Damir Doma Backstage SS17 MENSWEAR Milan Antidote

12 must-see shows from Milan Mens’ Fashion Week

Byline : Jessica Michault
Photo : courtesy of Damir Doma

The Milan spring-summer 2017 menswear shows were marked by one dominant idea, that of escape. There was a real sense that designers felt that men were in desperate need of taking some time off to trek out into the wilderness, disconnect or at the very least get their bodies back in sync through some wholesome living.

Into the Wild

Both Prada and Gucci explored the idea of traveling this season. But they viewed the concept from two totally different perspectives, proving that when it comes to taking a trip to recharge the batteries or reconnect with oneself, there is no wrong way to go about a voyage of self-discovery.



Versace menswear spring-summer 2017

At Versace it was the house itself that took the transformative trip. Donatella Versace did away with the brand’s traditional flashy accents, beefcake bodies and more structured shapes for something lithe and almost ethereal in nature.
Versace teamed up with photographer Bruce Weber and traveled to Chicago to shoot the brand’s fall/winter 2016 campaign. There Weber, known for his love of creating images that features eclectic family-like gatherings of unique individuals, also filmed a 20 minute video documenting the shoot which starred supermodels Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid along with a gaggle of dancers from a number of different disciplines.
And it was those dancers that became the muses of Versace’s spring/summer 2017 menswear show, a collection of clothing crafted with movement in mind and where ease and comfort walked hand in hand with style. A new direction for the house, which felt very much in keeping with the sophisticated activewear movement that is washing over fashion right now.



Fendi menswear spring-summer 2017

Designer Silvia Venturini Fendi decided she didn’t feel like going any farther afield than her own backyard swimming pool with her menswear this season. Her staycation style was all about easy pieces that incorporated design details that highlighted an artisanal sensibility.
Fendi’s fun in the sun terrycloth shirts, retro floral silk ensembles, roomy pants and boxy tops were counterpointed with charming flower patch accents, outsized tote bags that featured broad-stroke painterly stripes and slide-on sandals for pool side footwear. The line-up had a cool slightly 1950s vibe to it and as the models walked around the lap-pool-designed catwalk it was easy to picture the outfits looking right at home in the pages of a Slim Aarons coffee table book.
And considering the number of models carrying garment bags and extra-large totes on the catwalk, it wasn’t hard to imagine that these men were also well prepared to jet off to a holiday location at a moment’s notice.



Moncler Gamme Bleu menswear spring-summer 2017

Designer Thom Browne is very literal with his seasonal interpretation of a highly identifiable style of dress – be it biking, fencing, skiing. This season, it was the “Smokey the Bear” look of forest rangers that got the Moncler Gamme Bleu treatment. The brand’s trip out into the fashion wilderness meant endless men in head-to toe shades of kaki, broad olive stripes or navy that came covered in endless amounts of pockets (they even appeared on the socks!).
As always, it was a one note show. Only the different fabric choices implemented by Browne made the garments evolve slight, rather than any attempt to expand on the underlying theme. But pull it apart and it’s easy to picture men being tempted to buy some multi-pocket trousers or a stripped rain coat next season. The sleeping bag coats however will surely get a pass.



Giorgio Armani menswear spring-summer 2017

Giorgio Armani titled his menswear collection “Crossing Borders”. On the runway, he explored the idea of style on a journey, one that not only sees the introduction of garments and prints from different far-flung locations but also the unique patina a man’s wardrobe takes on when it is well-loved, pieces that have been worn over and over on every trip he has ever taken until they conform to the point of being molded on his body.

The Italian designer recreated this worn-in and slightly distressed appearance on roomy trousers and form-fitting jackets. He balanced his more sophisticated looks in shades of blue, ecru and sun-bleached red with casual footwear and summer hats that instantly gave the outfits a more relaxed grace. And their subtle mélange of texture, patterns and comfortable fabrics made this collection one that could blend in anywhere in the world, crossing borders with easy.



Salvatore Ferragamo menswear spring-summer 2017

While the Salvatore Ferragamo house hunts for a new creative director, the brand’s design team took on the challenge of presenting a menswear collection that stayed true to the traditional nature of the company. They succeeded in that regard and sprinkled a touch of eccentricity over it that only those wealthy enough to afford Ferragamo can get away with. That being said, the addition of a single three-dimensional pocket on trousers, the use of raised stitch work in a contrasting red on a gray jacket and some primitive-art-inspired print pieces and accessories all had a peculiar appeal.
This collection had a touch of wanderlust at its heart and had a Boy Scout earnestness about it. Men looking to earn their badges in chic sophistication and sporty elegance will no doubt past the test wearing a Ferragamo safari jacket, V-neck knitwear top and wide stripped workwear suiting. A large portion of these came paired with big leather backpacks, silk neckerchiefs and harness-like belts.
But the biggest take away from this collection were perhaps the shoes. After all, that is where this brand got its illustrious start. Its celebrated classic Tramezza shoes were given a cool update thanks to an overlay of elastic and leather strapped to their tops, and the brightly colored rubber soles used on other footwear also gave the ensembles a jolt of sporty vivacity. Whoever Ferragamo brings in next to design for the house will naturally have to begin working from the ground up. But considering how strong this brand’s footwear is, that is a pretty great place to start.



