The Fall/Winter ‘16 menswear shows continue to trudge on, and this time designers are making their marks in one of the world’s most prestigious fashion capitals: Milan. From Gucci to Prada, Italy offers some of the world’s most well-known and longest standing houses of fashion, and not without good reason. Houses such as the aforementioned offer a certain level of sprezzatura unavailable anywhere else — effortlessly chic, as if composed entirely by accident. But make no mistake, creative directors such as Gucci’s relatively newly appointed Alessandro Michele are working diligently to produce only the best within their offerings.
Alessandro Michele has gone on record to say he “like[s] to make every single thing precious in some way, taking something that you don’t think of as precious and making it so.” This couldn’t be any more evident than within his menswear presentation Saturday. With an immense, almost overwhelming amount of decoration featured throughout the collection, Michele reinvisioned the 70s aesthetic. Lurex knits, silk robes with bright, oriental floral embroidery and fur lined cuffs, and more of his notorious leather and fur loafers permeated the collection. No stone was left unturned in Michele’s collection, and a meticulous attention to detail was shown in their crystal encrusted sunglasses and pearl embedded shoes. The powers that be at Kering’s Gucci Group are still awaiting to see Alessandro’s “precious” vision fulfill their hopes of commerciality during a period of industry slowdown, and we like to think their prayers will be answered sooner rather than later with Michele at the helm of Gucci.
Remember when we said Italy offers effortlessly cool, nonchalant looks that appear seemingly composed by accident? Well, if you were searching for an example, look no further, because Silvia Venturini’s Fendi is here to show you what elevated loungewear looks like — oversized checkered wool robe coats and all. This collection was a definitive departure from Italy’s classically tailored menswear, with models strutting down the runway in oversized fur jackets, oversized check blue pants, oversized denim button downs, and well, (nearly) oversized everything, really. And if you thought Gucci’s Alessandro was the only mastermind to feature furry footwear in his collection, think again; the Fendi boys paired their longer-and-wider-than-usual shearling bucket hats with fur loafers for a particularly comfy look. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the products were almost as lively as the models showing them. Miniature bags were plastered with all-over smiley face prints, leather clutches sported surprised-looking metallic facial expressions, and furry totes appeared to have their own animations as well.
Miuccia Prada’s show had a distinct and definitive message; one of travel, but not necessarily the resort kind. The Prada boy’s travel was more in line with that of a long, rugged journey, an immense voyage that could be compared with today’s contemporary state of chaotic volatility. Indeed, times have almost never been more uncertain for today’s luxury brands, notwithstanding mega house Prada whose profit margins are known to have taken a plunge in recent years. The Prada boy was presented through strong naval themes: pants were cut slightly wider through the leg than usual, and models walked wearing classic white sailor hats paired with navy coats and capes with cut outs. Accessories included bundles of keys dangling from pant loops and ovular metallic bracelets. Looks were multi layered with graphic tops depicting images of battle, men swinging clubs and tussling with one another on the ground. Let’s hope for Prada’s sake the excitement of naval ruggedness and travel resonates with its would be consumers. We at TMS would certainly enjoy seeing more of Miuccia Prada’s story.