Wonderland.

7 Wonders: Milan Mens Fashion Week SS17

As the fashion week mayhem moves on to the French capital, let’s recap what’s in store for Spring/Summer 17 according to Milan.

Italian fashion is synonymous with opulent luxury rendered in colours of the rainbow, heavily embellished, often outrageous, loud and fabulous. But when the boys come to town, the fun seems to amp up even more. Milan was a non-stop five-day-long party that gave us some really great moments and even greater clothes everyone will be queuing up for come next spring. So let’s take a look at the wonderful moments in the next instalment of Seven Wonders, Milan style.

DSQUARED2

Dean and Dan Caten stole the show in Milan. Pure and simple. The clothes were anything but, though, as we have come to expect from the duo. While the usual shredded and heavily embellished denim, metallics and leathers walked down the runway in all their glory, show-stopping in their own right, this season, it was the towering, six inch, glittery platform boots donned by all the models that were the talk on everyone’s lips. Bravely, the guys made it up and down the runway without any disasters, which made the whole footwear situation even more impressive. And when the Caten twins stepped out to take their bow in the same skyscrapers of shoes, climbing all the way to their things and shimmering in the spotlight, it was possibly one of the best bows ever. Joking that the shoes were a necessity considering the designers’ height, they had a more poignant and serious role to play. Showing their S/S 17 offering on the first day of Milan Menswear Fashion Week, only a few days after the heartbreaking Orlando shootings, the heels and the rainbow sashes floating around their necks, shouted out loud to the world that they are standing tall and proud in support of the LGBTQ community. Emotions were running high.

When the eyes stopped getting distracted by the sparkling, multicoloured feet, finally focusing on the clothes, they were in for a treat too. Inspired by punks, skinheads, rock’n’roll and even disco dudes, a myriad of parkas and bomber jackets were the key pieces of the show, coming in denim covered with custom made Caten brothers sport patches, camo, leather and satin with a floral print. There was even a sequin number. Their allure actually made up for the lack of exposed, muscly torsos which have become a fix on the pair’s runway. While beaten up denim also made an appearance, most of the DSquared2 guys got a new polished look for S/S 17 courtesy of a pair of tailored trousers. While you might have to ditch the platforms if you want to get anywhere fast and with all limbs intact, the S/S 17 collection had something for everyone. Start making a wishlist.

Gucci

Is there anyone who does not want the entire Gucci collection to be hanging in their closets right now? Or at least wishes their boyfriend owned it so you can steal your favourite pieces? Seriously, it seems that Alessandro Michele can do no wrong. Whatever he puts out on the runway is an instant hit, an instant dream piece, and also, sadly, instantly copied and churned out to all the high street stores. But maybe that just goes to show how desirable the new Gucci actually is. Because when Michele makes Donald the Duck cool again, who could resist? Apart from Donald, Japanese kimonos, Louis XVI trousers complete with white stockings, schoolboy uniform jackets, Chinese dragons and rain hats are apparently all the rage now. Or will be come next spring. And it’s oh so fun! Michele embraces the joy fashion brings, celebrates the childhood desire of putting on all your favourite clothes at once and walking out of the house feeling on top of the world, but somehow still looking so, so chic. Patterned tights with sport socks plus a traditional Chinese shirt and shorts ensemble? Check. Mustard yellow, baby pink and lime green trimmed purple jacket? Why not? Or an all-over zebra print? Yes please!

Michele’s rise has been stratospheric. Since taking up the helm at Gucci in February 2015, he has been unstoppable, the fashion pack falling head over heels for him and his designs. As soon as you think he could not be more desirable, he announces the next phase of his DIY customisation service at the S/S 17 menswear show. And that is the charm of the new Gucci. The constant dialogue between the house and the individual, the luxury of feeling special, important and valued, the freedom of expression allowed through the garments and the celebration of unique character. His work is playful, liberating and somewhat extravagant, allowing the customer to create their own little fantasy within the Gucci house. It’s all about exploring and being confident. Most importantly, however, it is inspiring. And isn’t that what we really want from our designers?

