T-shirt on top of a white shirt (always with short sleeves, of course) and same colour trousers.
What I thought slightly unbearable (and for this, unwearable) were a couple of psychedelic T-shirts and shirts (you see a representation of this on the last pictures, but there were another couple in different colours not worth mentioning...) which seemed to disturb the whole clean look which is typical of Jil Sander.
My morning continued with Ermenegildo Zegna.
Now, many of you know this brand as one of the best tailored suits-maker in the whole planet. And indeed, Ermenegildo Zegna still means this: quality in fabrics and cutting, simple and neutral fit which accommodates to different body shapes.
More recently, the company has developed a special concept in relations to silk (indeed called ZegnaSilk project) which was shown off in the collection of this SS13 through different colours and textures, so that this fabric is present in almost every look.
Now, the good point of this show was that there were a lot of Tobacco colour looks, which is not only one of my favourite colours, but also a colour I think should be constantly present in any male wardrobe, just for those occasions that require to be elegant but not too much, so that is not worth wearing a black or grey suit.
So, the first look I selected is a Tobacco suit, all made in silk.
Some of you may be quite sceptical in wearing brown silk items in summer (indeed, myself too, and in my case I would just opt either for the jacket or the trousers only), but I just wanted to give you an insight on how the overall colour might look on you. Just please ignore for these purposes the polo shirt that is under the jacket, and just try to substitute it with a white shirt, possibly long sleeved, so that the silk will not become suddenly wet because of the normal sweating we all have during summers.
Can you figure that out? Doesn’t it look nice now?
The other two looks I have selected follow below.
One is an amazing black leather jacket with two tobacco brown panels inserted in front. I just find this item quite appealing and definitively able to attract the attention (and the envy) of other fellow fashionistas.
The other look is a light and fresh look made of long sleeved transpiring vanilla polo shirt paired up with slim look trousers. Very summerish, simple and not too overstated.
What made me scream “NO WAY” were instead a couple of bananas and mangoes prints on silk (such as the one on the trousers of the look I have just selected). I
f you disagree with me, I kindly ask you to refrain reading any further: fruit prints on men’s trousers or shirts is not what I will ever define as fashionable. And so should not you...
After a quick look at Ballantyne’s presentation (and related lunch - thank you very much guys for feeding me with some nice food... and especially for providing me some water in this very hot day), here I am in via Tortona, 58 (one of the new streets in Milan devoted to the new Fashion Rectangular district of this town) to attend the always-surprising Costume National fashion show.
Now, don’t be fooled by the “foreign” name: Costume National is an Italian-based company whose main founder, Ennio Capasa, keeps reinvigorating with Menswear mainly designed for a passionate niche devoted to nice and clean cut and to wear something almost anonymous (but still quite sartorial) that does not scream out the name of the brand.
Something we can call subtle, but still elegant and particular.
Main devotees of the brand have been Brad Pitt and George Clooney in the past.
Just to give you an idea of a typical Costume National look, check out the two looks I have selected here for you.
The first one is a nice grey ensemble of a nicely cut suit (please note the fitting jacket and the cigarette shaped trousers, still anyway comfortable at the thighs) over a nice same-coloured T-shirt with large and floppy front panels who drop down from the shoulders . The T-shirt in particular is a further development of some peculiar Japanese T-shirts designs of a couple of years ago, which tend still to be very actual (and in particular perfect if you do not have a perfect “belly” to expose under a very fitted T-shirt).
The second look is a more typical and seasonless Costume National look: you can recognise that from the different layers that constitute it. A light jacket, a gilet, a white shirt, a pair of trousers, all well assembled together.
You see: a quite neat and defined look, very down to earth.
Nothing excessive here.
I have also added another example of “shorts-based” look, which can provide you with another idea of an alternative and always clean way of wearing this “omnipresent” item for SS13.
Lastly, I have also picked up what I thought was a look to avoid, even partly. What I think it is a big NO is always striped pants (such as the ones in the final picture), which will always make you look you just want out straight from your bed, wearing your pyjama, no matter what you wear as a top.
Dolce & Gabbana
And there, here they come: the other big names of today.
The first one is Dolce&Gabbana.
I am pretty sure many (if not all) are quite familiar with this brand.
It’s been out more than twenty years now, and they have redefined the way men dress, in particular in relation to the concept of being sexy and elegant at the same time.
