From a terrycloth parade to taking a dog on a catwalk, the menswear shows for spring/summer 2017 in Milan and Paris featured just about everything under the sun.
One big trend we could identify in the creations took its inspiration from global pieces ranging from the Middle Eastern kaftan to the Far Eastern kimono: things are becoming more casual. Trousers are getting shorter, shirts longer, jackets more angular. Sometimes a shirt doesn’t need buttons, sometimes a suit jacket doesn’t need a shirt. People travel a lot, are always on the move, so clothing has to be quick, comfy and practical. Fashion that you can just throw on: globalization has infused fashion on every level.
On this occasion, Kean Etro decided to test the usability of his creations on the catwalk itself: he casted non-professional models and gave them free reign to choose which clothes they wanted to wear for the show. It wasn’t stylists but the wearers themselves who picked out what it was they would wear on the catwalk. That’s an interesting approach, because it meant he was trying out his collection before it even made it into the shops. Even Canita the dog joined his non-model master on the catwalk (the founder of the magazine Solar), proving that this collection is perfect for a Sunday stroll with your four-legged friend.
Miuccia Prada has her finger on the pulse of our times. The designer isn’t interested in the past – she reacts to the present. Which means that her new collection is a response to our increasingly nomadic lifestyle. The ongoing refugee crisis makes its way into her message: these are backpackers against their will. Prada is holding up a mirror: is this what we would look like if we had to set off into the unknown?
Designer Kim Jones was inspired by his journeys to Africa and prepared a homage to his own past as a punk, complete with earrings, chains and bomber jackets. Combined with fluffy jumpers in the colours of the African continent, animal prints, gazelle hides on suitcases, prints of elephants, rhinos and giraffes by the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman on canvas bags and pullovers.
Giorgio Armani has left his mark on the world of fashion – a mark that doesn’t merely permeate that world, but that is as recognizable as a fingerprint to a forensic scientist. So the maestro has now made it into a statement: he launched his show with a T-shirt bearing an oversized fingerprint. Which he followed with what can only be described as a collection that managed to capture the very essence of his label. The grey and navy tones on the one hand, the bright sportswear on the other. They meet somewhere in the middle and together create that famous Armani fingerprint.
Whenever you think that the military look has become passé, it reappears on the catwalks. This time at Valentino. The collection is dominated by shades of green, camouflage patterns, dungarees, pilot outfits and insignia. Only at second glance do you realize how designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have deconstructed the uniform into something private, in no way military: in soft, comfortable, embroidered feel-good materials and cuts.
There are countless raincoats, hats and brollies to be found at Gucci and in the pop-art-like, colourful collection by Moschino. Is this a first response to climate change? We are being sent into next summer with a fashionable carelessness about the weather, with umbrellas that sit right on top of your head and raincoats that are reminiscent of deep-sea fishermen’s oilskins. Dolce & Gabbana, on the other hand, are banking on a hot summer, armed with a leopard-print kaftan, while Jil Sander presents the A-line man – in coats and jackets without shoulder pads. Dior’s Kris Van Assche is sending men to the funfair: the catwalk flashed and twinkled, and strolling around in between were men dressed like pimps in visors, string vests and braces. The highest-end, most fashionable version of the style, you understand. Dries Van Noten gave his audience a fantastical collection whose strength was in its restraint and shaping. Diesel Black Gold had denim two-piece suits on hand, closed not with buttons but in kimono-style. Fendi paid homage to the great Pablo Picasso’s favourite item of clothing for his holidays on the Côte d’Azur: short, brown, terrycloth trousers – the style for parading around the edge of the pool.