On With The Milan Show: Boys’ Bits & More
When it comes to matters of fashion erogenous zones, the ankle seems to be high on Milan’s agenda – both on and off the catwalk. A man can’t even make it down a Via or Piazza, past a security guard or PR without flashing them. Then only to sit down show-side and see somebody else trot on by with a very similar idea: cropped trousers are in. We clocked them at Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, and Neil Barrett, whose Seventies-Nineties casual-cool approach was best. Guys, the heyday of the jaunty coloured sock is over (again, both on and off the catwalk). Instead, it’s time to let the air kiss those ankle bones.
Jil Sander menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Milan, by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION
It’s also time to bring back the man bag. Seen at Sander, Marni, held in a scrunched fashion like it was your lunch bag, and then again at Dolce & Gabbana as a mini swag bag (the overall theme going on here was Bugsy Malone-gangster-jazz vibes, for context), and at Versace. Arm yourself with something you can hold laissez-fair style in your hand, that’s what you must do for Spring/Summer 2017.
Marni menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Milan, by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION
But it’s a season shaping up to be about bits: accessories – see above – and fashion accoutrements, for all the additional little constructions that featured at Marni to make it a collection of pronounced shapes in a warped Fifties American workwar colour palette. So there were slashes at the back of coats and shirts so collars and lapels sat stiff and away from the body. It was like someone had come and tugged at what you were wearing, pulled it out of shape and into a new one. There were belts that restrained the torso, too. Overall, there was that similar calmness that we had at Jil Sander earlier in the day – Sander, of course, is the Margaret Howell of Milan menswear.
The Show’s The Thing
If we were in any doubt as to whether or not the show was a thing of the past, just look to Milan where clearly it isn’t. At all. Day one and we already had an ode to the jazz days of Bugsy Malone at Dolce & Gabbana complete with tap dancing, pineapple lighting as though from a speakeasy, more gold glitter than you thought possible, champagne spilling, and guys in everything from sequin tuxedos with boxy and pronounced sleeves to loose pyjama suiting and bombers with baker boy caps to cover the spectrum of 1930s gangster-jazz life. The only thing it was missing was “jazz hands,” but then we might have just blinked and missed those. It’s entirely possible. This was a big old show, alright, which meant the collection in some ways took a backseat. And it was one that potentially got usurped later in the day by Versace, in terms of size, anyhow.
A stadium that looked like a Versace spaceship had landed was the first clue. Independence Day seemingly come to life. Inside, a collaborative film with Bruce Weber played out across an enormous (don’t underestimate my use of this word here) screen and models looked like ants as they then took to the runway, again walking in formation to give something of an overall pulsating show experience. Prince blasted out to a wonderful medley and a utilitarian collection full of billowing cagoule coats, biker jackets, knitwear tied around waists, and later cycling shorts, paraded out. Just like the womenswear show had been, it all had a fresh energy, a new kind of high octane va va voom. Whatever is inspiring Donatella right now, it’s working. This new Versace attitude is mesmerising.
Les Hommes menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Milan, by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION
Rounding Things Off
Requiring a certain amount of attitude to pull off is Les Hommes – studded gladiator sandals, mesh semi-suiting, and tribal jewellery, the collection took its inspiration from the Spanish conquistadors and Mayan decorations. Up front, but this wasn’t perhaps as clear as what could be considered Milan’s answer to London’s streetwear, which is what, on a first glance, it is easy to draw comparisons with.
Neil Barrett menswear Spring/Summer 2017 show, Milan, by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION
Ending the day came Neil Barrett, the master of precision, of calm, and of getting it just right, a Goldilocks analogy somewhere feeling all too appropriate. He mined a preppy Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties sports-casual wardrobe for gorgeous chevron-emblazoned leather and suede jackets and then biker trousers (these, the culprit of the crop!). It was a beautiful collection with plenty of direct wardrobe appeal and had a sort of aspirational sophistication and serenity written all over it (plus girls will want a serious look in too). Catwalk-wise, it could have done with an edit: we liked the point, but we also got the point.
And so to day two.