Prada

This season, the Prada kids are on a quest. A treasure hunt where S/S 17 shoes, handbags, pencil cases, wallets and other trophies were up for grabs, proudly displayed strapped to huge hiking backpacks. In contrast to last season’s history lesson, Spring/Summer 17 is looking to be a time of the future trailblazer. Complete with a high-tech, sci-fi looking set, Miuccia is clearly looking forward, to a season where Prada comes out of its financial slump, gains new ground and conquers new peaks. Showcasing a predominantly sporty collection, the brand is reaching new territories of potential expansion, appealing to previously untouched customer bases. While travel is still a major theme for Prada, it is not the time travel of A/W 16 anymore, but instead actual world travel, exploring new places, markets and forms. This idea was spelled out in the lighthearted illustrated prints of elephants, buddhas, pineapples and palm trees, which adorned shirts and a nylon jacket-cum-dress. Nylon was definitely a star of the show, cut into rain-macs,vests, drawstring trousers and shorts, rendered in bright, shiny yellows, blues and silvers. Mrs Prada sheds light on a lot of things. But who would have thought she’d make everyone realise that hiking could actually be a lot of fun?

As always, however, there is a more serious message in Prada’s latest offering. As models strode down the catwalk with all their possessions, in suits accompanied by waterproofs and torchlights, tailored trousers tucked into hiking socks and sandals (yes, the dreaded uniform of many a tourist is actually chic now), shirts teamed up with long-johns, spare clothes and stilettos spilling out of handbags carried by the female models in silk cocktail dresses and multicoloured sunhats, there was a sense of displacement and uncertainty, with the models being ready for all possible scenarios on their travels. Whether a comment on the global political sphere, the difficulties facing young adults today, or a statement about our society being constantly on the move and in a hurry, is up for a debate, one that we probably won’t know the answer to. Whatever it is, Miuccia Prada seems to be optimistic that we are ready to tackle what’s coming our way.

Vivienne Westwood

Julian Assange is an unlikely inspiration for a fashion show, but that is not a reason to stop Dame Vivienne Westwood from basing her S/S 17 menswear collection on the Wikileaks dissident. Coinciding with the beginning of Assange’s fifth year in a self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Westwood did not hold back with letting everyone know exactly what she thought about the situation. Backstage, models sported shredded tops scribbled with “Free Assange” over a picture of his cat (whose Instagram account boasts over 1700 followers), a two minute video of the Dame herself opened the show, pleading directly with the Prime Minister to release the ‘innocent’ man from his banishment, ending the latest menswear show by taking a bow in a t-shirt proclaiming “I am Julian Assange”. A bit off the cuff, a bit questionable, but that’s what we’ve come to expect of the queen of punk.

What was perhaps a bit unexpected, although with Westwood the lines are usually blurred between the feminine and the masculine, for S/S 17, skirts and dresses were hanging off almost all the models’ bodies, totally doing away with any gender differences. While this obviously has very current connotations, if we were to hark it back to the overarching inspiration of the collection, the make, do and mend vibe of the clothes spoke about living in exile: tattered bits of knitwear hanging across shoulders, toga-style dresses draped over bodies secured with string, bulky, older brother suit jackets and ‘arm warmers.’ That at least was the first part of the collection, complete with IOU painted on sweaters, vests and t-shirts, implying the power of states over the individual, Assange in particular. Toward the second half, things got a bit more summery, flowing and printed with Hawaiian flowers, undoubtedly corresponding to Westwood’s declaration that Assange needs some sun. This lighter mood maintained a subversive note, however, as models walked down with the eye of the Big Brother painted on their faces. This is what Vivienne does best. Her provocative and, frankly, a bit bonkers shows and themes are a highlight for most, when you add in a cute kitten as a backdrop, it could not be anything but a winner.

Giorgio Armani

Anyone whose ideal night in is watching America’s Next Top Model was in for a fun surprise at the Giorgio Armani S/S 17 show. The winner of Cycle 22 (yes, there are that many now!), Nyle DiMarco, the super cute deaf model who beat the odds, appeared on the runway in most probably THE t-shirt of the season – donning larger-than-life portrait of Mr Armani himself. And as Instagram became saturated with this look, it put Nyle out of the TV show box and onto the real fashion world map. After the amazing success of Winnie Harlow, a fellow ANTM alumni, the future looks bright for the new arrival.And the light is still shining for the brand too. After forty years of being one of the best known names in fashion, this collection maintains his continued relevance and a move with the times. The designer shows he has a sense of humour, and you’d still go to him for the perfect suit as well as a more relaxed look, now even a parka or a bomber jacket. A true lifestyle brand that is here to stay.

