It’s the final day of Milano Moda Uomo, and boy was it a great finalé too. Today’s designers – old hands and new – demonstrated extraordinary skill in manipulating textures and patterns while keeping to conventional silhouettes, with perhaps the only (and unsurprising) exception of the Caten brothers of DSquared2. The younger designers dabbled in the tricky arena of fusing cultures and eras; Christian Pellizzari embellished modern menswear with Oriental jacquard florals from aristocratic Europe, while Stella Jean merged Manhattan and Burkina Faso with dazzling success.
Milan staple DSquared2 sampled the many symbols of the American West Coast – more specifically, California, while veteran Giorgio Armani invited us into the imperturbable calm of being underwater. Every collection today carried a majority of extremely marketable goods that didn’t shy away from creative expression, proving that today’s designers are not merely artists, but also sensible businesspeople as well.
Beach ‘n’ skate was the inspiration for the Caten brothers of Milano Moda Uomo staple DSquared2 this year, bringing to the runway a high-octane tidal wave of West Coast-inspired streetwear. Japanese and Mexican skull candy tattoos à la San Francisco’s hipster/gay scene appeared on skin-tight overall bodysuits, tattered washed denim came in Western jackets and jeans of both skinny and super-baggy skater varieties, while leather palm tree appliqués and coral necklaces covered netted and sometimes bright pink reversed-racerback tank tops.
Even the Native American desert tribes of Palm Springs and divers off La Jolla get referenced via sequinned/stitched leather jackets and fringed capes, and neoprene vests respectively. The looks were highly layered, frazzled, and dramatic – excellent runway material – but when taken apart it’s obvious the brothers know what men want, and have ingeniously created individual, marketable pieces bound to bring in the cash.
Beholding Giorgio Armani’s predominantly blue collection this season is like looking through the turquoise waters of a pristine lagoon; sounds muted, your vision’s a little glassy at first, but subtle details you’ve never noticed soon become clearer. The runway seemed lit through the water’s surface as models with slightly upturned lips sauntered effortlessly in light-sheen fabrics that swayed and rippled.
Upon closer inspection, a simple navy jacket boasted uneven textures that refracted light at different angles; white wisps appear to cover a sliver-blue double-breasted jacket sans lapels; an arctic blue club-collared cardigan displayed fine fibres combed to windowpane checks. Like the buoyant waves gently nudging a boat, the pieces inspired an equanimity through flowing pleated pants cinched around the hips with thin belts in pale blue, jackets with rounded lapels sometimes softened further with suede, boatneck tops either plain or adorned ever so delicately with diamond tessellations, stripes or ribbing. What a tranquil triumph.
It was a blast to the past with Christian Pellizzari today, as the young designer took on the Oriental obsession of aristocratic Europe during the opulent Baroque period. The sunflower, long the symbol of summer and of the Tuscan countryside, became the glorious motif for silk jacquard suits, sporty jackets, and casual shorts, rendered in midnight blues, crimson, and pale gold. Japanese koi was also fashioned into a ‘C’, emblazoned on more casual t-shirts and jeans.
While vivid colours were a key element in this collection, what stood out the most were the low-contrast outfits such as a purple fern-patterned shirt and matching solid pants completed with a shawl-lapel chambray jacket, and a formal smoking jacket printed with red/black metallic carnation embroidery, paired with matching thick-soled sneakers, an all-black polo, and tailored pants.
Always experimenting with cultural fusions, Haitian-Italian model-turned-designer presented yet another fabulous collection today, this time working her magic touch at the crossroads between Manhattan and Burkina Faso. With traditional Western menswear lending the canvas by way of relaxed Italian suiting, bomber jackets, trench coats, and casual polo/tee-shorts pairings, Burkina Faso’s heritage was rendered in vividly coloured stripes – sometimes simple strips of matching colours, sometimes intricate bands of indigenous geometric derivations.
Coffee beans, fruit, cats and birds, all make a splash across lightweight long-sleeved tees, making them potentially messy if not for the designer’s deft pop-art sensibility. The success of the collection is twofold: Stella Jean managed to once again represent exotic cultures without tokenism, and more so she’s created a meaningful collection that would be undoubtedly viable on the market.
Onward to Paris for more fashion week goodness! Stay in touch with us and our picks for the top three looks everyday at Mode à Paris by following us @hisstylediary on Instagram. Don’t miss out!