But please, do not mix up the looks here with what used to be the simple and more casual D&G line: that collection is now dead (it died a couple of seasons ago). And in order not to make any further confusion in all the customers interested in the brand, what you can find (only and exclusively) these days is the main line Dolce&Gabbana, for both menswear and womenswear.
And don’t even ask about D&G anymore in any store you go: they will simply laugh at you, thinking you are not a real customer of the brand.
In any case, Dolce&Gabbana (first and now only) line has always maintained a particular attention to Menswear.
This is also clear from the fact they showed about 85 different looks (yes, guys, 85!!) during their latest show today.
The main concept and strategy of the brand has been to involve and devolve the concept of “Sicialinity” in the world. Meaning, to propose re-elaborated and sophisticated sartorial items taken from the traditions in Sicily, which you might all know as the furthest southern island of Italy (from where one of the two designers, Dolce, originally comes from). Traditions not only related to the way men dress like in Sicily, but also to their cultural and religious behaviour.
This latest collection was indeed the “epitome” of this Sicilian idea of life, and this time around the show included “normal” Sicilian people modelling the clothes of the brand on the catwalk.
So, in order to make justice for the great amount of items shown in this collection, I have selected six defining and three NO way looks who can give you an idea of the main spirit of this collection.
The first one is an ensemble of white T-shirt and horizontal brown and black stripes, interrupted by white ones. Please note: horizontal stripes for shorts are fine like this, especially because they are irregular in the way they are allocated one to each other. Also I thought the T-shirt was really “sailor” type with some kind of Sicilian character, so a nice composite with the brown shorts.
The second look I have selected is a white and brown striped T-shirt (always note the peculiarity of the short sleeves in these items from the designers) paired up with some grey shorts and same colour sandals. Some kind of elegant fisherman look, which is never too overstated in Dolce&Gabbana collections.
So, remember, if you have to go fisherman, please go Dolce&Gabbana: you won’t go wrong.
Then here comes the third look I have chosen: a typical Dolce&Gabbana suit.
Well fitted at the shoulders and at waist, wide trousers at the legs, going slightly tighter around the calves. Also note the peculiarity of the white shirt’s collar, which seems to be a strong leitmotiv of this collection, and which was present in other looks of the catwalk.
Finally, the idea of prints from the designer duo is nice if it is put together (and in particular, if the print is not too fruity, but kind of symmetrical) like the fourth look I have chosen.
While it is NOT OK if you look like at examples of other prints (on a jacket and on shirts) like the next three looks I have picked up.
You know you are going wrong if your printed shirt or jacket (the latter an item that I always kindly suggest not to dare wearing if printed) is too orange, or yellow, or the printed motives are too baroque.
At last, two final looks on general Dolce&Gabbana looks, based on grey colour (a way to be elegant and casual at the same time next summer): one is the combination of grey shorts and a nice grey buttoned-up cardigan, while the second one is a nice grey cardigan with collar flaps that fall gently on the chest.
And, always, paired up with shorts...
Following just after this show, here there was Burberry Prorsum SS13 collection.
Many of my friends asked me: Why Burberry, an English heritage brand, is showing its men’s collections in Milan and not in London?
I know this sounds a quite logical question to ask, and possibly the answer was pretty straight forward, before the set up of the London Collections: Men this year.
Well, all fashion brands, no matter where they come from, they tend to show their collections either in Milan or in Paris because of the presence of buyers and press in those cities at that exact time. Being so important to be covered and to sell the collections to the same kind of customers (which all these luxury brands share), it is easier to show the Men’s collections all in the same city at the same time, so that the discomfort of moving around for buyers and press is limited to the internal city transfers.
I will go more in detail on this on one of the further posts in this blog: for now, just keep in mind this is usually a commercial and economically convenient choice for the brands, which directly reflect (and is greatly appreciated also) on the budgets of buyers and press.
Anyway, for our purposes now, let’s explore the collection from Burberry for this SS13.
Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s creative director, presented a controversial collection this time around.
Lately (meaning in the last five-six years), Burberry has been able to show classic looks (such as trench coats and tailored suits) with some corny and intriguing elements, that made the brand recognisable as pure English style.
Unfortunately, this SS13 collection did not show many re-elaborations of those classic looks (except for some tailored suits with single and double breasted jackets, which I have selected as two looks below to remember from this collection) and the usual nice trench coats that are part of a proper Burberry show were missing.
But there was a very nice wide opened collar jumper (which I selected as opening of this post here) which I found very fashionable and worth of consideration (and definitively a piece that screams out Burberry in good terms).
