Giorgio Armani's Soft Embrace

The winter cold outside naturally puts human beings on the hunt for the comfort of soft and natural fabrics. Precious wools, shearlings and hi-tech performance items are the shells, in which, we long to nestle. Giorgio Armani's collection evoked this cosiness by making an ode to tactile feelings. Everything was light yet warm, the volumes were big but never bulky. “I thought about a men’s wardrobe that should be both touched and worn,” explained the designer backstage before the show. “Even if the look is oversized their texture is light and smooth. The finishings and the washings made their important part to make this possible.” So it’s, again, a matter of knowledge about how to work with textiles and constructions that makes the difference. His signature deconstructions, the shawl collars and the wrap-around coat, defined a cosy elegance. “The attitude could make a man very chic even if he is wearing a jacket and a tank top that show a beautiful neck and chest,” pointed out Armani. “The tie is not the only element that I consider synonyms of elegance, even if, of course, it's the most obvious and easy to use to be accepted. But actually we could do without.” The show unexpectedly opened with high-performance sophisticated sportswear in full black with velvet details in the same colour or white high tech materials, the ideal item for a grown-up man that wants to feel flawless on the most renowned ski slopes and cool enough to wear it in the city. The collection was very wintery and included beautiful long coats in many different model and textures (one among others the astrakhan lookalike wool) in the well renewed Armani palette. Touches of olive green and bordeaux were also protagonists. In particular, the three-piece suits with the mandarin collared jacket was an interesting alternative to the classic one, and the waistcoat itself was a key item of the collection (but also a trend of this Milanese fashion week). The finale reconnected with the beginning in total black: a series of models dressed in velvet evening looks stood in the middle of the catwalk. Armani went back to his winter classic and, overall, it looked sharp, as saying that in a confusing year, the best thing is to stick to what one knows best - heritage.

The obsession of a polished man that moves away from the chunkiness of the streetwear to embrace once again the key pieces of the tradition is pervading the Milan fashion days. “I started from the fabrics that went through the test of the time and resisted until today,” explained Silvia Venturini Fendi before the show. “To me the time it’s a key factor both for the style and the environment. In the design after the excesses of the inflamed quest of the random sportswear, I felt the need to slow down and go for something that reassures. For the environment side, we entered in a sick vortex of hyper-consumerism buying too many clothes and losing the sense of values. I want to bring this back and push young generations to understand the sense of craftsmanship and materials. So shopping should become mindful as a real investment for garments that last.” This new social evolution and climate change pushed people to rethink their way of dressing and convinced the designer from Rome to conceive modular pieces that transform garments in two or three different items using zippers. A coat can become a peacoat or a short jacket and the same technique is used for the sweaters that can be mounted and dismounted to be short and sleeveless or long with extended sleeves. “Also the duality of genders intrigued me a lot, so, instead of mixing men and women garments, I thought about items that could be exchanged: the long pants that embody both trousers and skirt are the perfect syntheses,” she explained. Fendi delivered a desirable collection, proposing a real fashion message mixed with items that could be easily worn everyday day - something which is often preached but rarely realised.

Urania was the muse of astronomy in Greek mythology, but it is also the name of the Italian science fiction book series created in 1952, one of the most enduring ones in Italy among this genre. Even if it would have been very charming in terms of inspirations, the series was, unfortunately, not the starting point of the collection. “I'm not very much into sci-fi, but the cover graphics of those books were very stylish and in a way you can find something of them too,” explained Fabio Quaranta in the backstage. “The name Urania is just the result of dropping some letter of my name and making an anagram.” So just the essential to express one concept, which is very welcomed these days when we see a lot of so-called collections that are only smoke in the eyes. Quaranta's presentation was precise and wearable, his effortless elegance is set between the utilitarian workwear and classic tailoring, but the new slant made the looks appear chic. “Elegance is something that it's not related to jacket and tie binomial,” clarified the designer. “It’s more a matter of attitude: you can be formal both with a classic suit and the worker jacket.” The peculiarity of Quaranta's work is a never-ending succession of single projects regardless of seasons and gender, a series of layers that get the final shape in the moment of the show.

British sportswear brand A-Cold-Wall was the guest designer of this edition of men's fashion week, thanks to the partnership that this season Camera Moda did with the British Fashion Council. Samuel Ross, the 28-year-old Brixton-born designer, launched his brand in 2015 as sportswear for men after a past as Virgil Abloh's assistant at Off-White and at Kanye West's Yeezy. The rise to coolness was very fast and now is part of Tomorrow, the London based fashion group. “It’s interesting to present my collection in Milan this season as I'm seeing a revamping of the formalwear,” said the designer. “For the first time I introduced a lot of tailoring, so I felt it more mature. When I started my brand I wanted it to be the renegade, the new anarchist, now it's changed and I feel I want to turn it into the new artisans, the intellectuals.” Actually, this hint of cerebral approach was very visible as it was balanced and sharp, the silhouette was narrow, slightly fluid and never too stiff. Jackets and coats were an interesting cut but with a clear youngster touch. The sporty looks were present as part of the brand's DNA and the gears didn't jar with the more formal part, everything was coherent. Even though every single item was nice and desirable and the overall collection was well styled, in its ensemble the show was a bit soulless. Sometimes precision doesn't mean coldness and, from the young heart of Samuel Ross, more energy and power is expected.

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