Mr Armani’s success rests upon constant innovation, which must be damn hard after four decades in fashion with a huge amount of collections each year. But he’s super clever about it. While you can be certain you’d get suiting at one of his shows, this season, the trousers are wider, more confident and comfortable. They come patterned with geometric, graphic prints in a spectrum of blues and greys. On the feet, trainers and slip ons were the shoes of choice, through which a bit of colour was introduced into the show. It’s more casual Fridays at the office, but really, how many men still wear a tie to work? There’s definitely a sense of a man on the go, a man always ready to do whatever the situation requires, but one that still maintains his supreme style. He’s hip and cool whatever the age. Just like Giorgio Armani.

Dolce & Gabbana

Now D&G was a party and a half. Their usual living it up attitude reached new heights for Spring/Summer 17, courtesy of their own jazz club, complete with a live band and golden palm lanterns lining the runway, of course. It was a trip down memory lane worthy of a celebration, a reconstruction of the first time the design duo met in the early 80s, and a salute to the influence music has on fashion as well as their own lives. Music memorabilia was everywhere. Saxophones appeared on jackets and shirts, sparkly golden tuxedos and bow ties evoked the 50s music scene, animal print oversized jumpers, skinny jeans and kaftans were reminiscent of the musician as a free spirit, an exotic and untouchable idol of many, a hedonistic spirit. As the boys moved through the eras, boombox shaped suitcases, giant headphones, bomber jackets and hoodies took centre stage, while elsewhere, cassettes, electric guitars and words such as JAZZ, SWING and MAMBO were emblazoned onto jackets or rings. Shoes too abruptly changed eras and destinations, from flip flops and brogues to studded boots toughened up even more with badges hanging off the sides. It was a whirlwind of a runway, a lesson in recent music history, a Show with a capital S. While it is debatable how many men will be brave enough to sport an allover pineapple print or a 70s rockstar ensemble, there was still enough pieces for the slightly more subdued D&G customer. With almost 100 looks, it would be surprising if it was not so.

The clothes were not the only stars of the show, however. It’s enough if you check out Anna Dello Russo’s Instagram account and you’ll see all the new generation faces that stole the show, a certain Presley Gerber in particular. His debut on the runway sparked as much excitement as Cameron Dallas’ attendance at Calvin Klein last season. He was at Dolce and Gabbana too, of course, and partied the night away with Dello Russo, Vanessa Hudgens, Brandon Thomas Lee and Peter Brant. It was a night to remember, Domenico and Stefano showing us that they still know how it’s done.

Les Hommes

Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch of Les Hommes conjured up an army of modern warriors for their S/S 17 collection. Inspired by armour, shamans and South America, the collection was powerful and somewhat macho. But in a good way. Khaki green and black were predominant colours, further driving home the idea of battle and danger. Pierced lips, ears and bridges of noses made the guys look fierce, this was a clan not to be messed with. A welcome change after the many shows composed of sequins, bows and dresses, the collection was hard hitting — a bit of a reality check. Bulletproof vests, utility jackets and cargo trousers appeared on the runway, the models firmly on the ground, stomping around in gladiator sandals that looked like they could do a lot of damage. Suits were even paired with such footwear, perhaps a nod to the dangerous world we now live in. It’s good to know that if anything disastrous did truly happen, our boys would look super hot in this Les Hommes collection.

Here too was a sense of progression, from strictly military colours, large pockets and mesh, all in khaki, with a lot of handy straps, leather and studded bombers right in tow. But there was a shift, some white appeared and sweaters were embroidered with Central American patterns, alluding to some sort of a cohabitation between the two cultures, a common respect and benefit gained through collaboration. There will be a huge market for this collection. It is functional, high-tech and really, really good looking. Spring/Summer 17 will sure be exciting!

Words
Barbora Kozusnikova
7 Wonders: Milan Mens Fashion Week SS17

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