In Florence, Milan, menswear hovers between asphalt and jungle
today Jun 19, 2019
Whether in the lavish gardens of Villa Palmieri, on the Fiesole hill overlooking Florence, home to the Givenchy show, or the Villa Reale royal park in the heart of Milan, the venue of Monday morning’s Fendi show, the Italian menswear week has returned to its glitz of old, with a yearning for summer, imagination and elegance.
A warm breeze blew through the Italian menswear week, whose latest edition kicked off in Florence on Monday June 11 with the Pitti Uomo event, and ended on Monday June 17 with the last day of catwalk shows in Milan. Both literally and figuratively, as temperatures soared, fuelling an irresistible urge for sun-drenched vacations. Milan in particular offered the best surprises, straying from the beaten path by staging shows in unexpected venues like the disused Falck steelworks for Ermenegildo Zegna, the park beneath the city’s ring road for Sunnei, or the underground for Palm Angels.
“The city of Milan was extremely supportive, enabling fashion labels to take over unusual venues. This generated a great deal of energy, in addition to the collections’ sheer quality. The fashion week also confirmed the promising growth of emerging labels like M1992, Magliano, Sunnei and Palm Angels, among others,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI, the Italian fashion chamber).
The same festive-chic mood was reflected in the collections, notably in the strong comeback of formal wear, though it is now infused with a more relaxed attitude, while sportswear is clearly on the wane, generally coming across as less sporty and more understated. Only a few dared to present sweaters, and those that did went the chic route, like Zegna with its leather sweatshirt.
Suit-and-tie looks were nearly ubiquitous, though garment construction has become less stifling, striking a perfect balance between comfort and elegance. Destructured jackets are the norm, often oversized and made in ultra-light, high-tech fabrics, matched to ample, comfortable trousers, slit at the ankle to ensure greater freedom of movement, occasionally offering a glimpse of underwear above the waist.
Jacket and trousers outfits come in basic monochrome hues, mostly in neutral, traditional colours like white, beige, grey, black, slate grey. Check suits with a slight retro feel are very popular, and so are those in beige cotton, sometimes sporting oversize shorts in colonial explorer style. In the same bourgeois-chic spirit, boat shoes are back, and so are slim pullovers draped over the shoulders, white socks and ties. Whether in a floral pattern or more formal colours, the way to wear the latter in summer 2020 is untied, a little loose.
However, summer 2020 isn’t without a nod to adventure, with mini man-bags worn across the shoulder, coveralls galore and military-style outfits with camo jackets and cargo trousers. Khaki is the predominant colour, often veering into gentleman-farmer hues. Lightly quilted gilets, ultra-lightweight windbreakers and raincoats, and hemstitched knitwear complete men’s casual wardrobe for next summer.
A wardrobe that is also heatwave-ready. Jackets are preferably worn over bare chests, trekking and safari hats come equipped with a protective veil over the back of the neck, while thinly-striped, light cotton shorts look like boxers.
Bathrobes and beach towels are always within reach, printed with patterns inspired by torrid tropical lands, with the jungle as leitmotif. Leopards, huge exotic flowers and parrots feature in bright colours on silk shirts, shorts and trouser sets, while the occasional blonde bombshell design pops up on some muscular chests, or printed on a shirt.
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