This is the city of suited-up swagger, where masculinity reigns supreme and every look is about structure and sharpness. In Milan you can expect to see strong a sartorial vein in men's fashion where the nipped in waists of tailored jackets is the only feminine thing for miles. But at this weekend's Men's Fashion Week AW15 there was something more loose, floaty and well, even feminine on display...
This was most notable at Gucci, where the recently departed Frida Giannini's collection was completely redesigned in less than a week. What was clear from the first models was that this was a game-changing collection. Titled 'Urban Romanticism' the collection mixed strong elements of womenswear with younger, more metrosexual menswear. With its lace tops, flourishing silk bows, fur slippers ands loose, low-slung trousers, the collection was combination of 1970s liberalism and pre-Raphaelite romanticism.
Vivienne Westwood may be the undisputed Queen of the British catwalk, but it came as surprise to those in the audience to see Prince Charles' face emblazoned across the notes. "We have adopted Prince Charles as patron of our collection" wrote Westwood. The collection was partly inspired by the British heir's fondness for the bespoke tailoring of Saville Row. This was paired with Westwood's history of anti-establishment politics and climate change awareness campaigns. Models were dolled up with glittery bruises and the tweed and houndstooth was eccentrically battered and mismatched.
Elsewhere, Westwood printed images of the Queen and sterling notes across bags and accessories. Every piece could be worn countless times and the more you mend it, the more Westwood it becomes. The 'buy less, wear more' message was loud and clear.
Anyone who thought we were on the verge of leaving the grungy nineties trend behind will be more than surprised by it's grown-up evolution at Trussardi. Gaia Trussardi took her inspiration from an unknown photograph of Kurt Cobain and was struck by the singer's melancholia and fragility. Oversized shearling coats, woollen trousers in dark green, brown olive and mustard hinted at a young but opulent mood. Heavy norm-core style coats and jackets were the order of the day with a mix of wool, leather and fur adding to the Scandinavian-cool vibe the collection was striving for.
The louche aesthetics that we saw in the September shows was clearly still a big player for men's FW collections. The usual buttoned-up, sartorial slices were still present, but this time there was a certain hippy, floaty simplicity, that will certainly appeal to the less starchy dresser.
At John Richmond there were clear echoes of Mick Jagger's confidant flouncy appeal. A shrunken silhouette, designed to show off one's bright socks and glossy brogues. The collection retained its musty, dingy colours but in a more grown-up way in comparison to his rock 'n' roll pieces of years gone by. Richmond also didn't forget the feminine touch: graphic patterns, and elaborate embroidery added a sense of cool to an otherwise fairly conservative ensemble.
The air conservatism, be it an extravagant one was echoed by Versace's entire runway: tight fitting suits, muted colours, reams of cashmere, leather and mink. Gone are the days over Donatella Versace sending nearly, naked muscular men down the runway, this season it was all about the clothes. The sporty, puffball jackets looked wearable and easy going and the suits were louche, comfy and luxurious. Only the white leggings were hard to imagine on anyone.
Other fashion houses chose an era to throwback to like Miucchia Prada who used this runway to explore genders and how they compliment and represent each other. As such, Sunday night's show featured both men and women's AW15: starchy black nylon, boxy shirts and jackets with regulation creases and heavy, stompy shoes. The military inspiration was clear; only two knitwear pieces were feature, both inspired by sailors. The coats also lacked any lining or sartorial influence in comparison the heavy styles favoured by other brands. This gave an even more strict and serious touch to the collection; the black, blue and greys add a touch of class when paralleled with the slouchy relaxed others.
The laidback shores of Lake Como were brought to Milan at Kean Etro's Monday show. Having employed an army of Como-based artists to create his designs, the models were adorned in jackets of murky greens, browns with a ripple of bright yellow or red to contrast. Anyone who saw the women's show in September would know that the 70s were made for Etro to recapture, and everything from the music, the dusky colours and models hair reflected this. If there was one label to perfectly capture the soft, romantic vein of this season, Etro was it.
The military aesthetic, and paratroopers in particular, continued through Moncler Gamme Bleu, with four clusters of identically clad models sporting down jackets, goggles and skullcaps. Once the lights went down and up again, the models had changed, sporting jodhpurs and jockey colours. The image was reinforced by the harlequin stripes, checks and monochrome flashes over shirts and jackets. A collection like no other, and, despite its outlandishness, seems equally simple to reproduce and something most men will find appealing next autumn.
Masculinity still reigns supreme in the sartorial city, but the warm breath of fresh air added a waifish appeal to the otherwise straight-laced collections.