Today was a thinking man’s game at Day Three of Milan Men’s Fashion Week. Fashion-forward, thought-provoking pieces were de rigeur, meaning you can expect a groundswell in the coming years. Suits were reconstructed from the ground up and in the case of Moncler Gamme Blue, all was not as it appeared.
Moncler Gamme Bleu
The French-Italian brand does outerwear like no other, and when models marched out in patriotic red, white and blue camouflage worked in every way imaginable, it was a tour de force. Models wore matching balaclavas, face makeup, and brogued combat boots in an obvious and literal nod to the recent events in Paris.
At first, it might’ve seemed a little one-dimensional, but the genius in the detail. A suit-and-capelet combination, for example, was grey pinstriped wool meticulously appliquéd with red, navy and Prince of Wales check camouflage panels.The theme continued with topstitching, sequins, printed fur, knits, jacquard knits and beading, and upon close inspection, had an haute-couture feel.
The brand known for pushing boundaries can at times be divisive – you’re either a Prada man or not – but this season differed by turning out a solid representation of its design skill with Captain Miuccia at the helm. A nautical theme was strong, but not the sole direction of the collection – subtle sailor hats and French navy were embellishment rather than basis. Knitwear had an arts-and-crafts feel, while laced two-toned floating collars with contrast-coloured shearling added a naive and folky touch, but are perhaps not an enduring trend.
Printed shirts will no doubt prove popular while all tailoring had a softer unstructured feel than its Italian competitors. One icon of the season is the men’s cape, which Prada showed in navy wool and cotton canvas. Footwear, which is always a high performer for Prada, still had its fashion edge, but was more practical than previous seasons.
Dame Vivienne outdid herself with this Fall-Winter collection. She and partner/co-designer, Andreas Kronthaler escaped from traditional gender-role dressing and mixed menswear with multidimensional ready-to-wear. While it was a range of silhouettes and styles, each look worked in unison with the others, mixing day with evening wear and knits with dresses. One of the strongest was an off-the-shoulder satin dress with train worn with two-toned trousers and black patent boots.
For the untrained eye it’s jarring, but after deeper contemplation and historical opinion of cyclical fashion, it fast becomes a viable option—perhaps in the few decades. But Westwood’s approach is to make us think and to question the accepted norms for dressing. This continued with a modern-day cassock in gunmetal satin and another working of black wool that would’ve made the perfect column dress, save for the peekaboo nipple. Yes, it’s subversive and daring, no, it’s perhaps no the most practical. But if you’re game to try, be a good fighter or a good runner, and wear it in a true punk style worthy of the brand’s origins.
Click through the slideshow for highlights of Day 3 of Milan Fashion Week AW16 Collection