Milan Fashion Week Men A/W2020 – Round-Up
As the men's show season moves from London to Milan we highlight some of our favourite shows from MFW A/W2020
Perhaps it’s because we’ve just crossed the threshold of a new decade but Milan seemed to have an aura of optimism and creativity that exceeded even the usual Milanese high standards. This followed on from a very successful LFWM that has been growing in stature year-on-year. Perhaps it’s true what they say and a rising tide does lift all boats. Milan Fashion Week Men A/W2020 brought us beautiful new fashion with true Italian flair, designed to coax the guys out of their comfort zones of jeans and t-shirts on the weekends and work suits on the weekdays. While London will always lean to a more artistic, even avant-garde, creative aesthetic, Milan will always be underwritten by the quality and luxury that underpins Italian sensibilities. With that in mind, these were some of our favourite men’s shows from Italy’s fashion capital.
It should tell you everything you need to know about the rise of A-Cold-Wall* that after only a mere five years the label started by Londoner Samuel Ross is now showing in Milan alongside some of the most established names and houses in the industry. Showing your collection in your home town is expensive enough but to move the whole operation to a different country shows just how much critical acclaim can influence the buyers, their customers and, in turn, a company’s bottom line.
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Ross presented a collection that broke somewhat from the label’s streetwear origins. Tailoring and exciting new silhouettes marked a clear step on the evolutionary scale. There were tops that evoked Roman tunics in electric blue, short-length double-breasted suits with loose, wide-legged trousers and knitwear and tailored trouser combinations that would take a fashionable man straight from the office in the day to dinner and drinks in the evening. With no real sports or streetwear hybrids to be had this was a bold collection that will have the fashion intelligencia anticipating the results going into the following season.
What else can be said about McQueen? It’s the British fashion house that delivers every time – year in, year out. It’s always a pleasure to see that avant-garde ‘English-ness’ to their offerings juxtaposed with the slightly more traditional aesthetics of Milanese catwalks. The tailoring is always so on point it looks bespoke. And the overall design flourishes always make a McQueen ensemble unique in a market-leading kind of way.
The two-tone suiting and long-coat and trouser looks made you sit up and pay attention. It’s not meant to be subtle or only noticed on re-examination either. It was bold, stark and exhilarating. The leather pieces where equally eye-catching – whether it was the tangerine biker jacket with the quilted black shoulder panelling teamed with skinny leather jeans or the crushed leather, calf-length military coat, ‘desirable’ was written over everything. A particular design stand-out came in the form of suits or coat and trouser combinations featuring stark contrasting designs that snaked from jacket/coat to trouser and matched the two halves like a jigsaw puzzle. Amazing stuff.
Menswear creative director Kean Etro takes us to his country manor for his A/W2020 collection – both in terms of location and clothes. Etro is renowned for giving traditional fabrics and designs a modern contemporary twist that delights both the modernists and traditionalists alike. Riding boots were so prevalent throughout the show sometimes it felt like the only thing that was missing was the riding crop. And then you would be hit with the wide-checked burgundy overcoat, completely fringed at the hem, teamed with skinny black jeans and topped with a fedora hat. What made it even more impressive was the ease of transition – nothing looked out of place in the overall narrative.
Fringing reappeared numerous times on the catwalk, adding an air of ‘vaudeville western’ to jackets, ponchos and capes. While luxurious velvet smoking jackets and matching trousers in electric blue were teamed with black velvet lounge slippers for a completely different take on the world. The other thing we all expect from Etro is an innovative use of colour in the designs. Graphic prints reminiscent of the world’s most luxurious Persian rugs found their way onto jackets, coats and shirts. But when it came to simple modernity Etro had the goods too – like the red and blue checked blazer teamed with an oatmeal roll-neck and dark blue bootcut jeans. Another eclectic collection expertly brought together under one aesthetic.
Luxurious leather punctuated another triumphant show for Fendi. Whether it was the long, hooded leather coat, the single-breasted wool jacket with leather panelling or the leather jeans piled into the calf-length leather work boots – all in deep-space black or chocolate brown – you couldn’t miss the fabric’s starring role.
Elsewhere, that Fendi luxury we all know and love came shining through. The tailoring was again exquisite and came with twists on the expected, like the wool suit redefined with a short bolero jacket and loose, wide-legged trousers or the wool, single-breasted stand-out yellow suit detailed with contrasting yellow piping along the lapels and cuffs of the jacket. Standing out among all the stand-out looks was the long quilted coat with black piping teamed with matching mittens, boots, tote bag and bucket hat – all in a soft cream. Proving that, when they want to, Fendi really knows how to turn heads.
Belgian design partners Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch have always had an obvious love for ultra-contemporary modern menswear. And this was on display again at their Milan Fashion Week presentation. Simple, sharp and immaculately cut to create the slickest silhouettes, it’s clear who the Les Hommes man is. Young, creative and stylish. Suiting was simple and slim with ankle riding trousers designed to show off your ankle bones if you can brave the cold without socks.
