Milan menswear designers look to past and future in autumn/winter collections

Gucci references 1970s looks and childhood themes, Armani uses new bonding technique for futuristic look, while Fendi weaves emojis into its designs for Milan men’s fashion week

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2016, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2016, 4:38pm

Milan designers looked both to the future and the past to create contemporary looks for men next autumn and winter.

The fashion world continued its heartfelt tributes to David Bowie, celebrated as an icon in the music, art and fashion worlds alike, the remembrances touching in their understated persistence. Giorgio Armani opened his Emporio Armani show with notes from the singer’s Space Oddity, while Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele created a jacket with “Bowie” printed boldly on the back that he said he intends to include in a film for the autumn/winter 2016-17 collection.

Michele created a dreamlike backdrop to unpack a chest full of 1970s memories for his latest Gucci menswear collection. The looks were presented under a reddish light in the freshly red-carpeted, disused train depot that the designer, now in his second year at Gucci, has claimed as his theatre.

“These are my aesthetic memories that in the end are completely different from yours, but it’s an idea to work after,” Michele said backstage after his menswear preview.

His memories speak of a happy boyhood, with a Sherlock Holmes-style detective cape and cap, this one with crocheted ear covers; Snoopy and Woodstock motifs on T-shirts, a theme that he elaborated later into a Charlie Brown sweater, and a crinkly Western cowboy shirt with bootleg jeans.

But the boyhood lens also picked up on the adult world, and there was floral tapestry that became jackets and suits, and cosy pyjamas with floral embroidery. Each memory was also elaborated: colourful totems were applied to the back of floral jackets; knitted hats had whimsical ears or fantastical monster faces; detective capes came in striking red, rich fur and classic plaid.

Michele also reinterpreted classic 1970s Gucci. A golden handbag was realised with glittery Gucci red-and-green stripes. The Gucci trench was white, worn with a dramatic red hat.

“I love the idea that there is an energy in every single thing you do, and every single piece that you put on the clothes. Everything is very precious,” Michele said.

The Emporio Armani man is urban and sleek, able to move easily in his metropolitan environment. He has a well-defined geometry, but also fluidness. There is no excess, just the essential.

Giorgio Armani used new technology to bond materials for his line aimed at more youthful dressers, creating new forms and a futuristic feel. More formal double-breasted jackets were worn with fluid pleated trousers, while bonded denim trousers were wide and stiff, paired with a matching jacket for an almost robotic effect. A shawl jacket had a casual diagonal zipper worn with athletically cut trousers.

The designer adorned trouser legs with laser-cut squares and shirts with clusters of triangles, creating emblems that wouldn’t be out of place on a space shuttle.

The colour scheme was likewise regimented, stone greys, forest green and deep blue, with fabrics sometimes taking on the speckled effect of granite, or a repeating Escher geometrical pattern in a print. There was just one flash of colour, a teal blue and magenta tie. Shoes were thick-soled, while bags were pragmatic large backpacks and shoppers.

Ermanno Scervino’s collection for next winter takes a trajectory from sporty to elegance, not only in the looks but the artistic method.

Scervino built on his expertise with lace to create elegant, dressy jackets out of embroidery, weaving strands of thread together as if macramé to create swirls of movement with an Astrakhan effect. The three-quarter length sleeves were finished in fur.

What’s more, the jacket is equally fetching on a woman as a man, as Scervino demonstrated by sending both down the catwalk together.

The designer took glam to new heights with crystal-encrusted fabric, which he fashioned into knee-length jackets, trousers and a side-wrap dress.

Life is pretty plush at Fendi, with a model gliding down the carpeted spiral staircase in a soft plaid overcoat-cum-day robe with matching trousers to the soothing tones of soul music. Think of Jack Nicholson playing golf in his robe, one of the references on Silvia Venturini Fendi’s mood board backstage.

Fendi’s looks for next winter were all about soft, cosy comfort, right down to the pleasantly lush accessories: a parka with yellow fur trim was paired with a large yellow, furry bag.

Plaids and checks on jackets, trousers and bags created a homey feel, and Fendi boldly paired mohair jackets with matching trouseers for a definite Fozzie Bear feel. The look got even more cosy with a bell-shaped hat.

Fendi emblazoned T-shirts, jackets and accessories with a text bubble with Fendi inside, as the brand latches on to the digital conversation. And the designer also created her own emojis, otherwise known as Fendi Faces, by positioning, for example, downcast eyes over a bag’s latch standing in as the mouth. One leather jacket cleverly placed eyes on each elbow, giving a wink to whoever is walking behind the wearer.

The attention to detail and luxury were clearly evident in a shearling coat with a check pattern created with the same inlaid leather techniques perfected by the fashion house.

Andrea Pompilio tamed the prints for his Canali capsule collection with dark hues: teal and dark navy check achieved a new tonality.

“It makes the darkness colourful,” Pompilio said backstage after his preview show.

Contrast came from the colourful shirts and printed ties, in mustard, rust and chartreuse.

“I like when you have this very formal look to give something to light up all the looks,” he said.

An anorak of soft double-faced fabric with a removable shearling lining was the statement piece, worn over a jacket and colour-blast shirt and tie.

He finished the looks with driving leather gloves with knitted cuffs.