Impish, boyish looks are permeating the Milan menswear runway this season, and the mood seems to be a search for a simpler past.
Hooded parkas with contrasting colour panels, straight trousers, boxy jackets and slightly oversized knitwear bely a nostalgia for the 1970s — a time when, more than one designer has recalled, there was more social protest and less social pressure.
The Fendi runway was awash in optimism, and what could be more optimistic than a yellow and blue striped fur shopper?
“I want to be optimistic. I have children,” Silvia Venturini Fendi said backstage.
The collection was relentlessly upbeat. Mixed and matched fur accents on over coats, like leopard sleeves and striped collars, offered a sense of graphic hi-jinx, as did a red banner reading “Fantastic” up the side of a fur coat.
Fendi dotted the garments with uplifting and sometimes ironic messages, from “Love” on the front of head bands to “Bliss” on zipper pulls to “Hope” on the side of a bag and “Trust Fendi” on the front of a sweater.
Furry blue slippers read FEN on the right foot and DI on the left.
“For me it is not just a logo, it is a history,” the designer said.
The silhouette was very simple and sporty, filled with everyday attire mixed more formal pieces. Part of the indulgence was also in the colors, with pink for men, alongside coral, sky blue and yellow. Footwear had a substantial, futuristic feel, with Italian leather shoes with integrated socks, like high-tech soccer cleats.
Backstage, Korean popstar Taeyang greeted Fendi, who told him she couldn’t wait to see him on stage wearing pieces from the collection. Soon, he said.
THE BILLIONAIRE’S CLUB
What the gilded helicopter in the middle runway didn’t convey, the theme song to “Dallas” did.
The Billionaire brand founded by Italian businessman and former Formula One manager Flavio Briatore is relaunching under the creative direction of German designer Philipp Plein, who aims to make it the most exclusive men’s brand in the world.
Plein’s team scoured modeling agencies for gray bearded men to play oilmen in his billionaire fantasy.
They all wore cowboy hats, boots and tight pants, and walked with a knowing swagger. After that, they had their choice of leather jackets -- from short and sporty to long and showy in purple with a fur collar -- suede coats and tuxedo jackets.
“He is a genius,” Briatore said of the designer after Monday’s preview. “Luxury is a very important niche. It creates jobs.”
Briatore’s next date: The inauguration Friday of his friend, Donald Trump, as president of the United States. The Italian businessman said he leaves for Washington on Tuesday.
PROTEST REVIVAL FOR NO. 21
While some designers embrace social media, Alessandro Dell’Acqua is using the latest collection for the No. 21 brand to issue a reminder that there is more to life.
The Italian designer sought inspiration in the 1970s for a simpler approach to life, but also as an era when protest movements found their voice. Dell’Acqua is not alone in the fashion community for thinking such a moment is again upon us, as he considers the world’s political landscape.
“I was inspired by images of marches and demonstrations of the 1970s. I was interested in the freedom of that era. That protest movement, which was very important then, has been lost today,” Dell’Acqua said backstage.
Dressing, he said, was also more free-spirited.
He made that point with Nordic-style sweaters with the decorative trim left half finished, to underline that sometimes there are better things to do. He approached the collection through a free association. Pea coats closed with ribbons. Jackets mixed military camouflage patterns with more civilian stripes and checks, recalling the days when returning soldiers protested the Vietnam War.
Thick sweaters included panels from tailored shirts. Hoods underlined the youthful appeal.
“It is not that with this collection, I can change the world. But I think it is important that young people get the message and start to protest, and not just watch social networks,” the designer said.
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR ETRO
The Etro man is descending from a mountain after a long a mystical climb.
The fantastical collection shown Monday in Milan represented a transition into the spiritual world with rich velvety fabrics, deep meditative shades of purple, red and turquoise, and easy silhouettes from kimono coats to parachute pants to Highlander kilts.
The opening look was a rich printed velvet suit with an elongated jacket and loose trousers with elasticized ankles. It was finished off with eyewear that included a third lens for the inner eye.
The collection “is tied to the sacredness of nature and the dimensions of the mountains,” designer Keane Etro said backstage.
The Etro motif of the season included a series of bears, wolves and bucks with psychedelic floral antlers that appeared on backs, pockets and interior linings.
Technical hiking boots with colorful accents and hiking backpacks with small chanting bells completed the looks. The collection finished with models carrying a series of paisley printed skis and snowboards.