Layering played a huge part in the styling, where shirt, tie, and jumper combinations worked well underneath beautiful off-white puffer jackets. Little design touches like shirts with metal studded collars or similarly studded leather ties really caught the eye. But not as much as the cape coat that brought a completely different shape into the thinking of men’s luxury fashion.
Like Etro, MSGM has built an international reputation for their creative use of colour – but in a different way. It’s the combinations of colours here that is important; big bold colours. Whether it’s used as a contrast to muted plain hues or in combination together, MSGM always has an aesthetic that makes you think as well as pleases. So, on the one hand, you can have a muted single-breasted suit teamed with a cherry red shirt and bold graphic print tie or explosions of colours layered on top of each other in a cacophony of brightly coloured prints.
Sometimes the colour will be used simply as an accent to ensembles – like the black double-breasted wool overcoat with the lime green lapels and the purple belt and worn with pink gloves. This is what always makes an MSGM show an edge-of-your-seat drama. You never know what combinations are going to be coming out next. Sometimes the message is clear, like the bright pink jersey top with a graphic print of a hand giving ‘the bird’ for those days when you just don’t give a you-know-what anymore. Sometimes it’s a lot more subtle, like the beautiful oversized double-breasted overcoat, worn over a matching shirt and tie and teamed with trousers – everything in black or black and white. Except for the graphic print of a cackling baby sown into the cuff of one sleeve. It’s the touches like this that keep MSGM customers loyal and wanting more.
Barrett is another English designer who has found that his exceptional talent allows him to confidently throw down with foreign designers and fashion houses on their own turfs. And, despite the international surroundings, Barrett’s designs continue to retain that quintessentially English quirk that has made his brand so popular over the years. So, raw denim jeans with high turn-ups that reveal the selvedge made a cultural statement not often seen on Italian catwalks. As did the single-breasted blazers with simple stitched detailing and denim sleeves.
The classic English standard in tailoring, the pinstripe, was bold to the eye in the suits and coats, with shortened sleeves revealing zipped leather cuffs. For other coats and jackets the sleeves were two-tone, giving the impression of something different being worn around the forearms. Puffers also got big slice of show time, with a number of different styles and colourways making an appearance. Cold and drizzly is destined to look stylish and sexy for Neil Barrett this winter.
If you didn’t know, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s lucky number has just had its own special anniversary. It was back in 2010 Dell’Acqua stared Numero Ventuno in the wake of his abrupt separation from his own eponymous label in 2009. In that time he has established one of the best contemporary fashion labels in the industry. Simplicity, cut and ease-of-wear combine with style as the No 21 hallmarks and they were all on display again for A/W2020.
Extra-long belts and straps was a quirk that reoccurred on the catwalk to break up the expectations. It accented the superb double-breasted trench coat with matching trousers and the simple blue jeans and white shirt ensembles. Animal prints also made No 21 stand out from the crowd – seen first on the hooded jackets, coats and matching trousers and then on the mohair jumpers in unusual colourways that came later. Inevitably, simple was best, particularly the solid black jumper and trouser combination that described the collection’s best silhouette.
If anyone felt like their eyes were playing tricks on them at MFW this season there’s a fair chance they could have been watching the Prada show. There were a number of striking check patterns and repeating graphic designs on display that might have passed for optical illusions on another day and in another setting. Once your eyes had re-adjusted the deliberate colour blocking throughout the rest of the collection was clear to see. Greens, purples, yellows, blues, browns, reds, yellows – all in different shades – were abound and slotted together in interesting combinations. Soft grey wool suits were worn tucked in to bright red leather work boots or mauve hybrid, collar-less tuxedo shirts with were teamed with matching mauve trousers with stirrups. Yes, stirrups.
It was an eclectic collection with many highlights, the best of which was the vintage style, single-breasted, chocolate brown, leather shearling car coat. That was closely followed by the suede versions in double-breasted and duffle coat styles. There was a lot of fun, colour and a little irreverence to the A/W collection which will be a welcome addition to the streets come winter this year.
Zegna is one of the first names on the list when the subject of Italian men’s tailoring is broached. The house is already into its second century of existence and that kind of heritage is evident with every new collection offered to the fashion public. Classic designs, traditional cuts and luxurious fabrics are the watchwords for any Zegna collection and the same was true again for A/W2020. Tonic style single-breasted suits with shifted buttons came down the catwalk alongside more traditional three-piece suits and two-piece suits that eschewed traditional button fastenings for straps that tied together above one hip.
Waistcoats pointed to the classic traditionalism of Zegna collections as few, if any, were seen on any other catwalk during MFW. The same was true for the single-button double-breasted suits and the beautiful leather shearling jacket worn with driving gloves in this season’s Zegna collection. Special mention has to go to the oversized wool overcoat featuring a patchwork of herringbone and striped patterns throughout – a particularly nice way to keep warm and stylish in the cold.
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