Pitti Uomo and Milan Fashion Week open the men's season with a "British" influence
Italy is kicking off the men's fashion marathon for autumn-winter 2023/24. Starting in Florence with Pitti Uomo, from January 10 to 13, then in Milan with Fashion Week from January 13 to 17. An intense week, characterised by the arrival of several young designers from across the Channel, and major returns to the Milanese calendar such as Gucci, Zegna and K-Way.
The benchmark fair for men's fashion announces 789 exhibitors, 311 of whom are from abroad (40%) and a series of events centred for the most part in the Fortress da Basso, where the event will be held, as well as international projects linked to Japan, Northern Europe and Finland, via the third edition of "Palazzo Finlandese" organised by the fair, this time with a "fashion, music and gastronomy" evening organised by Vain, the label founded in 2019 by Jimi Vain, with a dark-gothic spirit.
The programme includes Belgian designer Jan-Jan Van Essche, born in Antwerp, who graduated in 2003 and who has always advocated comfortable genderless fashion, emphasising the search for materials and craft techniques. Invited as a "designer project", he will show his brand for the first time on Wednesday January 11 in the cloister of Santa Maria Novella. At the same time, on the same day, the Toulouse-based designer Pierre-Louis Mascia, who regularly attends Pitti Uomo, will take over the Palazzo Antinori to unveil his new collection with a special installation.
Martine Rose, guest of honour at Pitti Uomo 2023
But the star of this 103rd edition will be the guest of honour Martine Rose, who will show on January 12 in the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, or "del Porcellino", as this ancient Florentine market from the 16th century was nicknamed. Since the head of Louis Vuitton Michael Burke was seen in the front row of her London show, the Jamaican-born English designer, considered one of today's best designers, has been in the spotlight as a potential candidate to succeed Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton Homme.
At 41, she already has a vast experience. She graduated from Middlesex University in 2002 and has been developing her own menswear brand since 2007, starting with a line of shirts. A fan of oversized volumes long before they became fashionable, with her sporty, street and workwear style drawing on subcultures and a dash of nineties spirit, she is quite close to Virgil Abloh's style. Like the American, she is also popular with rappers and celebrities (Drake, ASAP Rocky and Rihanna to name a few), and has made numerous collaborations with Nike. Her CV also includes a three-year stint, between 2015 and 2017, at Balenciaga, as a consultant for men's ready-to-wear alongside creative director Demna Gvasalia.
Another British designer will be in the spotlight in Florence. Luke Edward Hall who has created an installation for his brand Château Orlando in the Sala delle Nazioni in the Fortezza. This all-rounder, both interior designer and journalist for the Financial Times, has worked for Burberry and Liberty, and launched his own knitwear brand in February 2022. He made his mark in Paris showing his colourful vintage-inspired jumpers and cardigans in a pop-up at Le Bon Marché in Paris in February and again in December.
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy shows for the first time in Milan
In June, the guest of honour at Pitti Uomo was Grace Wales Bonner, preceded in previous seasons by Graig Green and Jonathan Anderson. In the last few years, the Italian fashion scene has become the ideal destination for young English talents in search of international buyers. Some designers who are no longer content to present in Florence, and are taking to the Milanese catwalks in force. Like the highly anticipated Charles Jeffrey Loverboy show on Sunday January 15 in Milan.
Trained at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College and having spent some time at Dior's atelier, the Scottish designer, aged 32, founded his house Loverboy in 2015, making a name for himself from the outset for his great technicality and exuberant creativity with his provocative silhouettes in bright colours. Since he started showing on London catwalks, he has continued to grow his reputation with his fantastical world fuelled by club and queer culture. In 2021, the brand became part of the Tomorrow Ltd platform, which took a stake in its capital, while it transferred to the Milanese calendar last June with a digital presentation.
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy will make his real debut on the Lombardy catwalks on Sunday, as the only real novelty of this season's Milan Fashion Week. The Scottish designer will be followed by Jonathan Anderson, an Irish designer, whose show is also widely anticipated. After opting for Paris, he joined Milan Fashion Week last season. The Anglo-Italian brand JordanLuca, which has been on the rise for the past year since it started showing in Milan, will also be present. The show of the streetwear couture label, founded in London in 2018 by Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto, is scheduled for Saturday January 14.
For the rest, Milan Week has a reduced format this season with 21 shows compared to 25 last June. Of course, some great returns are to be expected. Like Gucci, which is making its comeback on the men's catwalk after three years and is opening the event on Friday January 13. As the house's first show after the recent departure of its creative director Alessandro Michele, it is sure to attract attention. K-Way which did not show in June, is also returning to the Lombardy capital with a show on Saturday 14, while Zegna, which had shown in June in its Piedmontese headquarters in Trivero, is returning to the Milanese square, closing the Week on Monday 16.
But Milan also lost some big names including Versace, which will be skipping February's Women's Fashion Week, having chosen to unveil its autumn-winter 2023/24 women's and men's collection in Los Angeles on March 10. Plein Sport has opted for an event with a special evening on Saturday January 14, while Moschino is skipping the men's show all together. Moschino will be back in February with the women's show, presenting its men's collection through photos.
Other notable absentees include 44 Label Group, the luxury streetwear project launched in 2022 by entrepreneur-retailer Claudio Antonioli with Berlin DJ and producer Max Kosobil, the Chinese brand Joeone, designed by French designer Louis Gabriel Nouchi, and Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, which chose Milan Fashion Week last June to celebrate its 10th anniversary. At the same time, 36 presentations are scheduled, compared to 27 last season, as well as four digital shows that will conclude the Week on the morning of January 17.
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