In Milan, new menswear collections are far away from excess
Words Gianmarco Gronchi
As the Milan Fashion Week comes to an end, it is time to look at the results. For the next winter season, many brands have purged their collections of unnecessary frills and focused on essentiality. This does not necessarily mean extreme minimalism. Instead, there is a trend toward concreteness of form, a respect for the body without betraying the brands’ heritage. For sure, it seems that many fashion designers are running away from the false rhetoric of democratic fashion, of inclusivity at all costs, so much promoted that it ends up excluding. What is clear is that alternative canons of beauty cannot be forced upon us. Therefore, alternatives are being promoted consciously and measuredly, with no excess. And garments are once again speaking about the body and its essence. Then again, fashion is tyrannical. Opposing it means being handled by it.
Lessico Familiare is now no longer a naive little reality. The brand founded by Riccardo Scaburri, Alberto Petillo, and Alice Curti has now achieved recognition by the establishment due to its eclectic approach between conceptualism and fairy tale, creativity and dream. It seems unbelievable that a brand that has never been ashamed to show its otherness from the fashion system is now recognized as one of the most beautiful realities of the Italian fashion landscape. With Lessico Familiare, fashion shows become performances, presentations become art exhibitions. It is no coincidence, in fact, that their new Cocktail collection will be on display at the Sozzani Foundation until Feb. 12, 2023. With Cocktail, the creative approach has become mature. There is no fear of experimenting, but among lace, ribbons, overlapping fabrics, and recycled garments repurposed with imagination and romanticism, there is never a lapse into the vulgar, nor into a whatever-it-takes scandal. A slap in the face of a system that has overproduction and bulimic consumption as its trademark.
Photo: Alessandro Raimondo
At MSGM, Massimo Giorgetti thinks about what would happen if streetwear were mixed with a romantic rock of punk ancestry. The result is an eclectic collection that knows how to have a spot in the heart of young people without betraying the expectations of an educated audience. MSGM’s fashion is a punk symphony, but not the pissed-off punk of the Sex Pistols, but the polished, decadent punk of the late CCCP. In the song chosen as the show’s soundtrack, Giovanni Lindo Ferretti , CCCP frontman, sings “Curami!” (cure me). And Giorgetti takes care of the viewer, with a collection made up of tracksuits, over jackets, cardigans and vests in bright hues designed for “bon-ton rebels”. A preppy style, but mixed with youth counterculture, perfect for dreamers of every generation. It was no coincidence that the show, titled University of Dreamers, opened with a quote from Peter Weir’s 1989 film Dead Poet Society: “poetry, beauty, romance and love; these are what we stay alive for”. The finale, on the other hand, was all about the music of CCCP, which in the song Amandoti (Loving you) say “love me again, do it sweetly”. And that’s exactly what Giorgetti did with this collection.
How to look at the 1970s disco scene without coming across as boring or nostalgic? Silvia Fendi gave us the answer, with an innocent but not helpless man in mind for the Fendi Fall-Winter 2023 collection. The cuts of the jackets are rigorous and clean, but they are diluted by the oversize fringed sweaters and the voluminous and abundant ponchos. Shirts and sweaters are asymmetrical or semi-transparent, letting meters and meters of skin show through. The neck, shoulders, arms: whatever is forbidden about the male body is exposed, with no embarrassment, with no fear. Under miles of woolen scarves with the printed maxi F are hidden male bodies asking to be heard and discovered. Thus, Fendi gives back to those bodies the freedom they need to be seen. Masculinity purified of its toxicity is brought to the stage, working on a wardrobe that is complex and layered but stays concretely close to reality. The jewelry comes from a collaboration with Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Silvia’s daughter. A sign that the history of this brand will last.
“The garments are the people,” explain Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto, fashion designers at Jordanluca. The brand shows a collection where all garments feature shoulders leaning forward, the “bulldog” shoulders. The idea is to push toward an uncertain future, but one that must be faced and, if necessary, changed. Because nothing is as it seems. Jordanluca, in fact, works to transcend the trite categories of genderlessness through continuous disassembly and reassembly. Patchwork sweatshirts are flipped upside down, while denim pieces confront tailored-cut blazers. Basically, it is the Y2K aesthetic back in fashion these seasons but reinvigorated by the quirky, retro collaboration with Lonsdale. Indeed, the lion logo appears on down jackets, accessories, and underwear – strictly prominently displayed above the waistband of the pants. The two fashion designers looks at a futuristic skinhead. Because if we have to talk about a dystopian future, let at least the outfits be on the cutting edge.
The first time we met Federico Cina was in Florence, in the section of sustainable fashion during the Pitti Uomo fair a few years ago. Now, the fashion designer has grown up, is a stable name on the Milan fashion week calendar, and has no qualms whatsoever about giving his vision of contemporary fashion. It seems like years ago compared to when he presented traditional Romagna prints on pristine white garments, when in fact only a few seasons have passed. Comparing those garments, which seemed cool at the time, with what Federico Cina does now, we are impressed. Federico Cina’s fashion is now a complex act of layering and overlapping, and materials matter as much as silhouettes. Colors remain generally neutral, giving space to the human body which is the real object of desire. Or, rather, of the dream. Because in Federico Cina’s collections, the addends change but the result stays the same. Whether he thinks about the sea or the wild lands, the metropolis or the beaches of Romagna, the young fashion designer always takes us on an introspective journey, a daydream that aims to discover the other and rediscover ourselves. The fairy tale myth of Cina lives in knitwear, which flakes and tangles around busts and legs, and in padded fabrics, which are transformed into very oversized pants. In the Apartment collection, the cuts of the jackets are row, reminding us of a lost time to be relived inwardly. With lots of quilts and chairs, because after all, our clothes are just smaller dwelling.
Fashion is not pure escapism. Magliano team knows it very well. Luca Magliano confirms his moment of grace with a collection that speaks about revolution and protest without being banal. As the fashion designer says “it’s a really somber, gloomy collection. It’s gray, it’s melancholy. It’s shrouded in shadows, but it isn’t sad or desperate. It just comes from an inner place, it looks inward, like this venue, we wanted to represent an inner place, an inner ground.” And Magliano’s inner ground is a battleground where romance and political struggle intersect, the provocations of Commes del Garçons Homme meet the dreamy allure of vintage Giorgio Armani. Against the backdrop of an immense wall of chairs – an installation by Davide Stucchi that probably pays homage to Doris Salcedo – Magliano’s characters bring to the stage a collection that vibrates, magically suspended between workwear and classic menswear. Traditional tailoring goes dirty with oversize, denim, seams, patches, holes. NO is the slogan printed by Magliano on its jackets. A firm, decisive word that sounds like a rejection of the dogmas of the system. And Magliano takes us to another dimension, where we can only play by his rules.
Zegna closed the fashion week with a show marked by attention to detail and artisanal quality. But beware. This does not mean a trivial copy-and-paste of the brand’s identity codes. In fact, Alessandro Sartori starts with Italian style to update it with draped bomber jackets, Casentino suits, and bouclé wool pants. The collection, titled Oasis of Cashmere, is an ode to cashmere and its endless possibilities. Zegna’s man is dynamic in his collarless jackets and bold in his short-sleeved jackets, which expose the body while showing the ambiguities of contemporary menswear. Sartori’s silhouette alternates between soft shapes and geometric constructions to show the many faces of the contemporary male. Athletic or relaxed, macho or ephebic, the brand’s creative director creates a set of pieces that adapt and change constantly. However, there’s still a refined taste for quality and beautiful fabric, which is essential when talking about Zegna’s excellence.