There were too many fluorescent colours unfortunately, which may like or not (check out the plastic short sleeved shirt in the first NO WAY look I have chosen) and some strange prints that seemed to be a bit too old-fashioned (such as the last two looks I have picked up for this selection as the NO WAY looks).
After Burberry, a quick run to see John Varvatos’ fashion show.
John Varvatos is an America designer, whose looks are always inspired by rock artists and rock culture.
For this collection, the inspiration was David Bowie.
So, always check out on John Varvatos if you feel you need a rockie look or something edgy and, let’s say, musically connected.
I have chosen two looks from this show (one white and one military green), mainly driven by the particular jackets in them. I was fascinated by the button opening on both these pieces, and the way they were creating a normal look (a suit) a bit edgier and not too serious.
What I did not like at all, was instead the striped look... Yes, guys, here it was: another pyjama for your hot nights, after a rock concert, probably... Or NOT...
Neil Barrett show came after.
Another Englishman showing his collections in Milan.
Neil Barrett became famous for his clean and neat looks. Quite simple sometimes, but attractive in the way they combine shapes and cuts in a same total look.
Check out, as an example, the two looks I have picked up.
The first one, a black and fitted jacket with a nicely and symmetrically composition of stitched rectangular and other geometrical shape in the front and with outstanding white sleeves, perfectly paired up with a black bag pack.
The second one, always in black, it is a composition of wide shorts, wide T-shirt and a nice and simple black outerwear piece.
Also, I found particularly attractive the brown colour effect on the shorts of the third look you can see: an elegant way of combining a brown outfit and a beige top.
Finally, the look I thought did not deserve any attention (and possibly was quite out of connection with the rest of the show) was another striped pyjama with shorts, which anyone of us, I am sure, would be quite scared to wear on a warm night to go and have a drink in town with friends.
And then, at last, it was Versace.
Now, you must be familiar with Versace name.
A family business founded by Gianni Versace back in 1978, whose creative direction was then inherited by Donatella (Gianni’s sister) when the founder was killed in Miami in 1998.
I will soon write a post on the long and intriguing story of the Versace brand, in particular on the up and downs the company had since Gianni’s premature death.
What you should remember now, it is that a Versace customer is NOT every customer.
Versace represents the heritage of neo-classical details reshaped and adapted to funky colours and rich ornaments, that is not the cup of tea of many male customers, since it does not reflect (in general) the classic business man look you might have in mind.
So, remember: if you go for Versace, don’t expect to find nice classic suits or white shirts, or even (and this is actually the main important) looks and items that WOULD NOT attract everyone’s attention when you wear them.
You look at Versace, actually if you want to make a “considerate” appearance and you want to break the rules.With this spirit, you can definitely find some Versace pieces for you.Look at the looks I have selected here just to give you an idea, which I found as the most wearable (in case...) by a male customer who still wants to make his own statement without looking too weird.Let’s start from some “easy” pieces, that each one of us could find attractive and worth the expenditure.
My first look is this combo of swimwear (with the classical signature of Versace on the edges) and silk robe, in black and gold. Forget about the big belt on top of it, which suggests anyway a quite masculine concept as the one of a gladiator of nowadays. And maybe look at the sandals, which are quite something different if you want to go extravagant and be noticed on the beach. This is a classic Versace look.
As it is the second one I picked up. The shiny copper coloured combo of a zipped jacket and foil trousers, with a white T-shirt embossing typical Versace’s signatures.
Now, just above I was quite critical of Burberry’s use of shiny and electrical colours and foil items, the same cannot be said for Versace. As I told you, when you look at Versace, you have to be prepared on what to expect...
But let’s focus on the two most commercial looks I have seen in this show.
The first one is a nice tailored suit (indeed, there were a couple...) with some shiny foil details (in this case, a brown tie and some brown shoes) which looked edgy and elegant at the same time, without falling in the boring formal look you might want to avoid.
The second one is a more casual look, light turquoise, where I found the outerwear piece (with nice and “masculine” bellow pockets in front) and the double collared polo shirt, a nice ensemble to consider, especially if broken by a simple light brown leather belt.
Don’t you think?
Something you will definitely try to forget from this collection (as I am still trying to do) are the two last looks I have chosen here.
A very bad apposition of green and light turquoise coloured items (simply too disturbing to put together... I mean: mentally disturbing...) and a floral print on a jacket and on trousers that will attract the look of people around you not for the good reasons...