Milan men’s fashion week: highlights from Gucci, Armani and Fendi

Jared Leto takes front row for Gucci show, fingerprint motif stands out for Emporio Armani, while Fendi unveils dapper poolside collection

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 6:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 6:45pm

Streetwear trumped more formal looks during menswear previews for next spring and summer on the third day of Milan Fashion Week.

Many of the collections offered statement basics on which to build a wardrobe, including military, mariner and athletic looks that can be mixed and matched to create a personalised style. Well-defined suits were few and far between, and where there was office and evening wear, the fit was relaxed, befitting the season.

Just about everyone had big travel backpacks, suggesting summer journeys.

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With Calvin Klein between creative directors for both the men’s and women’s lines, the in-house team gave a presentation strong on denim and sportswear, including a V-neck sweater with grosgrain ribbon stripped detailing.

It’s a nerd’s world at Alessandro Michele’s Gucci. Michele continues his eccentric fashion journey for next summer’s menswear with floral suits, military detailing, nautical accents and pretty knits. This round, he has invited an old friend for a series of cameos: Donald Duck.

And just like in his Disney cartoon days, Donald Duck shows off his versatility, in sequins on the back of a washed leather bomber and printed incognito in an Asian pattern of a silk lacquered print.

The showroom was bathed in green and fitted with velvety verdant upholstery, with mist appearing from nowhere to create a sense of anywhere, or just plain here. Driving the collection is the notion of a journey, and Michele evoked the need for “open-mindedness and possibility” in his show notes.

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The snakes of recent seasons have morphed into dragons, appearing on the back of leather jackets and printed on silk pyjamas. The detailing was all a bit larger-than-life with big strap-on epaulettes over embroidered coats and studded fringe on an embellished leather jacket.

There was a busy-ness to the looks that commanded attention to the smallest detail. Lace stockings were shown off under pink flared pants or silken pyjama shorts, while sea monsters did battle on a suit print.

Michele embroidered random garments with the word “loved”, which goes without saying for the bold new-generation Gucci dresser.

Taking in the show from the front row was American actor Jared Leto, wearing an embroidered silk bomber jacket and acid bleached jeans.

Giorgio Armani’s imprint has always been on his collections, but for his Emporio Armani line, the designer made it even more explicit with a fingerprint motif.

The fingerprint recurs across the modular collection’s urban looks: printed white on a black T-shirt, embroidered in golden thread onto a big travel bag and woven into a jacquard blazer.

For Armani, the collection is an exercise in identity.

The looks alternate from sleek and modern, such as athletic pants with a textured 3-D effect jacket, with a focused palette of urban grey, black and blue to a more dandified mood with loose trousers with a diagonal button fly and trailing suspenders, topped with an off-skew brimmed hat. One bold combination featured red trousers worn with a bomber featuring a black-and-white swirling fingerprint close-up.

The collection is fitting of the streetwear mood permeating Milan this season. Jackets are soft, and optional, often carried and not worn, the expression of ease.

Armani described the collection as “a tense and sharp collection that stems from a reflection of today’s meaning of identity”.

Fendi goes poolside with Mad Men’s Don Draper during the Hollywood years for next summer’s looks.

The collection’s watchword is dapper, from the loose-fitting square jacket to the thick-striped pants and big pool/shopper bag with a colourful zigzag strap. Terry-cloth short sets and cover-ups harken to days when the summertime soundtrack included Walk On By, made famous by Dionne Warwick.

On the more contemporary side, there was a suit with three-dimensional prints worn with a matching shirt. Fendi’s man wears a flat pouch around the neck for necessities, from smart phones to festival passes.

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For the more flamboyant, there was a fluttering short green fur, to bring out one’s inner Liberace.

Chinese actor Jiang Jin Fu took in the collection from the front row. “I could feel the sun,” he said through a translator. Outside, Asian fans hopefully awaited an autograph.

While not everything in fashion is what it seems, the pool of water in the middle of the catwalk was indeed authentic, as one fashionista learned when he thought he was stepping onto a shiny fake.