Philipp Plein menswear spring-summer 2017

And just when you thought that Philipp Plein couldn’t go any bigger, he proves you wrong. True to his habit of immersing his audience in one dynamic world of dress, this season’s pre show build up included …and I kid you not… Day-glow cheerleaders, battling mascots, The Harlem Globtrotters basketball team and an impressive performance by Busta Rhymes who was able to get even the jaded fashion crowd on its feet.
As for the collection itself, well to be honest, with all the flashing lights, background noise and distance between bleacher-style seating and catwalk, it was hard to pick up many details. Instead the line-up was a blurred together spectacle of embellished hoodies, light-up soled sneakers, gilded black baller shorts, leather jackets festooned with faux sports team patches and gray patchwork tracksuits. It was a collection that might not have made every three-point sartorial shot it attempted but it put enough points on the scoreboard to win the night.
A number of menswear brands, for a myriad of different reasons, decided not to do a fashion show in Milan this season or went the more understated route of all-day showroom presentations. This vacuum in the calendar became a golden opportunity for younger and newly established brands to make their mark on fashion journalists and editors.

Milan’s Young Turks

The Milan spring-summer 2017 menswear shows were marked by one dominant idea, that of escape. There was a real sense that designers felt that men were in desperate need of taking some time off to trek out into the wilderness, disconnect or at the very least get their bodies back in sync through some wholesome living.

Both Prada and Gucci explored the idea of traveling this season. But they viewed the concept from two totally different perspectives, proving that when it comes to taking a trip to recharge the batteries or reconnect with oneself, there is no wrong way to go about a voyage of self-discovery.



MSGM menswear spring-summer 2017

Massimo Giorgetti might be one of the more well-known newbie designers showing in the city but this season he stepped up his game with an energetic collection that got its starting point in the rave parties of his youth.
On his runw,ay layers of oversized tops featuring sporty colorful striped or alternatively melting argyle knitwear had a retro cool and yet totally fresh look, even when they came paired with acid wash jeans. The oversized carabiners used as key chains from which to hang a pouch and the classic Nineties fanny packs also had a playful throwback charm, particularly when paired with flower patterned nylon tracksuits and vibrant windbreakers.
Giorgetti is proving himself to be very adept indeed in convincing the fashion world that streetwear and sportswear can be elevated to luxury level without ever looking like a poser.



Damir Doma menswear spring-summer 2017

In an artist squat in the center of Milan Damir Doma proved that he is on the right track with his brand. He has done a lot of soul-searching and the results could be seen on the catwalk of his well-rounded show. His decision to move his presentations to Italy to be closer to the factories that produce his collections as well as present his menswear and womenswear lines together felt right and looked good.
His lineup of ensembles had a distressed artisanal elegance about them while still maintaining a rebellious undercurrent. Many of the garments were pierced together via metal rings, sometimes leaving sections of the fabric to loop down unattached for a deliberately disheveled grace. Doma would also lace together a skirt and top with a contrasting silk ribbon or add textural layering to his outfits, either by braiding ribbons into tops or building up a frayed patchwork across an ensemble.
The pieces all looked as if they were homemade and constructed out of what was lying about the house. But that only made them feel all the more precious and personal.



Moto Guo menswear spring-summer 2017

The Malaysian designer Moto Guo presented for the first time on the official Milan calendar with a collection that was the polar opposite of what you would come to expect to see in terms of fashion in Italy. Instead of commercial he went for childlike. Instead of machismo he celebrated girly femininity.
To a soundtrack of nursery rhymes Guo presented a lineup of doll-like garments in sugar sweet candy colors on models with hair that looked like they had just been woken up from their afternoon nap and faces covered with acne. They played dress-up in outsized jackets, paperbag waistline pants and bib-like tops embroidered with messages like “Let’s eat children”.
It was a gloriously goofy offering and will be a great new label for niche fashion magazines to shoot. If Jeremy Scott and Martin Margiela ever had a baby, it would be this brand.


One of the most interesting designers of this year’s Men’s Hub in Milan, which was run in collaboration between Italy’s governing fashion body the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and Vogue Talents to promote up and coming menswear designers, was Alexis Giannotti.
Born in Montecarlo, Giannotti’s focus is on finding a way to bring together disparate design or artistic ideas into a collection of wearable clothing. It is for this exact reason that he baptized his brand, Omogene. “It’s all about taking many different things and blending them together in a way that is functional and still artistic,” said the designer, who once studied interior design, as he presented his fourth collection which was inspired by Chet Baker.
The sporty offering saw a trumpet motif being printed onto tops in a way that made them looked as if the images had faded over time. It also came woven into knitwear as a sweater designed to be worn inside out. Pull tap oversized outerwear and three-dimensional graphic patterns built into sweatshirts were other clever additions to Giannotti’s well thought-out offering.


The knitwear of designer Vittorio Branchizio is impressive. He learned his craft at Brescia’s Instito di Moda Industriale and started his own label in 2014. At the presentation of his oeuvre in Milan, his mastery of knitwear resulted in a small capsule collection that played on the idea of light and shadow. The layering of reflective filaments inside a hooded bomber jacket so that it shimmered slightly in the sunlight, the hand painted graphic patterns that Branchizio layered over a knit sweater and the undulating raised weave creating textural stripes on a top were all masterfully done.
How the designer could produce these pieces on a larger scale is hard to imagine. But as a niche brand Branchizio’s work could have real staying power.


The Korean designer Han Chul Lee is a graduate of the Royal College of Arts in London. A soft spoken man, Lee has a bit of a dark side, if his latest collection is any indication. The almost all black line up took Nirvana as its inspiration, both the iconic Seattle grunge band and the Buddhist final spiritual goal to quench out the flames of life’s agony and find eternal peace.
The designer represented this via a print of red flames lining the insides of his garments and coiling red snakes that twisted over tops. “I really like to change and develop the construction of the garments,” said the designer while showing off a well-executed black coat that curved about the body thanks to inserts of grooved black leather. Other highlights of the collection included a mash-up of different patterned red lumberjack plaid (a.k.a grunge) shirts and some split-personality shirts with buttons running up and down the front and back, with the idea of giving men the option to mix and match different-hued halves to create a bifurcated color combination shirt.

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